Published on March 24th, 2020
That’s a lot of money.
I would even go so far as to say that at one time in my life, it’s more than I thought I would have ever seen. I turned 18 before the “Great Recession” hit. (Does it bother anyone else to call it that?) Anyway, back then it was easy to get a credit card. Fill out the paper, you’ll get one in a week! No history necessary! At least, that’s what Capital One did for me.
Flash forward to January 1st, 2020, and my husband and I are racked with debt. $279k of various kinds that is. Like many Americans, our credit cards were indeed maxed out while still living paycheck to paycheck. A few days later, we decided enough was enough. We didn’t have to live like that anymore but for things to get better we had to start making major changes. I’m not going to lie. It isn’t easy. Everyone’s situation is different. This may take much longer for some people but everyone CAN do it.
“Live below your means”—it’s a common lesson you hear. So common in fact, that people think it’s a bunch a BS. They don’t believe it anymore and they will come up with every reason in the world as to why they can’t do it. Well, I’ve got news for any of you that think that. As it turns out, living below your means is the only way to start saving money and knocking out that debt.
For some people that may mean finding a higher paying job. It might also mean cutting back on eating out, while for others it might mean getting rid of your subscription boxes, or—God forbid—cutting ties with Netflix. For my husband and I? It was a little bit of everything. First to go? Hulu, Disney+, Netflix. Second? My Limelife Box (Sorry girl!) and hubby’s xbox live subscription. After that, we cut out ALL of the takeout food. That alone works wonders, I swear!
Something else you may want to look at as a big cost-saver? Moving. How much space do you really need to live? Can you downsize? 6 months ago my husband and I moved into a smaller home with a lower cost of living. If you can do this, do it. It’s worth it in the long run.
And finally, we cut down on our utility usage. And by “we”, I mean me. My husband actually gave me a lot of shit for the first two months on this one. On the first month, I saved $10—he said it wasn’t worth it and laughed. I told him I could do better, and I did. Second month’s bill? Down $40. He didn’t laugh then.
All of this though, it’s only the first step, “Live below your means“. There is more to it than that. Once we had cut down our costs as much as we could, then we started budgeting. Budgeting, the second step, was also essential to getting our finances under control.
Paying Off $11,930 of Debt in 3 Months: Part 2 (Coming Soon)