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5 tips for debt free living

Living debt free is so liberating. But, it can be very overwhelming to get started on the path of debt free living. Today, I am going to give you my 5 tips for debt free living, even with only one income!

14 years ago, I left my job as a nurse to stay home. The reason was 2 fold. First, we were traveling a lot with our gospel group. Second, my home was being sorely neglected due to the first reason.

My husband had accepted a new job and it just felt like the best time to make another crazy big decision, ha ha.

As soon as I quit work, it hit me. We HAVE to get out of debt and FAST! The thought of being a one income home and having debt laid heavy on my every day.

So, I decided to make a plan and stick to it. It would mean not buying things sometimes that I really wanted and putting off some big purchases until we at least paid off a couple of debts, but, in the end, it was all worth it!

When I made our plan, we had 1 car note, 2 credit card debts, and a mortgage. If memory serves me, we also had a Lowe’s card with some debt on it, as well.

I decided that baby steps were the way for me.

Becoming easily overwhelmed, I had to focus on 1 at a time.

I came to realize that after paying one debt off, the feeling of freedom motivated me more!

Don’t misunderstand me, paying off all of our debt on one income was tough at times. Mind you, it was totally doable, because we did it, but, there were times I would resent the debt because I wanted to buy a new dress or a new kitchen gadget. I knew in my mind that after the debt was paid off, I could go back and purchase these things without all those monthly bills hanging over my head.

Honestly, it taught me a lot about discipline. It also helped me calm my instant gratification problem!

So let’s get into these 5 tips!

#1. Make and keep an ongoing list of your debt.

This was the main catalyst in paying off our debt. No kidding. I sat down and wrote a list of all the debt and the balances. Each month, I would update the balances. I found that watching the debt go down each month, even if just a little, made me feel so motivated!

Give it a try, it’s amazing what it means to have a visual of your progress.

You may also decide to have a vision board for this, either way, it’s about the visual of your debt free journey.

#2. Choose one bill to pay extra on each month.

I suggest choosing the smallest debt and work your way up after each one is paid off. Essentially, choose one debt to NOT pay the minimal payment on each month. For instance, if the monthly payment is usually $50, make a commitment to pay $75 or $100, if you are able to until it is paid off.

This will make so much more progress and you will see results much faster.

#3. DON’T GO IN DEBT DURING THIS PROCESS (unless it’s an emergency)

I know this should go without saying, but, I have seen so many people with good intentions actually make another debt while trying to get out of debt. It’s like it’s a habit, almost. Your goal is to pay all the debt off, so that in the future, you can pay cash for anything you need or want.

Now, I certainly understand there can be emergencies that warrant a debt, but, be very mindful that it’s not something that can wait until later on.

For instance, if your car breaks down, it’s sometimes easier to say, might as well trade. But, I assure you, a car repair will be much less expensive than years of payments on a new car with the interest.

#4. Make a monthly budget with priorities

It is imperative that you make a monthly budget. I find it as important, if not more, to make a list of priorities. For us, the list went from 1st to last.

We put our tithes as number 1, then the mortgage, then all the other bills, then food, etc. You get the point. It’s imperative you stick to this budget!

#5. Celebrate each victory, no matter how small!

We celebrated each and every victory we had. Every time a debt was paid off, we would have a special meal or something to mark the occasion.

It made it feel special to accomplish each and every goal.

The biggest celebration was of course the mortgage! But, it was important to us to celebrate each one.

Now that we are debt free, we are super conscious about paying cash for what we buy. Even if it means waiting a few months sometimes to save up.

There is no feeling quite like the freedom you feel when all your debt is paid off.

I hope these tips will encourage you to take baby steps in your own debt free journey.

See you soon!

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