Our family has been on a debt reduction journey this year. It started with the Financial Peace University Home Study Kit. We watched the nine video lessons in January of 2014 and decided to quit dating our debt snowball and really commit. Here's where we started the year:
We set a goal to be done with everything up to the student loans before December 15th. The last credit card had a 0% introductory offer that expired in December, and if we didn't pay it off it would add a cool $3,000 to our balance.
We were $400 short of paying off Credit Card 5 with the budgeted November payment plus our Gazelle fund, so we got creative. We made a trip to Clothes Mentor with some of my clothes that I knew I was never going to fit into again. We sold some household items on our local Facebook garage sale site. I returned a formal dress I had bought for a Christmas event and opted to borrow one instead. Last but not least, we cashed in our 50 cents off/gallon coupon on double coupon Tuesday, saving us just over $25 (read more about that trick here). In one week's time, we came up with the difference. Last week we made our last credit card payment. Since Zac and I started dating in 2008, we have never not had credit card debt.
The past eleven months have not been easy. There were arguments, weeks where we had to skip grocery shopping and live off what was in the pantry, and many cheap dates...but we had a vision. We had a vision of where we wanted to be at the end of 2014. We wanted to be able to make decisions based on something other than money. Vision makes all the difference when you're working toward a goal that will at times feel unattainable. Remember what you're working toward and do not give into the temptation to splurge spend, even it it's only a few hundred dollars. Every dollar counts and it will pay off. Here's where we're at now:
I want to encourage you and tell you this can be done. It can be done on your income. We do not have a six-figure income. We have a goal, dedication, and most of all a God who is faithful to His promises. Since we've started documenting this journey we've received a lot of questions about how it all works, what our envelope system looks like, what our budget looks like, and why we use cash. Below you will find links to all the articles I've written so far. If you've found them helpful, share them with someone.
Figure out the vision. Have faith. Don't give up. Cut up your credit cards. Marry your debt snowball (it's temporary!).
"For we walk by faith, not by sight."
2 Corinthians 5:7