When my husband and I got married we had quite a bit of debt for a 19 year olds. We had negative equity on a car, a personal loan, and some credit card debt. This made our finances a little slim at times and we had to learn how to work with what we had to pay off our debt and build up our savings,
We didn’t really crack down on our budget and saving money until we started looking to buy a house. We were naive to how much it would cost to buy a home and all of the fees that came with it. We decided to make a budget, and follow the guidelines of the Dave Ramsey Snowball method,and with a few tweaks it has been working well for us so far!
I want to share five tips that we have used and are currently using to pay off our debt and work our way to financial freedom. Our end goal is to be smart with our money now and set up healthy spending habits to use for the rest of our lives.
- Get Help Making a Budget
My husband and I started by watching Youtube videos on the Dave Ramsey method, and learning how to budget our money based on our income and expenses. We started out using an app called Every Dollar and it was one of the best ways to break down all of our monthly expenses. It has multiple sections and is customizable to your monthly income. It helps you to target the areas where you spend the most money, and how much is essential and non essential spending. I will also link the Dave Ramsey’s website here as a resource, there is a ton of helpful information there.
You can also meet with a financial advisor if you feel that you can’t do it on your own. Your bank could also be a helpful resource with advice to get you back on track to saving money if you didn’t want to use an online method
- Get Rid of Your Credit Cards
Credit cards were and still are a HUGE chunk of the debt my husband and I are working to pay off. The swipe now and pay later attitude is so EASY to do but it can get you into so much trouble if you aren’t careful. My husband and I got rid of ALL of our credit cards except for ONE that we keep for emergencies.
My best advice would be to keep one credit card and if you buy something with it, make sure you have the money to pay it off. Credit cards can be a good way to build credit, but they can also be a huge gateway to overspending!
- Cash, Cash, Cash
This goes along with the previous point,and was probably one of the hardest things for me to do! My husband and I try our best to do a Zero based budget through the Dave Ramsey method. This means that every week we split up all of our money down the cent, and we take out cash to use as our spending money.Since we get paid weekly we can do this but no matter what time of the month you get paid you can make it work for you and your specific situation. Only using cash allows us to get away from the “card swiping” mentality and we can physically see our money going away. It may not be this way for you, but for me it helps me to save money if I can physically see my money being spent versus swiping my card and forgetting about it.
To help me with this I use cash envelopes and it helps me a ton to stay organized and they are pretty cute too! I will link the pack I bought on Amazon, they even come with little labels to help you personalize them to your needs! I will link those for you here!
- Budget TOGETHER
Of course this would apply to those who are married or in a relationship where you share your finances, but I think this is an important budgeting tip! If you are both on the same page with your spending habits it can help you to be transparent and communicate more effectively about your money. Seeing where your money goes and knowing how much your spending and saving can lead to less arguments about finances and money if you are both aware of what is going on. My husband and I have definitely had arguments about money, but knowing that we are both contributing helps us to stay on track and reach our goal together!
- GIVE. YOURSELF. GRACE.
Budgeting is HARD. So cut yourself some slack the first few months that you are trying to figure everything out. It takes awhile to make such a huge lifestyle change. Every month, even every week is different! Try not to compare yourself to others, just work hard and save your money. Everyone has to start somewhere and most of the time starting is the hardest part.
My husband and I are not completely debt free yet, but we are on track to have all of our debt paid off besides a house and car payment by the time we move into our new home. We are also building up our savings in the meantime, and preparing for our future goals.
Set big goals for yourself and stick to them, feel free to comment below about any questions you may have or other tips I may have left out that have work for you 🙂 I love hearing from you all!
Until the next time….
Riley Jo XOXO