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There are so many unbelievable debt payoff stories out there! You heard of the couple that took 1 year to pay off $100,000 of debt and of course the single parent that paid off $30,000 in 3 months! While these stories can be true and motivational it is nothing like our debt free story. There is nothing special about our debt free journey. We took more of a tortoise approach to paying off debt versus the “gazelle intense” that you hear about from Dave Ramsey and his followers. Every debt free journey is different. It doesn’t matter now you get there, just get there. We did…eventually.
Many of you have already read my story about How I Got Into Debt. As I was being intense about paying off my debt, I met and married my husband. We have different views about money. He is the spender, I am the saver. At first, we kept our finances separate but a year after we got married we decided to combine our finances including our debt.
We both came into the marriage with debt. I had the most debt. We both had car payments and credit card debt. To add to our mountain of debt, we bought a house and of course a new house needs new things! I knew in the back of my mind that our debt was climbing but I liked embracing this “spending” lifestyle. I figured I would worry about it later after we made the decision to combine a finances, which was not an easy decision but I will talk about that in another post.
Although, I was aggressively paying off my debt, there is something about being married to a free spirit that paying off debt took a backseat. I mean, we NEEDED nice expensive furniture for our new house. Plus we were newly married, we NEEDED to travel.
After the whirlwind of the new-ness wore off, we had to start adulating again. We totaled our combined debt. When we combined our finances, our debt total was $42,124. The sight of the debt total was enough to scare me and to start to take action towards paying it off.
Being debt free was always a top priority about it wasn’t our #1 priority. We enjoyed traveling and being a couple. Since he was a spender and I was a saver, we had to compromise on a debt payoff strategy. Although, I would rather eat beans and rice until we are debt free, he would rather have debt and keep spending money on a lavish life. Here were our compromises during our debt payoff journey:
No big purchases – We didn’t make any big purchases and we still drove our old cars during our debt payoff journey. We still spent money on dining out and nice date nights. What can I say, we were young and wanted to have fun.
Must combine finances – Combining finances was probably the biggest factor in paying off our debt. Two incomes are better than one. This helped the debt payoff go a little faster.
10% to 20% of total income went towards debt – Since we didn’t have kids when we started our debt free journey (and we had really good jobs), it was easy for us to put 20% of our income towards debt. By the time our daughter was born (2 years into our debt free journey) we had most of our debt paid off so we dropped our debt contribution down to 10%.
…except for our mortgage. I must say, being debt free feels great! We have fewer bills to pay, more money in our budget, and less financial worry. We were able to pay cash for two “new-to-us” cars! Could we have paid off our debt a lot sooner? Yes, but the speed we chose worked best for us and our family.
Where are you on your debt free journey?