Everyone seems to always talk about paying off debt… AFTER they’ve paid it off. But they never talk about it during the process of paying it off. They want you to know how successful they’ve been and blah blah blah and how you can do it too!
Well, I’m going to tell you about debt WHILE I’m actually paying it off.
First of all, the struggle can be, and IS real. There are so many times that I just want to give up and say screw it! It’s not really like Dave Ramsey says. That whole once you build momentum there’s no stopping you or whatever it is he says is bull crap. There’s a lot of things that can stop you along the way. I don’t know if I’m just a normal human being or what, but sometimes things happen. Like a car breaks down. Or you need to take an emergency flight. Or something happens and you have to move (haha military life right?). There are SO many factors when paying off debt.
SO LET’S GET TO HOW I PAY OFF DEBT!
Right this minute, we are at about 50% paid off. I have been obsessively checking my debt worksheets and my budget to make sure everything is perfect, and it’s going pretty good.
These are the worksheets I use for tracking my debt and how far I’ve paid it off! They have honestly been the most helpful to me. You can download a free copy for yourself, they truly keep your head in the game. AND THEY’RE FREE 100%.
Using these two main sheets, I have filled out the information of each and every single one of my debts, (along with my husband’s), and placed them in my “financial binder” along with my budget sheets, my bills sheets, and more.
Build an emergency and savings fund. So with what you can, try and put at least $1,000 in savings to have a back up plan in case something happens. This is super crucial! You are going to need this.
We started off with the smallest debt! It was a TJ MAXX credit card with a $300 limit, and it was at about $150. So with the debt snowball method, you want to start off with the smallest amount you owe, and then work your way up. When you pay off the smallest amount you owe, you have to pay minimum payment on all of your other debts. This is crucial. So say my minimum payment on that credit card was $25. Now that I have officially paid off that card, that $25 I would’ve been using to pay off that card is now going to go into my next lowest debt payment. So my next lowest debt payment was a card that was at $500 and the minimum payment was $30. Well, now that I paid off TJ Maxx and I don’t have a minimum payment on that card anymore, I will be paying $30+$25 which equals $55, plus any extra wiggle money I can use towards that. (From an extra job, from that gym membership you cancelled, from coupons that saved you money at the grocery store, whatever it may be! Every dollar counts.)
This chain has grown so insanely for us that at our smallest debt that we are currently paying off, we are paying $600 towards it. WOOHOO!!!
With my worksheets, I like to save the ones that I have paid off in a different section in my binder so that I remember that I don’t ever want to be in that place again! It’s good motivation, and I love that I constantly feel a weight lifted of my shoulders every time I look over at hubby and say, “ONE MORE PAYMENT OFF OUR CHECKLIST!”
WELL WHAT ABOUT THE ROUGH MONTHS?
So during those rough months that we have issues, we stuck it out. Have you ever had something happen that ate away at your emergency fund and then you have no emergency fund or savings fund left? Yeah. That’s life! So when that happens, you have to resort to your minimum payment on everything until you can get your situation sorted out. After it is sorted out NO SLACKING! You have to go straight back to paying off debt! It’s tough, and it’s great to see all this sudden extra money in your checking account. But remember to do the right thing!
WHAT IF THERE ARE TWO DEBTS AT THE SAME AMOUNT?
Well in cases like these, you are going to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first!
Paying off ALL of your debt may some long and far away, but I promise once you start you will see how quickly all the debt goes away and how good it feels! The lifted weight off your shoulders is definitely worth it!
Don’t forget to download these printer friendly worksheets and fill them in!