Just last week, I was blessed enough to be interviewed by Debt.Org and featured on their site. The interview was amazing, entertaining and truly a wonderful thing to be a part of. If you missed it, check it out here: Airman’s Blog Mixes Fun into Lessons in Frugality.
While I enjoyed the interview, I realized that we left out some pertinent information for people that may be looking to get out of debt, and who doesn’t really give a crap about my shoe obsession. So today, I want to tell you some important facts about our finances and how we handle debt and savings.
1. We Are Debt Free
We’ve worked hard to get rid of all debt between my Husband and I. Since 2007, we’ve gotten rid of all credit cards, student loan debt, car debt and any medical debt we may have had due to sickness or the births of our children. Our goal is to have our mortgage be the only debt we ever have in life.
2. We’re In The Market For A Home
We’ve been saving aggressively and, as stated above, all debt has been paid down. Our next step is to get all financial paperwork together, and start seriously looking for our first home. Our original goal was to pay cash for our first home, which may still be attainable, depending when we find our dream home. We’re in the midst of finding out the steps we have to take towards home ownership and how we can do it as frugally as possible.
3. Our Splurges Aren’t “Real” Splurges
When it comes to doing special things for our family, and doing things that we see as splurges, the experiences really aren’t that expensive. Someone who isn’t living a frugal lifestyle probably would not see these as splurges. We like to take the whole family out to local restaurants once a month (usually with a Groupon or special deal), or we may take a “staycation” at a local hotel every 3 months or so. Even when we take our staycations, we use my military discount, and book through Ebates to get cash back for our stay.
4. We Save Big, And We Save Little
We make a point of saving as much money as we possibly can without feeling deprived. For example, we are now part of the 52 week savings challenge, which we count as a “small” savings since it’s only small amounts saved each week. On the other hand, we have a savings account linked to our Credit Union checking account, and we place our “real” savings in that account. I also take advantage of the savings programs that the military provides, like the Thrift Savings Plan, to have money automatically taken out of my military pay checks. Smaller savings are usually used for vacations or staycations, while the larger ones are being used towards a new car and our new house.
5. It Always Helps To Have A Side Hustle
I’ve mentioned Side Hustles before, but this is worth repeating. While my husband works during the day for NJ Transit, his side hustle is music producing. He has been a music producer since he was 19, so this has always been his money-producing passion. While I let go of my original side hustle a few years ago, blogging has become my new one, providing me with opportunities to supplement some of the bills in our home, or simply place any funds I make right into our savings.
6. We Set Small Goals With Big Results
The best way for us to get out of debt, was to set goals. We made a point to set small goals since they are attainable in a shorter amount of time. Also, once you accomplish that small goal, it motivates you to move on to the next one, or even tackle two goals at a time. When we were in dire straits, and behind on every bill, our goal was to be current on at least one bill. One by one, we became current on each bill, and then we were able to decide which bills to let go of (credit cards and home phone) and which bills to re-negotiate (insurance and cell phone). We all know that our big goal is to be completely debt-free, but give yourself smaller goals within your journey to keep you on track.