5 Things to do in 2019 to Help You Move Toward Getting OUT of Debt!!

Debt. Ick. A slave-driver.

“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” Proverbs 22:7

Don’t be a slave! Choose the path less traveled!
Choose the hard path and be blessed.

  1. Don’t buy it unless you NEED it. Seems simple right? But who really does this??? What do you NEED? Food. Clothes. Electricity. Hmmm, not another black shirt or another pair of flats or another toy your kid won’t play with.
  2. Talk to your spouse about every purchase that isn’t food. Seems extreme right? I’m telling you, this was our biggest game changer! It all started when I came home with 5 buckets I had purchased from Wal-Mart. I walked in and my husband reminded me we had like 10 downstairs. Oops. So often we aren’t aware of what we already have… or we are convinced we “need” something when our spouse might disagree and give us a different, helpful perspective.
  3. Keep the BIG picture in mind. There’s a bigger picture than that impulsive buy you really want. Your grandchildren for example. Did you know how you spend money impacts not only your kids but your grand kids…and possibly their kids?! Yep. Your choices never just impact you. Generations will reap what you sow. Do you want your kids and their kids to embrace debt and see it as “the only way”. No! Of course not! We don’t want our children being slaves to anyone but Christ. So live it out NOW! Choose to not be a slave to debt today and watch it change your tomorrow and your children’s children.
  4. Remember it’s not your money. Nothing you have belongs to you if you call yourself a child of God. When you chose to be His you gave Him all of you and everything that you have. Think of that next time you go to buy another coffee that you know you could make yourself at home. (Nothing wrong with buying coffee every once in a while… but everyday?? Especially when you are in debt??)
  5. Be a weirdo. Yep. You read that right. Be the weird one at the restaurant that gets ice water so you don’t have to contribute to the bill. Go to be with them for fellowship and save money while you’re at it. Be the one that skips out on going to the theater because your main goal right now is to get out of debt! Look for little and big ways all day to save money. You may be weird but that’s ok because debt is normal! And you don’t want normal! “Live like no one else so you can live like no one else.” -Dave Ramsey

Maybe you’re thinking: “Oh yeah! What do you know?!!” Welp. I’m a spender. A big waster. But by God’s glorious grace I married a saver. A frugal man. He has influenced me to live out the 5 points above. They don’t come naturally but I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to no longer be a slave to debt! We now own two homes with no mortgages and have no other debt of any form! We have been single income for our whole marriage and not with money-making jobs either! (Ahem, Pastor and Teacher 🙂

My heart is for you!! I want you to see the value in living debt free. The value in the long-term rather than those short-term indulgences! Here’s to a debt free life! 2019 is your year to get started!

Love, Katie

Our new home we own with no mortgage! Praise God!

5 Top Tips to Get Out of Debt and Stay out of Debt

  1. Live Under Your Means. Too many people live in a way that says: “I have a bunch of money!” For example, they make $5,000 a month but they live like they make $6,000. Continually living pay check to pay check and/or using a credit card monthly. If you make $5,000 a month you should be living like you make $4,000 (or less) so that you are able to put more money toward your debt! If you always live within your means you won’t pay off your debt because you won’t have any left over. Remember, like Dave Ramsey said, “live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.”
  2. Enjoy The Free Things In Life. There are many things enjoyable to do that are free! Find out something that your family loves to do together that costs nothing! Not sure? Just check on-line! Or check out books like this one! (only $2.99 on kindle!) Or type into google: “free things to do in….” (and type in your city). Get your family used to the idea that you aren’t going to go to movies, or sporting events or special beauty treatments etc. Get your family excited about paying debt off! Some day you will have more money (because you won’t be throwing it at your debt) to do things but for now the excitement needs to be found in free things!
  3. Stay Home. What’s the cheapest thing to do? Stay home! Eat at home! Play at home! Laugh at home! Every time you go somewhere you are putting more wear and tear on your vehicle. Every time you go somewhere you are going to be filling up your gas tank sooner. Every time you go somewhere you are spending money some way. Create a home where your children like to be. Do things together as a family. My husband purposefully sets aside time each night where we just sit and visit. Relationship is key! When your children feel connected to you and each other they are more likely to want to stay home. When they feel like family time revolves around a television screen they are more likely to feel connected to the television, not their family. Look for ways to connect as a family. I knew one family that made Friday night: Family Game night. Another family had Friday night be a stay in night where they made pizza and just hung out as a family. One of the main ways to make home enjoyable is to have a good relationship with your spouse! A home filled with fighting is a place no one wants to be! Look for ways to make peace not war. Remember Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle answer turns away wrath…” Make home a place people want to stay, not run away from. Home=Money Saver.
  4. Keep The End In Mind. It’s hard living like no one else. I get it. I was there for years. We paid off our mortgage about 4 years ago. The first 7 years of our marriage we lived like “crazy people” looking for every little way to save money, but we kept the end in mind. We dreamt of what it would be like to live debt free. No more bills (aside from the obvious like water, garbage etc.). The extra money we would have in savings at all times. The feeling of never having to “stop buying groceries this month”. The feeling of knowing that we were going to put more toward retirement and be able to give more. There are just so many liberties and joys that come from being debt free that we reminded ourselves: no item or trip or meal was worth giving that future feeling up.
  5. Put ALL Money Toward Debt. Tax return? Put it toward your debt. Christmas cash? Put it toward your debt. Birthday cash? Put it toward your debt. Earn a little extra money on the side? Put it toward your debt. When my mom died I inherited some money and put it ALL toward our mortgage. You get the point. When you get money put it toward the absolute necessities like food and put the rest toward debt.

    BONUS TIP FOR WHEN YOU’RE OUT OF DEBT

  6. When out of debt, pretend you are in debt. Ok, maybe not quite like you’re still in debt… but close! Just because we are out of debt doesn’t mean we go crazy with our money now buying whatever we want, whenever we want! Nope. We seriously consider purchases. We still talk about almost all purchases together that aren’t food. We still don’t buy new stuff. We still look continually for ways to save. Getting out of debt has freed us to spend money on things we may not have before, like my husband’s books! (Yes, it costs money to write a good book). The goal is to be debt free for life, not in and out of debt!

    How about you? What are your top “get out of debt tips”?!

HOW we paid off our mortgage on one income!

Last week I posted about WHY we chose to pay off our mortgage. Today’s post is about HOW we paid it off in six years on one income.

First, I should let you know I did some substitute teaching for about 5 months before we had children. So we were “double income” during that time, even though the amount I made certainly didn’t approach full-time employment.

On our honeymoon Scott and I read one of our wedding gifts: Total Money Makeover. After that we were sold on paying off our mortgage. But we thought: “How in the world are we going to do this on one income, and a teacher’s income at that?!”

One of the main principles I took away from the book is: “Live like no one else so that you can live like no one else.” Scott and I knew that if we were going to pay off our mortgage on one income we would have to do this! This became a mantra for me when I felt like a weirdo for not doing what everyone else was doing.

Here are ten things we did to “live like no one else” so we could put that extra money toward our mortgage. You’ll notice there are no fancy formulas or budgeting techniques. We simply lived in a way many others would consider extreme, and we still largely live this way today. I believe many people would consider our lifestyle extreme simply because we live in such an indulgent society.

1. We rarely ate out.

Perhaps twice per year and only when we were traveling more than four hours on the road. Usually we brought food with us. If we did go out for a birthday or anniversary we used a gift card. Making meals at home saves LOTS of money. I must admit one thing that helped us was having four children six and under. They didn’t eat much :).

2. We didn’t go big on holidays or birthdays.

For birthdays we buy one gift for each child, and have dinner and cake that I make. Scott and I don’t buy anything for each other on holidays, anniversaries, or birthdays. It’s a nice mutual agreement we have that keeps expectations and expenses low 🙂 For Christmas we let each kid buy their siblings a small gift and then we ask the grandparents to only buy one special gift for each child. Holidays can REALLY ADD UP. Our minimalist approach to toys saves lots of money. We buy the same types of toys but not a lot of different ones. Many kids have toys laying around they never play with! Figure out what toys your kids like and invest in those. Now that we paid our debt off we have invested more in quality toys. Continue reading HOW we paid off our mortgage on one income!

WHY we paid off our mortgage!

This is the first of a two part blog post! The next one will be on HOW we paid off our mortgage. This one will focus on WHY.

My husband and I paid off our house in six years of marriage. We owed $160,000 on our mortgage at the time. I also owed about $6,000 for school loans that we paid off within the first year of marriage. Scott (my husband) had some school loans but they would be paid off through a grant program as he taught at a low income school district in Ca. That was all our debt. We didn’t, and still don’t, do credit cards and we pay cash for vehicles.

Early on we wrestled with the idea of paying our house off because of the tax deduction we got for having a mortgage. Dave Ramsey helped us out with that decision though:

If you have the opportunity to pay off your home and you don’t pay off your home in order to keep the tax deduction, that would be an indication that you are poor at mathematics. Let me help you with the mathematics on this. Let’s say you have a $200,000 mortgage at 5% interest. If you have a $200,000 mortgage at 5%, that would be $10,000. We have a $10,000 tax write-off because we have a $200,000 mortgage at 5%. That’s a tax deduction, meaning if that couple makes $75,000 a year and they take a $10,000 tax deduction, they don’t pay taxes on $75,000. They instead pay taxes on $65,000. If you do this weird Dave Ramsey thing, though, and you pay off the house, you no longer pay taxes on $65,000 because you would not have a tax deduction. You’d have to pay taxes on $75,000. You’re in a 25% tax bracket if you make $75,000 a year. That $10,000 a year that we’re talking about is taxed at 25%. By paying off your home, 25% of that $10,000 that you’re going to have to pay extra taxes on is $2,500. In essence, you lost a $2,500 savings on your tax bill, but you gained $10,000 by not having to pay it to the bank. A $10,000 tax deduction is the same thing as saying, ‘I would rather give Countrywide $10,000 than give the government $2,500.’Continue reading WHY we paid off our mortgage!