How We Paid off 20k in Debt

Friday, January 29, 2016

It feels a little surreal to even type this, but as of January 1st 2016, Michael and I are debt free. This is something that has completely changed my life so I wanted to just share a quick recap. I feel like sometimes it’s weird to talk about money, especially when it relates to how much debt you have because it is kind of shameful. Do I really want to spread the news about how Michael and I were totally mismanaging our money and got ourselves into serious credit card debt? Not really. But do I want to share how we got to the other side of it and now life is so much better? Totally. If this story inspires even one person to do the same it will be worth it. So here we go.

When Michael and I got married he had never had a credit card and only had ever operated on cash. I had always had credit cards because I assumed that was what you did when you became an adult. This is where the biggest myth of American culture had ruined us: we thought we had to have credit cards. We thought that we had to build our credit. But surprise, surprise you totally don't. Maybe you knew that, but we didn't.

So we had many credit cards, and even when we had plenty of cash, we would still spend on the credit cards. When we first got married we were in a pretty good financial situation. Lucky for us we started off with a really cushy savings account. We spent on credit cards. We paid it off from savings. Slowly over time that savings account dwindled and with a cross country move and some job instability we came to rely more and more on our plastic little friends, until suddenly we had no savings and were truly living outside of our means.

We also didn't budget. Like in no way shape or form. We had no visibility into what we were spending our money on, or how much was coming in. We would go to target and drop $400 on things that we wanted, just because. This was a regular occurrence. We traveled a lot. We basically never told ourselves no, because when you are an adult, you don't have to.

So there we were 4 years after getting married and we knew something had to change. So here is what we did to get out of debt.