Sunday, July 23, 2017

How I'm (Mostly) Debt Free

I hate being in debt. Hate it, hate it, hate it. It's the worst feeling for me. At the moment, I don't have any car payments. I don't have any credit card debt.

I DO have a mortgage though, so currently that is my only debt.

Here are ways I was mostly able to be debt free.








1. Pay more on your car payments.  I always paid over. Sometimes $100 over. Sometimes only $50. But something. I wanted it to be paid off as soon as possible. Plus, before you buy a car try to have money set aside for a decent down payment. The more you can pay in the beginning, the lower your payments.


2. Live below your means. There are times when I COULD go out and do stuff. But I opt not to. This is not to say that I don't have any fun: I do. I've gone to Disney World multiple times. I love to eat out because I hate to cook. But I watch the spending. Yes, sometimes we're known as the cheapskates, but hey, we're the cheapskates with hardly any debt, so...


3. Sell your old stuff to buy new stuff. It's no secret that I love to buy clothes for my kids. In order to do this, I sell their old stuff. I usually sell it on eBay or Once Upon A Child. With the money I receive, I turn around and get new things.




4. Don't buy all the new stuff. I recently upgraded the 32 inch TV that was in the living room because hey, it still worked, so why did we need a new one? For the longest time I had a flip phone while everyone else was running out to buy smartphones. You don't need ALL the new gadgets. If you can't afford a drone, don't get one. Yeah they might seem cool, but they crash easily.


5. Adopt, don't shop. Both of our cats are from the shelter. When we got them, the money we paid went to the shelter so they could help other animals in need. Granted, I am a bit of a hypocrite here, because if there was a way I could buy my own Grumpy Cat, I would.




6. Coupon! I am NOT an extreme couponer. I don't do the double coupon thing or get 100 of one item. But I do use them. Coupons.com is a fantastic site. Also, before buying anything online, I ALWAYS check retailmenot.com to see if there is a code to use. More often than not, there is!


7. I use ebates! Before I purchase something online, I also check eBates to see if the website is listed. If it is, I'll get cash back. It's so easy. All you do is click on the store link on the eBates site, and that's it! You'll get money back! If you do sign up for this, please use my referral link here.


8. I don't smoke. I would imagine smoking or vaping would add up in cost. I also don't drink much, so I'm not running out buying booze every week.


9. My kids aren't in every sport out there. I'm not one of those people who feel the need to put my kids in everything. Unless they have a passion for something, I won't bother. My son was never interested in sports. My daughter has done gymnastics for years. She was actually offered a spot on the team, but we declined because she didn't seem to care one way or the other. I wasn't about to shell out a ton of money for a kid who'd whine about doing meets and going to extra practices. At the moment my daughter has decided to NOT do any sports, and I won't push her.






10. I try not to put a ton on a credit card. Sometimes this is easier said than done. When Tom and I were first married, we didn't have a lot of money so we relied on credit cards. When I saw the interest fees, I freaked. I vowed that we would try never to put more than we could pay off the following month on the cards again. But life can have surprises so there were times when we had to do it. These days, however, we pay off the cards every month. Credit cards aren't always completely evil--they will build your credit, at least. The cards I like are ones from USAA and the Amazon Reward Card, because I shop there weekly. (Another thing I have to put limits on at times.)


11. Do not lend money to family and friends. It only causes issues. If you're going to give money, have it be a gift. Trust me, it's easier that way. Otherwise you might have to deal with people not paying you back, which can lead to resentment. I know we've declined giving money to family because we have two kids to send to college. It's okay to say no.


12. Put money aside each month in savings. Sometimes you might not always have a lot to put back. But $1 is better than nothing. I like to always have something to fall back on in case something breaks. Vehicles aren't cheap when something is wrong. And now that we're homeowners, you never know what can happen.


13. My husband and I don't care about fashion. I basically live in my jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers all year long. Tom lives in his khakis, t-shirts, and sneakers all year long. Plus his military uniform. We don't give a hoot about name brand stuff. I'm missing the girl gene that makes me gaga over shoes. I carry a purse found in a clearance bin. I'd rather buy books. Or clothes for my kids. But even they aren't walking around in Coach and Tom Ford stuff. Tom Ford is a clothing brand, right? Or no? That shows how much I know about fashion...it's okay if you DO care about fashion, but don't go overboard. The people in your life should like you no matter what you have on and if they don't, maybe they aren't the people you need in your life.




I might not always be mostly debt free. There might come a time when I have to buy another vehicle. But for now, I'm busy setting money aside just in case something comes up.


How do you save money?

63 comments:

  1. Love to save a little from each paycheck for our travels. And yes to coupons and military discounts!!

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  2. Those are all great tips, and I live by most of them. My husband and I own no credit cards and haven't for fifteen years (learned the hard way with my first husband!) My 2005 Chevy Trailblazer is paid off and I refuse to purchase another vehicle until it's run to the ground. I don't want a car payment. I could care less about brand names. I will buy them if super cheap. A lot of my clothes are purchased at yard sales, thrift stores, or off-season at retailers. Unfortunately, we are in debt. Medical bills are killing us. But, it is what it is and we'll make it by. Thanks again for the tips.

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  3. I agree, never lend money to friends and family - it will turn the sitiation and makes you an enemy in the end. I am also an avid fan of savings. And blogging helps me to save a lot!

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  4. These are the best tips for staying debt free! We are 100% debt free and it gives us so much freedom! All of the new gadgets can be tempting, but it's definitely not worth the debt. We save for years and pay in full for our vehicles.

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  5. Very wise words, I agree on all of them! I also do the ebay thing myself.

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  6. I love this! We are big on things like this especially when it comes to car payments, we make more payments on our car. We will have it paid off next month which is 2 years early.

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  7. Great tips! Overpaying loans is a really good tip that I think not a lot of people take advantage of. Also not lending. I adopted my cat as well... the downside? I may have bought her WAYYY too many toys and spent way too much on that - shes a spoilt kitty haha

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  8. hmm... good question. I don't even use credit cards, although Cassidy has one emergency one. We generally overpay monthly bills when we can. We do like fashion but not that much! We're trying to work on our food budget. We're not great with that, I'll admit!

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  9. We don't have debt, but we are not well off by any means lol. We cut back where we can, but I don't use coupons or anything like that.

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  10. Being in debt is the worst feeling in the world. All your tips and ideas are wonderful and practical.

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  11. That's awesome that you have minimized your debt. Since I turned twenty-eight this year I got serious about putting more into my savings. Sometimes I freak out about my checking account and then remember it's because I have already paid myself.

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  12. This is such a great post, it really is so freeing to know you are almost debt free, it can be an awful thing to have hanging around your neck.

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  13. I absolutely LOVE this! Just because you CAN buy something, doesn't mean that you should Living below your means is key to keeping your finances in order.

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  14. We are debt free, including our mortgage, which is surreal to me. We still have an escrow account we add to monthly for home insurance and taxes though. I DO care about fashion and my husband is a video game freak but we have learned that if we budget for that stuff, we can have the best of both worlds.

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  15. I am working on that now. Just bought a Dave Ramsey book to help me get my mind set going. I want to be debt free too!

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  16. I love the shirts, I got those for me and my girls too lol! Also love these small tips that can add up to big money savings to help get out of debt! I am that clearance shopping coupon using mom and it helps tons!!

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  17. These are all great tips! and so useful! i should defo sell things i don't wear before buying new! i try to save each month but easier said than done

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  18. I can't wait the day that I am debt free. These are great tips. Do you know how to get rid of student loans.

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  19. This is all such great advice. We don't have much debt either. I am a big thrift store shopper. We also never have new cars and live below our means. It make things so much easier and less stressful.

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  20. These are great tips for staying out of debt. I always use coupons and price match when I can. Paying a little extra on your payments and living below your means will definitely help.

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  21. Awesome tips for staying out of or getting out of debt! We finally paid off our car last year and wow it is nice to have that cash to help my young adult kids out!

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  22. These tips are smart, I'm glad you don't smoke many of my friends do and it eats up so much from their income. Saving few dollars a month with time will show its value :)

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  23. What wonderful, actionable tips to stay debt free. One thing that can also help is to have just one credit card and make sure it's one that accumulates airline miles. Charge everything that you possibly can on that one credit card to build up miles for your next vacation, HOWEVER, be sure to pay off the balance at the end of the month. :-)

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  24. My hubby and I are really working on this. We just got rid of all unnecessary luxuries and cut back on our cell phone plan. We are also eating out rarely and being more thrifty overall.

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  25. Good, common sense tips!! And a mortgage is good debt! I luckily don't have any debt, my dad taught me well when I was younger! ;) But yeah, I do like some designer stuff but I never spend beyond my means. I use a credit card but it get paid off in full at each billing cycle. I've seen a few of my friends be flat out broke and I don't want to be in their shoes, ever!

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  26. These are great tips! I always try to sell my daughter's old clothes before buying new ones to try and make a little cash.

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  27. These are great tips. I don't drink or smoke, and we mostly drink tea or water. I don't want to be buying tons of bottled drinks all the time - not to mention running bags of empties to the store. And many of my clothes are cheap Walmart clothes - cheap t-shirts are perfect for so many things, from workouts to sweaty summer days with the kids. I would rather go through a $5 t-shirt than a $20 one.

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  28. Paying more than the amount you need to pay monthly helps a lot. You are so right about number 11. I love your tips!

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  29. I am in debt but I have managed to clear some of it by living below my means and it does help with saving pennies. Well done you x x

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  30. There are such amazing habits and definitely something I can learn from. Thanks for sharing!

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  31. this is great! i really need to start applying these steps. i know it, but it's so hard for me to let go of things!

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  32. My husband and I have been debt free for years, and it's really freed us up to have a the life we want. That being said, we worked really hard and have lived below our means. It's not always easy, but it's made a world of difference for us. Great post! x

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  33. I also hate to be in debt. Sometimes, if I really need to loan from someone, I'll give my best to pay everything first before buying anything for myself. Those are great tips that I can use and suggest to my family and friends :)

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  34. I care a lot about fashion but I still live below my means. I take your rule of "Sell your old stuff to buy new stuff." a little bit further. I have a minimalist wardrobe and If I want to buy a new black blazer I sell the one that I have. I always have the exact same number of items in my wardrobe. Same goes to kitchen equipment and most things in the house. That system has worked brilliantly for me so far.

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  35. Congrats. Me and my husband just a ply for a house bank credit...so we will son be in debt...hopefully not for a very long time.

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  36. We are debt free and enjoy it. We only spent as far as one and a half paycheck goes and keep the other half for a rainy day.

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  37. These are great tips on how to live free of debt. It's important not to accrue balances on one's credit cards. We are also mostly debt free.

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  38. You sound exactly like me. I am the balance to my husband who love to spend. I hate being in debt. I was debt-free when I was single but when I got married, I feel overwhelmed because in order to build my credit here in the US, I have to have debt, ugh! We do most of these things on your list. I still have to check ebates though.

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  39. Not living beyond your means is a good tip that very few take into consideration. If you bargain shop you can totally get the best for the lowest prices, just takes a little extra work.

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  40. Yessss. I need to take more of these tips into consideration....money issues are some of my biggest issues.

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  41. It must feel great to be almost debt free. My husband and I bought a house almost a year ago, so we won't be debt free for some time. I can only imagine how amazing it would feel though.

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  42. The subject of pet adoption as opposed to purchasing is one near and dear to my heart. And as it pertains to saving money, you can be on the lookout for "free adoption" days or special offers that many shelters run.

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  43. Your tips are great money saving tips and I'm impressed by your discipline! Saving is definitely important especially when you have kids!

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  44. I have always been quite frugal and have had my share of debt. It is so hard to get out of but it can be done. I am proud of you since I know that you live on a fixed income being in the military.

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  45. We are working on getting out debt down. We are pretty horrible at it, but things have happened recently that made us realize we need to get serious about it. I won't put my kids in sports unless they ask me. I was forced as a child and I hated it.

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  46. Some great suggestions for saving and be debt free. It's good to save for rainy days which may happen anytime.Yeu Doi

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  47. Some great suggestions for saving and be debt free. It's good to save for rainy days which may happen anytime.Yeu Doi

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  48. Paying more on my car payment has served me well for many years. I also pay bi-weekly instead of montly to get ahead of the interest.

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  49. I got debt free last year from my education loan! Now I feel like a bird! Saving is always a good idea. You never know when you need the money most!

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  50. These are very smart tips! Great to get on track!

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  51. I paid my credit card in full and never wait the due date. And I get rebate and rewards with it which I use for shopping :)

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  52. BRAVO!! I also do so many of the above things. I hate debt! It is scary!! I always want to be in control of my money!

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  54. We don't have a mortgage nor car payments to worry about, only the credit cards. But we're working on paying them all. :)

    -Lynndee

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  55. I do a lot if these except ebates .Will sign up through your link. We have a mortgage otherwise debt free .I hate using credit cards and avoid loaning money at all costs !

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  56. Great ideas..I also hate to be in debt. Its better to be careful before hand han regret later.

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  57. It is really important to make sure that you are living debt free. Debt can be all consuming. This is a great story and thank you so much for sharing your experiences. It is so important to be careful with money.

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  58. I agree that we need to live below are means. This is for us to be able to save some and also try to sold old stuffs and make it useful to others instead of you just storing it. And well, sometimes lending to your family is start of some petty fights so better control lending. - Anosa Malanga

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  59. I love that point about "adopt don't shop" We adopted both our cats from the shelter and although they did cost money, that money went back in to the shelter which was great! I try to sell my old things too, if they're in good condition then there's no sense throwing them out if someone else could use them and I can earn a bit for them.

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  60. These are great tips. I have a bad habit of saying yes when people ask for money, and I really need to stop it.

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  61. I do a lot of these things too. We opt for free or cheap entertainment so much of the time. It's way more affordable and allows me to save what would have been spent on something else.

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  62. I'm hoping to be in this boat by the end of the year. We have a long way to go though!

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  63. These are all spot on! Especially the not smoking, I have never even tried it, I would watch friends in school put good money down the drain buying cigarettes, and not to mention their breath always stinks!

    Avoiding debt at all costs is really the best way to go!

    Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

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