The 3 Rules to Paying Off Debt Fast – This newlywed couple got out of $78,000 of debt in 23 months! Now they’re sharing with you the 3 rules you need, too.
This is a guest post from my dear friend, Jen of Saving With Spunk. Jen is here today to share with you the 3 rules to paying off debt fast. She and her husband, Travis, are masters with their money and are sharing their top ways that they were able to become debt free very quickly.
If you are looking for help and motivation to pay off debt quickly, this is a great place to start your own debt free journey or to find the motivation to keep going!
Hi! I’m Jen! My husband, Travis and I got married in October of 2015 and spent the first 23 months of our marriage paying off $78,000 of debt, mostly student loans.
Before I met Travis I was pretty content with my $60,000 in car and student loan debt. When I say “content,” I mean pretty good at ignoring it. I knew that paying it off would mean lots of sacrifices and I wasn’t ready to commit.
So when I got engaged to a man who passionately hates debt I had to jump on board or use my loan interest tax statements to keep me warm at night.
But it really wasn’t difficult to get me on board. I already knew it was the right thing to do, I’d just been lost on how to do it. We started when we got back from our honeymoon and since we had three unspoken rules to keep us in check as long as we were paying off debt. These rules were simple and useful for everyone trying to achieve a short-term financial goal.
1. Everything For The Benjamins
We looked at income totally different while we were paying off debt. We wanted to pay it off as quickly as possible so we only did jobs that would bring in money as quickly as possible. That didn’t mean we were taking minimum wage jobs at Taco Bell (although that would be my fast food dream job) but we didn’t think about the long-term viability of our side employment either.
I took data entry jobs online and did foster home babysitting, Travis drove Uber and logged extra hours at work doing paperwork no one else wanted to. They weren’t the most lucrative side hustles but they moved the needle faster up front, and that fueled our motivation.
Now that we’re debt-free we can afford to invest in side hustles that will be more lucrative in the long run but will take some time to monetize. I’m investing more in my blog and just wrote my first book! These are great side hustles but you have to really know what you’re doing to make money with them quickly. If you don’t it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, just don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll be able to pay off debt with it.
And yes, I did compile all the flexible side jobs I did over two years into a free PDF cheat sheet with direct links you can use to apply to each. If you want it you can download it here.
Check out these other side hustles:
- Start a money-making blog
- Make a Full Time Income From Home Proofreading
- 30+ Real Ways to Earn Money From Home
- How I Earn Money as a Stay-at-Home Mom
- 7 Survey Sites that Are Actually Worth It
- Secret Shopping from Home
- 5 Side Hustles That Pay For My Groceries (and More!)
2. Don’t Pay Retail
We didn’t stop buying stuff for two years. Heck, we bought a house while paying off debt! But we did have a rule for buying, we never pay full price.
My favorite, and probably the most overlooked, place we shopped to save money was the pawn shop. We still shop there. You can find household tools, small appliances, electronics, and more there. Everything we’ve bought from pawn shops has been good quality and most prices are negotiable.
Another way we saved money was buying things through apps like OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace. We got furniture for our new house, sometimes free furniture, from businesses advertising through the apps.
Other ways to avoid paying full retail:
- Best Money Saving Apps You Need
- 5 Ways to Save Money Going Out With Friends
- 5 Ways You’re Losing Money With Ebates
- 10 Crazy Money Saving Amazon Hacks
- Never Pay Full Price at Restaurants
3. Sundays Are For Meal Planning
Food is one of the biggest expenses we have every month so I knew we could make the biggest cut in our budget there. The best way to do that is meal planning and I do it on the same day at the same time every Sunday.
It takes me about an hour to plan and make a shopping list then 20 minutes to shop (it goes a lot quicker with a list!) then come home and prep everything for the week. I hate cooking so I try to make it as easy as possible during a busy week to get dinner on the table and leftovers ready for lunch.
Most people say they don’t have time to meal plan but I can’t imagine having the time not to. Planning, shopping, and prepping in one fell swoop takes less time than wandering around the grocery store for an hour and standing in front of the fridge every day wondering what you’re going to eat. And it’s quicker than driving to a restaurant and waiting for a table, your food, the bill, then driving home. Meal planning saves as much time as it does money.
More ways to save in the kitchen:
- Meal plan for just $1.62/week
- How Much Should I Budget for Groceries?
- 100+ Cheap and Easy 15-Minute Meal Ideas
- How to Feed Your Family on a Budget (so You Don’t Feel Poor)
- I Tried Extreme Couponing for a Month: How Much I Spent and Saved
Aside from these three rules we were flexible on almost everything. Sometimes we broke our own rules but having them to come back to again and again gave us the sense that we could manage to pay off our debt.
I hope they help you wrap your brain around the crazy idea to pay off debt or reach any of your financial goals!
You can find out more about Jen and all of her money saving tips and tricks on her blog Saving With Spunk. You can also find her posting to The Penny Hoarder.
Join the FREE 10 Day Side Hustles That Work Challenge!
Here's my challenge to you:
Can you pay for your grocery bill with your side hustle?
Take the challenge!
(PS - NONE of them have to do with sales!)
Bring in extra income without having to spend a penny. I want to share with you the side hustles that I love that help my family every month.