In the last post I shared our 18 month journey on how we buckled down to got out of debt. At the time our budget consisted of the following average income and expenses:
Life Insurance 94
Health Insurance 100
Groceries & Non Food Items 250
Car Loan 340
Credit cards min payments 100
Mother’s Day Out Childcare (2 days) 180
Personal Allowances 50
Auto Gas 200
Auto Insurance 100
Total Expenses $3,159
Income Left After Home Expenses $343
Roommate Rent 350
Total to Pay Toward Debt $693
As you can see there was no budget for entertainment or clothing. This was apart of the sacrifice. Our son received clothes from birthdays, the initial baby shower and family hand me downs so we never had to worry about his clothes.
All of the initial $25,000 debt was paid off in March 2015. A few months later I discovered I was pregnant with our second child and because my husband used our SUV for work related purposes I was back to driving my 2 door sports coupe. With a two year old and growing belly we decided to buy a four door sedan with yet another car note.
Our rationale was that we would pay it off very quickly but like anyone with a car loan, the first few payments are okay while the car is new to you but after the 3rd payment you’re ready to throw the car (or the loan) in the trash.
The Faith Walk of Entrepreneurship
Our finances at the time however did not allow for much wiggle room to throw at the new auto loan as I heard clearly from the Lord to pursue my business full time and end teaching college courses.
In Dec 2015 two months before our first daughter was born, I turned in my college instructor hat and dove into full time entrepreneurship with $1,200 less in income and the same bills. Our church at this time also moved from hosting church at a local YMCA for $400 per month to a storefront location for $1,500 per month. We were once again in full faith that God would not only provide but prosper us.
God’s Promise Delivered
My first full year of entrepreneurship was indeed a success. I had more time to dedicate to the growing operations of the business and more income allowing us to get back on track in paying off the new car loan. Our church easily sustained the new expenses of rent and electricity even with a small membership base. There was never a month that went by when we thought “How are we going to pay the rent?”
Keys to the Debt Free Journey
Before I jump into how we paid off the new auto loan I want to share a few actions we stuck to (and still do this day):
1. We Never Stopped Giving
We are 100% believers and doers of tithing. From the moment we started our debt free journey tithing 10% of our income was always given priority. We even sowed a few seeds of faith along the way. If we were trusting a God to help us pay off debt we wanted to honored Him first.
2. Tithe 10% Save 10% - The 10/10 Principle
In 2016 I heard a message from Pastor Rick Warren suggesting that you are living above your means if you cannot tithe 10% and save 10%. I heard similar advice but this time it hit home. Because we had funneled so much money toward paying off debt we essentially had no savings. Approximately $1,000 to be exact.
As our income increased in 2016, instead of adding back the expenses we trimmed (cable, entertainment, etc.) we started the 10/10 principle and over the course of one year we saved 6 months of living expenses. It’s been a solid 3 years since we have implemented this strategy which has allowed us to purchase an investment property in 2019 with 20% down. This principle works if you stick to it.
3. We Continue to Live on a Modest Budget
Although our income and expenses have increased (hello childcare!) we continue to live on a modest budget. This gives us the ability to focus our money on things that matter most to us such as experiences with our children and property investments. We spend very little money on clothing, limit our personal care expenses and maximize credit card points for cash back and airline miles without going back into debt (blog post coming soon!).
In the next post I’ll share the final leg of our debt free journey and the one thing that will help anyone focus and knock out your debt fast!
Do you have any tips that help you stay focus and on track with your financial goals?