Two Critical Habits for Getting Out of Debt (and Staying That Way)

We used them to get out of debt; we use them to this day.

Looking back, there are two critical habits my husband and I repeated that got us out of debt.  Just yesterday, I realized that they are still as critical, even three years later.

Photo Credit: Joshua Earle (via Unsplash)

 

What are the two habits?

  1. Living on a budget
  2. Talking about money

Everything boils down to one of those two points.

Turns out I’m not alone in saying this.

Yesterday, I read about an amazing couple, Katie & Brian, who paid off $30,000 in less than a year to become debt free (except their mortgage).  What an incredible feat!

They have one payment.

Think about that.  What would you do if you had only one payment?

Katie said the biggest difference happened when they began budgeting regularly and communicating.

We would set a budget & we would stick to it.

We would meet together at the end of every month to go over all our expenses.

We also agreed to have on-going financial discussions throughout the month.  We made talking about our finances a priority, and it became something we both enjoy doing.

Read more about Katie and Brian’s story here, and learn what handy tools they used on their debt-free journey.

 

Life After Debt

I completely agree that those two habits made all the difference when we got out of debt.  But that’s only the beginning for us.  Nearly 3 years later, it is still just as pivotal to budget monthly and communicate regularly as it was then.

We would not be able to live as a family of four on Dontae’s income, allowing me to stay home with the children, without those two habits in place.

We would not be able to save up for a house.

We would not be able to give back to our church through tithes and offerings regularly.

That stuff is what matters to us.  It may be different for you.  But whatever it is, it’s worth the imperfect struggle toward financial freedom.  And it is imperfect.

 

So my advice for getting started is threefold:

  1. Commit – The easiest and hardest step is to commit to tracking your spending (together). But do it.  Set a date.  Start a change.
  2. Follow Through – Once you’ve written down a plan, go LIVE it. Be in regular communication with your significant other – especially the first 90 days.  Just be honest.  Change isn’t easy.  Give grace.
  3. Protect – All it would take to completely wreck your financial plan is to do nothing. Isn’t that just the worst?  Trust me, we still experience this when we skip or delay a budget – which usually means we aren’t communicating about money.  Protect your plan.  Both of you.

 

Budget Tools

Here is the quick-start budget I learned from when I took Financial Peace University.

Or check out the great software suggestions in Katie’s article.

Or write down your income at the top of a sheet of paper, then subtract every expense until you get zero.

But just start.

 

**I invite you to share this article if you know anyone who wants to begin his or her debt-free journey.  Have a wonderful week!**

 

Join the Discussion:  What’s your next big financial goal?  What steps have you taken so far to get there?