To see part 1 click here.
Here are other things I learned in my debt repayment journey:
5) Pack a lunch. One of the best ways to save a lot of money is to pack a lunch. Knowing that our money was going towards paying off debt was enough for me to stick with this. We did eat out twice a month, but never spent more than $40 in total each time.
6) Be accountable to someone. Most of your friends and family may think you are crazy. I know mine did. They also thought I was wasting my money and had their own ideas of what I can do with it. This is where an accountability partner is crucial. This person should believe in your goal and preferably be working towards debt freedom as well. It can be a friend, neighbor, brother or sister etc. I might be crazy, but now I am crazy and debt free!! (LOL) And the interesting part is that when our close friends and family saw us in the final 6-month stretch of our journey, they started re-evaluating their finances and realized that they can do it as well. Three close friends of mine starting paying off their debts after being inspired by our journey.
7) Put all windfall income towards debt. When we started paying off our debts we had about $10,000 in emergency savings which we did not put towards the debt, but depleted over the 2.5 years. When an unexpected expense came up, we used this fund to pay for the expense so we could continue focusing on our debt repayment. We also had 2 big tax refunds. In 2013 & 2014 we had a combined tax refund slightly over $7,000 each year because of the tuition credits we accumulated while in school. That $14,000+ refund all went towards our debt. Bringing our debts down from $120k to $106k. Windfall income is a great way to pay down debt quickly.
8) Set a visual reminder of your goal. I had a “debt-ometer” hanging up in our bedroom throughout our debt repayment journey. Every time we paid off a little more debt, we would shade the thermometer from the bottom up. If you are a visual person like myself, this will keep you motivated.
9) Find like-minded people to keep you motivated. Find people that are going through a debt repayment journey. They are more likely to relate to your situation without being critical. They can also encourage you and keep you motivated.
10) Tell people close to you about your goal. At first we tried not to mention our debt repayment goal to our friends and family. But when friends wanted to go out for dinner, family wanted us to travel with them and activities started coming up that were not in our budget, it became hard to keep it a secret, so we didn’t. This actually worked out well because it helped us remain committed to our goal as others were now aware of it and curious to see if we would achieve it.