I first met my lovely wife in 2013. Like most couples, it took a little while for us to start talking about finances. When we had that first talk, I quickly learned that she had credit card debt and student loans. In other words, she was pretty normal when compared to almost everyone else in this department. I remember when things really began to get serious. We were watching a movie one night and I nonchalantly mentioned that she should cut up her credit cards and start using cash for purchases. I believe her first reaction was something like, “No way that’s crazy! I wouldn’t be able to do that!” Looking back, I may not have been the most persuasive person in that moment. I was telling her WHAT she should do, rather than discussing the WHY behind doing these crazy financial things that were so new to her.
Well it just so happens that she must have trusted me a lot at that point despite me being so direct. She decided to cut up all of her credit cards that very night after we talked a little more about it. Now when I say she cut up all of her credit cards, I really mean she cut all of them except for one which she HID AWAY for emergencies only! To me, this meant she wasn’t completely on board yet. But I thought, “Hey, it’s a good start at least.” It was probably a day or two later when we sat down and developed her first monthly budget which included first saving a starter emergency fund of $1,000. The next step was to start paying off her credit cards starting with the smallest balance (not lowest interest rate). While this strategy strictly goes against the math nerd side of most people (me included), it sparks hope by allowing for small victories along the way which is vital to continuing one’s debt-free journey. When the smallest debt is paid off, use all of the extra money you were paying towards it and attack the next smallest debt.
Pretty soon she started to gain momentum and was methodically eliminating all of her credit card debts one by one, all the while she was also using cash for everything. After her first few credit cards were completely paid off, she realized she didn’t need that hidden credit card anymore. She was successfully living on a monthly written budget and had an emergency fund (albeit a small one) that could function the same way her credit card would if an unexpected expense came up. I still remember the night when she called me and said she was going to cut up that hidden credit card. That was the moment I knew she was a keeper! I joke about that, but there is some truth to it. This was, however, the moment I realized I had a passion for helping people with their money.
Fast forward a few years and we’ve since gotten married (cash-flowed our wedding, of course), paid off all of her student loans, and are saving for our first home. I decided to start a blog and consulting business related to helping people with all aspects of their finances. There is a lot more great information to come so make sure to subscribe and join me on this adventure!
Where are you in your debt-free journey?