PAYING OFF DEBT ON A MODEST INCOME
Bad debt is sacrifing your future day needs for your present day desires. – Suze Orman
We finally did it!
Back in 2012, The Mister was laid off from his job. To say we weren’t expecting it is an understatement as it happened the day we got back from our two-week summer vacation. A vacation that we didn’t necessarily save for, but expected to pay off as we went.
It’s not that we were wild and crazy with money. We did live frugally on our modest income but wanted a vacation with our boys. Not a Bahamas vacation. We didn’t fly, we drove. We sought good deals and lot’s of free things, but it cost money none-the-less.
Unemployment lasted a good long year.
I tried to work more hours, but it wasn’t enough.
The credit card became the solution to bridging the gap to what was coming in and our expenses.
We didn’t know how long unemployment would last and we were trying to do the best with what we knew at the time.
A year later, The Mister got a brand new job, in our current state of Oregon, which meant a move from our home in Arizona.
Unfortunately, small debt + vacation debt + unemployed debt + moving expenses debt = approx $15k!!!
Both of us wanted to get out of debt, as it wasn’t where we typically found ourselves -even on a low income, so it was time to roll up the sleeves and get busy.
If you came here for a breezy get out of debt in a year living on little to no income, this is not it. We are probably a more typical and relatable story than that. At least from those we know. Like, we aren’t growing all our food, selling everything we own and forgoing toilet paper for family cloths.
This is a story of patience and paying off that debt in five years.
Why so long?
Well, we have had a family situation that has really needed our attention for the last two years (and longer really). You can read a little of that story here.
The debt we have is down to a fairly low parent-student loan that was taken on during this time, and have been simultaneously paying on, and our home.
No car debt/no credit card debt and we are saving for events before they happen. We aren’t 100% there, but we are working toward it each day.
There are a million tips and tricks across the internet, and it was a challenge to decide to write this or not. I felt it was important to see an average person’s story. A family on a lower modest income that found themselves in debt and maybe just needs a little boost to get back on track.
Here are a few tips, and encouragement, to paying off the debt:
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- All parties committed. It can be done by just one person, especially the person who manages the finances, but it helps to have everyone on board.
- Mantra – Get something in your head that can remind yourself when you are tempted to purchase something. The Bible verse was particularly helpful for me.
- No matter how long it takes you, it will mean SACRIFICE. We bought a fixer-upper home and it needs new windows. Instead of purchasing them all at once, we are doing the work ourselves and buying one when we have the money (it’s gonna be a while). We also have a PVC pipe that holds on the water head in the awful shower. It pops off all the time and gushes water everywhere. It’s just something we have to deal with until we can repair that area. We rarely eat out and it’s mostly with coupons. Vacation, I don’t think so! These are just a few examples of the realities of paying off debt on a limited income.
- Become a salvage sister or mister: Most of what do, make the best with what we have, is due to living on a lower income and also this debt story. Yes, we like to reduce waste, but this is also very much what we’ve needed to do in our situation. Like, did you read about our tips for selling on Facebook Marketplace?
- I have worked in the financial field so I had knowledge of things to do. If you don’t feel like you have an idea on money management, this is a GREAT RESOURCE.
If you are coming here today, we want you to leave with HOPE. It may not be easy, most good things aren’t, but it will be worth it. Debt obviously doesn’t feel good. It removes options and you can feel a slave to it.
To be ENCOURAGED that you can do it! Grab a good resource, if you need it, and start!
Finally, a STEP CLOSER to being free from the chains of debt.
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Great job! We just have our house to pay off. We have credit cards, but the balance is paid each month and we don’t purchase anything that can’t be paid when the bill comes or that we don’t have cash on hand for (our cards give us airline miles and cash rewards). Working hard to get house paid off and finished. :/