Hey everyone! Today I've got a great post for you from my friend Claudia over at TwoCupHouse.com. Claudia was one of the FIRST personal finance bloggers I met when I started M$M, and she is sharing how blogs like this one are helping her and her husband Garrett become debt free! Enjoy. ~M$M
After several years of having a mortgage, I’m happy to report that we are mortgage free! Woot!
And we have under $25,000 in student loan debt to go until we are 100% debt free!
Having created our blog nearly two years ago at the start of our first real attempt at fixing our personal finances, we’ve made quick work of our debt. You could say we’re killing it as millennials when just two years ago, we let lifestyle inflation get the best of us.
Before 2015, we spent more money than we made. We had a mortgage, car payments, credit card debt, and student loan debt.
But that's normal, right? Everyone we know has debt, so it's totally cool…
Thankfully, we had an epiphany (or three).
We want to travel, particularly to national parks we haven’t yet visited.
We’re concerned that Garrett’s chronic health conditions will worsen and necessitate major lifestyle changes.
And then the realization that we're not going out of this life alive, which became more meaningful for us after my dad passed away last year unexpectedly at the age of 58.
So we decided to create the life we really want. We had to stop living the consumer-filled fantasy of a “nice” house with a couple of “nice” cars in the “nice” garage.
We decided to get rid of our stuff and get out of debt.
Using Google to search random money-related queries, I stumbled across blogs, podcasts, and even YouTube videos about this thing called “personal finance.” All of this information is out there for free to help others manage their money and get out of debt.
Real people sharing real stories about real struggles with debt.
Who knew this was a thing?! I had no idea, but it’s exactly the kind of stuff we needed.
First, we stumbled across the Debt Free Guys who their experiences, tips, and tricks for crushing credit card debt. What they share about changing the mindset toward debt empowered me to change my perspective–revolving credit card balances aren’t OK anymore.
Then, we connected with Bobby here at Millennial Money Man who shared his experience living frugally to eliminate his student loan debt and change his career. His articulation of the millennial experience is exactly what we experienced (and what we’re trying to combat).
Cait Flanders’ explanation of minimalism, about the focus on what matters most and the elimination of what is unnecessary, propelled us to consider our stuff and whether or not the stuff we had would get us where we wanted to go.
J. Money at Budgets are Sexy made discussions of financial freedom accessible to us. His blog made it sound as if though financial freedom would help us create the life we want.
Podcasts like the His & Her Money Show and Radical Personal Finance not only gave us tips for how to do things like set up a budget, track our spending, and create a plan for the future, but they also provided inspiration to keep pushing forward.
Because of our willingness to put ourselves out there via our blog, we started forming relationships with amazing personal finance bloggers. People who paid off all their debt. People who achieved financial independence. People who donate their time and their money to charity. People who travel the world. We became friends with the people we wanted to become and they continue to help push us in the direction of our dreams.
In the last two years, we’ve learned a lot about personal finance and made a lot of changes to create the life we had only ever imagined.
- We sold our 1,500 sq ft house.
- We bought one small house 500 sq ft house and then paid off the mortgage for this house.
- We paid off a LOT of debt, including credit card debt and several student loans.
- We went all frugal on everything to cut our expenses.
- We also increased our income with one lucrative side hustle in digital marketing.
But the best part of all? The relationships we’ve formed along the way. The journey to debt freedom is long (and the journey to financial freedom even longer), but making friends with others on the same path makes the journey a LOT more fun!
If you’re thinking about making some changes with your money, it’s imperative that you get involved in the personal finance community! Getting involved in 2015 is what has made all the difference for us.
Way before we started our blog, we tried to get out of debt. But we didn’t track our spending. And we didn’t know what we owed. And we didn’t have a budget. And worst of all, we didn’t invest in all of the knowledge and support the personal finance community has to offer.
The consequence? We ended up with even more debt.
Even if you’re anonymous, that’s OK! You’re more likely to stick to your plan when you’re engaged in a community of like-minded individuals than if you’re trying to do it alone.
Share your story. Comment on blogs. Email bloggers. Sign up for forums. Subscribe to email lists. We want to cheer you on along your journey!