How Newlyweds Paid Off $52,000 in Debt in 18 Months

Shedding debt involved a strict diet of spending cuts and finding creative ways to earn money.

Engaged couple
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[Read: Should You Save or Pay Off Debt?]

How does the blog fit into all of this? Did that serve as an accountability tool for you?

I started it during the process of getting out of debt, but towards the end. I had some success and some experience to be able to add value to people who are trying to get out of debt. It was definitely an accountability system as well because we have people out there now that know our goals, our ambitions, and we don't want to let them down. We didn't want to let ourselves down, but we didn't want to let other people down that we're trying to encourage and inspire to do the same.

Is there anything that you would have done differently?

I believe that all of the experiences that we have happen for a reason and that those experiences can make us better. Whether they are challenges or whether they are positive experiences, I don't think I would do anything differently in the sense that what we did got us where we are today. Now I am able to help other people get from where they are to where they want to be because of those challenging times that I went through.

What are your financial goals now?

Our financial goals are to be completely debt-free in the next five years. We paid off $52,000 in 18 months. That was consumer debt, so that consisted of car loans, credit cards, student loans, etc. We do have a mortgage still, so our goal is to be in our mid-thirties and be completely debt-free.

[See 50 Smart Money Moves.]

Do you have any tips for readers on getting and staying out of debt?

The first thing I would do is stop borrowing money. I think that's what gets people into these situations. The second thing is to create a financial game plan. I have a form on my website people can use to be able to do what we did and put all their finances in one place.

[People also should] sell what they don't need. I can't tell you how much stuff we sold on Craigslist, eBay, and Amazon. There's a bunch of stuff in your cabinets—in your closets—that you can just sell that will give you cash to really give you some momentum. And lastly, be "all in." I think there's people that have one foot in the 'I want to get out of debt" boat and the other foot in the "I want to buy whatever I want" boat. You've just got to get into the "hey, I want to get out of debt" boat and start sailing.