In June of 2018 I ran across some Dave Ramsey videos online and immediately decided to go to the library and borrow his book. At the time, I had just under $11,000 in consumer debt and was full time stay at home mom to 3 with lots of side hustles. Fast forward to today I’ve paid off over $20k. (Last November I committed myself to a $16.5K Car Loan) I have just under $6k left on my car loan, over $20k in savings and have started investing in the past 6 months. I am a little off track from the baby steps but am grateful that Dave Ramsey helped start me on the journey.
Prior to my car loan, my debt consisted of 2 Credits cards, a PayPal credit account (bill me later) and 6 collections accounts from when we were pregnant with our youngest with no full time income. Lastly, I had an unpaid medical bill.
Tips to Help You Save More
- Find out exactly how much debt you have. You cannot start to create a plan if you don’t know where you currently stand. The best way you can do this is by opening bills that you’ve been avoiding and getting your free annual credit report.
- Track your current spending for about 10 days and find ways to cut expenses. This was a hard step for me because I already had cut so much out of my family’s budget before that I felt like we were spending the bare minimum. For example, we hadn’t had cable for years, we ate at home all but 2 times a month and I was doing a lot of DIY-ing to cut cost but I still found some places to save money. For example, I learned to start meal planning to cut down on food waste and trips to the store. Anyone that has kids knows the more times you go to the store, the more chances you have for unexpected costs.
- Use coupons and cash back apps. Paper coupons are hard to come by unless you buy the paper but a lot of stores have coupons within their apps. This goes hand in hand with meal planning because you want to shop the ads to see what is on sale to plan more cost effective meals for your family. Some of my favorite apps are Ibotta, fetch and ebates. If you aren’t already signed up for these, I would appreciate if you use my sign up link in the description box below! Thank you kindly.
- Set an intention for every penny that is coming to you. Meaning plan out where all your money is going before you even receive your paycheck. ( pop up the definition of a zero based budget) The best way to do that is to figure out how much income you typically have coming in every week, 2 weeks or month and plan out where it needs to go. List priorities first like food, shelter, utilities, basic clothes and transportation. After the basics are taken care, then you start working your plan with whatever money you have left in your budget.
- Follow other baby steppers- once you find a tribe of people (that you don’t even have to know personally) it helps keep you motivated on your journey. Be sure to click the link below to check out all my favorite baby steppers and get access to my free PDF with 21 ways I cut spending to save money and become debt free.
- Meal Planning and shop sales ads. When things are on sale that you typically use, stock up enough so that it lasts until they are on sale again.
- Get an accountability partner
- Cash Envelopes or separate accounts
- Reduce the amount of shopping trips
- Get a water filter and reusable water bottles/cups/mugs
If you are behind on your bills, that means getting current. If you are current your bills, you want to start to save up at least a $1000 savings account. If you are seeing that there isn’t enough excess in your budget or that you are in the red, you need to find ways to increase your income.