How to Be Debt-Free in 2013

debt free in 2013

By Stacy Myers, Contributing Writer

Some of you clicked on this post out of sheer curiosity…you want to see what this kook has to say. After all, it’s not something you really believe. You don’t REALLY think it’s possible to live free from the bondage of debt.

Some of you clicked on this post because your heart’s desire is to live debt free – but you’re not there…you want to know how to get there and you need encouragement. You need to hear from someone who is on the other side – someone who is FREE.

And then some of you clicked on this post because you already live debt free. You know what a blessing it is, and so you’ve come here to commune with a like-minded kook. Welcome, all debt-free kooks!

Today I want to tell you that it really is possible to live debt free. It IS possible to not have a car payment. It IS possible to own your home. It IS possible to rent a car without a credit card. It IS possible to use your credit card at Chick-Fil-A, but why should you when you can pay cash. It IS possible to go three days straight and only eat chocolate. Oh, wait. Nevermind. *Cough*

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Our debt free visit with Dave Ramsey

First, a little bit about me – I want you to know that I do know a bit about this topic…unlike some people who write about things but they’ve never lived it: like men who write books about pregnancy and birth – what is THAT about?

When my husband and I got married, we knew we wanted to live debt free. We worked hard at paying off our car (our last car payment!) and then we purchased a townhouse – which we knew we could pay off quickly. We were debt free, including our home, before I was 30 years old. We never looked back.

We were able to purchase a home with cash, which is mostly unheard of. We drive two paid-for cars – not the prettiest things ever, but they function – and when you OWN them, they look a lot nicer. ;-)

We even made our own funny music video about being debt-free!  And guess what? You can be debt-free, too! It’s TRUE! Here’s how to break free from the bondage of debt:

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Our inscription on the wall at Financial Peace Plaza

1. Decide to be debt-free.

It’s hard to get anywhere if you don’t have the mindset that you CAN be debt free. Believe it. Pray it. Then, start living it.

2. Make a budget and stick with it.

It’s hard to be debt free without a budget. You don’t know where your money is going and you can’t tell it where to go…it just ends up at JC Penney or Amazon. If you need help setting up your budget, check out the forms in my husband’s free eBook on how to set up a budget.

3. Attack your debt with a vengeance.

Use the debt snowballStart paying off your smallest bill and then work up. It’s nice to see the smaller ones disappear. It gives you motivation.

4. Cut expenses and get extra work.

This is the hardest one for most people. They don’t want to cut out things…they hold tight onto what they HAVE. But folks, you can’t take it with you. If you love something, set it free. Ha! One day you can afford it again. Bye-bye, cable television and eating out three days a week.

Extra work is easy to pick up! Baby sit, clean houses, bake for people, set up an Etsy shop, or help with someone’s hit-list. TOTALLY KIDDING on that last one!

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Celebrating our debt-free freedom

5. Make a phone call.

When you have the money ready to pay off a bill, call and ask if you can have a discount – for real, dawg. A lot of the time, they’ll knock off interest or other various fees. When we got the bill from the hospital for both of our children, when we called to pay it, they gave us 20% off because we paid cash.

6. Stay encouraged.

It’s easy to get discouraged if you have a lot of debt to pay off. It can feel like you’ll NEVER be done. When you need encouragement, just stop and look back and where you WERE. You’re not there anymore. You’re breaking free.

I’ve seen it many times, that when someone gets FOCUSED to pay off debt, the Lord blesses their efforts: they get a raise, find extra work, etc. Often you’ll find that you pay off your debt quicker. You CAN pay your debt off in 2013 or at least get a really good start at it…you CAN.

7. When you’re debt-free, bless others.

This is what the Word calls us to do. We have been given blessings, so that we can give it to those in need. And THAT is why Barry and I live debt free.

You can, too – we’ll be there waiting for you…on the other side. :-)

“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”  I Timothy 6:17-19

Stephanie’s note: Stacy’s just being bashful, but her husband Barry is a financial counselor and he has fantastic book called From Debtor to Better, which will show you step by step how to start your own journey of getting out of debt as quickly as possible, just like Barry and Stacy did! For what it’s worth, my husband and I also followed steps just like these ones to get out of $30,000 of debt in the early years of marriage. If we could do this, you can, too!

What is your advice on becoming debt-free in 2013?

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links.

About Stacy Myers

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and a stay-at-home mom to her two children, Annie (3) and Andy (newborn). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with her daily antics.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for the entertaining encouragement! Our goal is to be debt free by this Christmas, God willing! As of right now, we are on track! :) http://shadesofmay.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/our-new-money-goal/

    CONGRATS on becoming debt freeeeeeee! :)

  2. Is definitely IS possible to live debt-free! Thank you for sharing :-) When we got married 7 years ago we bought a house, paid half down in cash and had the other half paid off before the year was up. We have not had a debt of any kind since! We have a growing family of 6 (going on 7) and only one-income supporting us and it’s totally doable. It’s the most wonderful way to live :-)

  3. Stacy, Thanks for sharing your journey and thoughts about living debt free. My family has been working for almost 3 1/2 years on our debt free journey and have paid off over $100k so far! We “only” have $15k left to go but do sometimes start to feel like we’ll never get there. I love reading posts about people who’ve made it through to the other side, it’s helps me keep going one more month. I know that the end result of being debt free will be worth it thanks to folks like you sharing their stories.

  4. First off let me start by saying that I really enjoyed reading your post. LOL the chocolate comment was too funny. I love your bubbly personally and fun sense of humor.

    Now to respond to the topic. I have always lived my life by the motto if you can’t pay cash for it then you don’t need it. Don’t know why I am that way because it was not the way I was raised. I am very frugal and a lot of people confuse me with being cheap. The way I live is off the bare minimums of life. The only expense I splurge on is my Internet service, I call it my second brain. Plus I have the luxury of working from home so the Internet is needed. I am saving a lot of gas money. So that balance things out, Internet versus gas. Other than that I just have the basic utilities. No cable or cell phone bill.

    Being a single parent I don’t think I have done too bad. I paid off my only credit card 6 years ago and the only reason I used a credit card was because the engine went out in the vehicle I had so I had to purchase another one. The car was under $10K so it was a financing issue. Can’t remember all the details, just remember using my credit card. LOL a lot of people were amazed that I had that kind of balance on a card. Anyway, I paid that puppy off quick because I HATE credit cards with a passion.

    I bought my first house when I was 19 and sold it when I was 26. With the money I made from the sell I paid cash for a nicer vehicle and I moved into an apartment until I decided where I wanted to live. Finally after two years of apartment living I got tired of giving my money away so I started looking for a home. Found a 9 year old home in a Short Sale situation for only $105,000. That was really cheap compared to some of the mold infested homes I looked at and they wanted more money. But at the same time for a single mom it was not the cheapest. My first house was a nice little starter home and I got it for only $42,000. The house was in really good shape, don’t know why it was so cheap but I took it. Maybe because it was only 800 sq ft.

    Anyway, now that I have been in my current home for almost 4 years I have decided to get this house paid off ASAP. I am to the point in life where I am tired of being bound to a job. I am tired of hearing how people are getting fired or living pay check to pay check. I don’t want those worries anymore. I want to be free to do whatever I want. Right now I feel like I am a slave to my job :-(. I have always used my Tax Refund and applied it to the principal of my mortgage but now I have started getting really aggressive with this deal. Not only am I doing the Tax Refund thing, I am also doubling up on the mortgage. If I keep this up, then I should have my house paid for in the next 6 years or less. I would totally have my mortgage paid off after only 10 years. That would be a total victory for me. I can’t wait until that day. My daughter keeps telling me that 6 years is a long time but I have to remind her that 6 years sure beats the 26 years I am suppose to pay off my mortgage. I really Envy married couples who have two incomes. If they are not working together to pay debts off quickly, then they are missing out on their true blessing. FREEDOM!!

    The End :-)

    • Wow, Pam! You’re kickin’ it girl! LOVE the story! Thanks so much for sharing it here as a testimony to the fact that living debt free is possible! You PAY OFF that house! WAHOO!!!

      • YIKES!! Can’t believe I wrote all that and I didn’t even say CONGRATULATIONS on being debt-free. Guess I think that everyone can read my mind lol. I am really excited for you and your family. Can’t wait until I am there. My daughter laughs at me because every once in a while I go around the house singing your Debt-free and I Know It song. I like the way that sounds!

  5. I really enjoyed reading this article. So many people are trying to become debt free. So many people are trying to just have the income to pay their normal day to day bills. I too was living check to check and decided that I needed to make more in order to pay off my debt. I then decided to start my own work from home travel business. I still have a full time job. I just take the money made from my business to pay off debt. It works out great and I am also able to take advantage of tax breaks with my home based business. It is a win win situation. Thanks for providing hope to those who may not think it is possible!

  6. Thanks for sharing. We’ll be debt free including our mortgage on August 23, 2013. It’s not an easy road but the feeling is great to see those numbers go down each pay day.

  7. We’ve been doing our debt snowball for several years and are on track to be debt-free (except the mortgage) this July. I can’t wait! Whenever I feel discouraged, I look at the numbers we started with or listen to Dave’s podcast and hear how others have achieved. It’s so inspiring!

  8. Hey Stacy! Just wanted to let you know that I bought your husband’s book yesterday and finished it today!! I’m so glad that I did! I’m very motivated and exctied to start on the path to being debt free. Thanks for posting this blog, and for mentioning your husbands book! Take care!
    Stacey

  9. Great tips. My husband and I are serious about paying off debt as well.
    Curious… how much are house prices where you live? Houses in Vancouver cost an obscene amount of money so we choose to live in the burbs where you can get a fixer upper for a mere 600K. Imagine interest payments alone on a 550K loan and repairing your leaky roof.

  10. I found Dave Ramsey a couple of years ago. His Financial Peace program saved our family finances and taught all of us about what is really important in life. Stuff just wasn’t needed to make us happy. Really, really enjoy your blog and posts on Facebook. If you ever have a need for herbal info such as growing and using of my favorite plants, please let me know. Thanks.