This week's debt free interview is from Jeff of the Debt-free squad blog and vlog. He and is wife paid off more than six-figures worth of debt in a relatively short period of time.
1. How did you get into debt? Robin and I were spending $1.22 for every dollar we made and slowly but surely we added an average of $5,000 of debt a year over a 30 year period. I was a school teacher and my wife worked part-time and we always seemed to run out of month at the end of the money. We had two kids and we wanted to keep up with the Joneses. (Later we found out they were broke too) We had a smorgasbord of debt. (car payments, credit cards, Heloc, loan from our retirement account, appliances 90 days same as cash, etc.) We never really had an emergency fund because we felt that was what credit cards and home equity lines of credit were for. When an emergency came up like tires for the car, Christmas or Vacations we used credit. (None of those are emergencies) We were brainwashed with the commercial telling us to relax we have MasterCard. I had an addiction for car lots and the smell of leather as in our 1st 25 years of marriage we had 37 cars. At one point we had 4 car payments and were paying insurance on all cars. We wanted our kids to have the best. I liken this to my weight – I only put on ONE lb. per year since high school but I had been out of high school 40 years.. It sometimes sneaks up on you.
5. What advice would you give to someone trying to become debt free? I would have them visit the Debt Free Squad Website and start our Free 40-Week Video Series on Becoming Debt Free, God’s way. We also do one on one coaching and have a 60-Day Budget Boot Camp. They will actually feel like they gave themselves a raise. Our 1st step is to work on attitude and especially if they are married. They need to be on the same page with their finances. Our 2nd step is to get organized and to start with the home office so they can actually find the bills. Our 3rd step is to get that Emergency Fund in place and cut up the credit cards. Maybe they can put one on ice. We also have a 30-day Budget challenge which will help them set up a REAL Budget. A real budget actually gives you permission to spend money. Setting up what we call a Spend Every Penny Budget is our 4th step. I would also highly recommend they purchase Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and read it.
Thank you Jeff (and Robin by default) for sharing your debt free journey.