Here are four very specific things that were essential to our financial journey. These items are free or can be obtained for free. Note that there are affiliate links that keep the blog running.
This FREE website tool is what helped my husband and I realize that every extra payment makes a difference fast. The site calculates your debt payoff date, and anytime that you enter in an additional payment, it changes the date. It was SO motivating to see our date come closer with every additional payment. We also loved seeing how much of our debt we paid off (see in picture). Our debt free story is very unconventional & complicated, but Undebtit helped us pay off $56,000 of our debt in 14 months.
Yes, really. Creating a separate instagram account to follow money related accounts was super motivating and helpful. Of course, documenting my own jourey was also good because it helped with accountability. Back when we started, there were only a handful of people openly talking about their financial journeys. Now, the “debt free community” is huge.
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The book that started it all for us. Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover was gifted to us by my sweet aunt and uncle. It sat on our shelf untouched until we realized how bad our student loan situation really was. The rest is history. I do think it’s important to note that I do not agree 100% with Dave’s book, but that it is a GREAT overall starting point for people. You can purchase OR borrow from a library.
a bill calendar
Whether you prefer paper or electronic, having a dedicated calendar for our bills/payments/income was essential. I did both, but preferred using Google Calendar. I had every single bill and payday marked so we knew exactly when money would go into or out of our bank account.