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Getting debt free & staying debt free is hard work. It takes discipline, self sacrifice and often a lot of out of the box thinking.
Over the past 3 weeks I have shared our families debt free journey
- Why I Rarely Talk About Our Families Debt Free Journey
- Debt Free Journey Part 2: How We Got Back Into Debt & Then Out Again For Good
- What The Debt Free Life Really Looks Like For Our Family
Today I want to share with you the tools we used to get out of debt and to stay out of debt for good.
10 Tools For Your Debt Free Journey
1. Help to make a budget & a plan
To do any of the steps below you first must have the knowledge of what it takes to get out of debt and how to set up a budget that works.
Here are 2 great books to help you create a budget & a plan
2. A Budget
Unless you have a plan of how to spend every dollar earned your chances of living below your means so you can pay off debt are very slim. After you debt is paid you will still need a budget to help you stay out of debt and reach further financial goals.
Here are some helpful free resources for budgeting
- 6 Reasons Why Using A Budget is Smart
- Free budgeting resources
- Free printable budget forms
- A good example of what a financial notebook looks like (we have something similar I plan to share soon)
Budgeting is going to go a lot smoother when you have an idea of what you are aiming for. I know some of you are thinking “I am aiming to get and stay debt free” but that is too broad a goal. Instead break down what getting to debt free and staying debt free will take into small actionable steps. For instance that goal could state “3 months from now we plan to have paid off…..in debt which works out to a monthly goal of…… and a weekly goal of…..”.
4. Cash Envelopes
I will discuss cash envelopes in further detail next week (update: post in now live) but for now all I will say is that when our family uses cash to pay for eating out, date night, and other sorts of activities we always spend less than budgeted. When get busy and decide to skip the trip to the bank to get out the cash and use our debit cards instead we always go over budget.
A great article on the pros of cash envelopes & a few resources for making or buying your own
- 6 Reasons People Argue Against Using Cash Envelopes & Why I don’t Buy Them
- An Etsy Store that sells some amazing cash envelope systems
- My cash envelopes made from a $1 T.J.Maxx bag
Through the internet and the library you can find out how to save on just about every area of your spending.
- 101 Blogs Thrifty People Read
- 10 Books That Will Make You A Thrifty Ninja
- 10 Thrifty Themed Pinterest Boards To Follow
- My money saving tips resource page
(if you want to purchase some of the books listed for your home library make sure to check out Thrifty Bookworms & Swagbucks The Perfect Romance to find out my favorite ways to save money on books)
Sometimes there is just that one last bill to pay that the paycheck, even with over time, can’t cover. Other times you really want to have date night, but there just isn’t enough wiggle room in the budget. Or perhaps you just want one cup of fancy coffee a month, or a week, to help you feel special during the whole “paying off debt not seeing the inside of a restaurant” stage.
If so here a few ways my family has made money from home to cover those types of expenses
- Reselling tips to help you sell your no longer needed items for more cash
- 18+ point programs that can help you earn $50 or more each and every month
- 10 Work At Home Jobs With Little To No Start Up Fees
- 17 Sites To Help You Make Money At Home
Paying to do things gets expensive. Yes doing things yourself does take time, but it can be fun, rewarding and a great way to save a substantial amount of money.
Our family renovated 3 homes together and saved a lot of money on the renovations by doing the repairs ourselves.
Need a bit of DIY instruction? Try out a few of Craftsy’s free mini video courses. Craftsy also came out with a line of free downloadable PDF courses (scroll to bottom of linked post for full list) that include step by step colorful photo instruction for things like photography, sewing, woodworking and more.
Our family gets our wisdom from the bible: Here are 10 bible verses about money that have helped us become and stay debt free as well as shape our view of money.
Life can get really boring fast if all you do is stay home and read books from the library because that is the only free activity you can think of. (yep a bookworm just said that)
Here are a few resources to help you expand your horizons and find frugal sources of entertainment
- 10 Summer Dates That Cost Zero
- 20 Thrifty Ways To Spend Quality Time With Your Child
- $10 Dollar Great Dates (A book I read recently and gathered a few new thrifty date ideas from)
If you click over to 250 Ways Thrifty People Save Money and scroll down to the bottom you will find 10 key things our family does to saves money on just about anything. I would call this our ultimate savings toolbox, and of course all of the 10 tools are free.
What would you add to my list?
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