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I think you would agree with me if I say being in debt sucks. You lose the freedom to do anything that you want because you have to pay down your debt.
I know because I’ve been there. I have been in a situation where I have to search for ways on how to pay off $25K+ in credit card debt.
But how and why do we have so much debt?
Simply, because of bad money management.
We have decent incomes but we let our lifestyle grew with our income. We did not have a budget in place, we were overspending by a LOT and not saving enough.
And along with the expensive cost of fertility treatments, we were in the deep.
Yes, we learned the hard way.
It was not until we were hit with one of life’s amazing trials that we realized how bad our financial situation was.
I was having a difficult pregnancy back then and I had to stop working to improve our chances of having a successful pregnancy.
Since it was unplanned, we were also unprepared for the bills that came every month, which continued to come even after we lost our baby.
With a single income, we struggled to pay the mortgage, student loans, medical bills from round after round of infertility treatments and other bills.
Worst time of our lives.
Then it hit us. If we ever want to afford to have me as a stay at home mom once we have kids and not live paycheck to paycheck, then we have to do something.
Not next year, not next month…bu NOW.
We started looking at our finances closely and made a decision to start our journey to financial freedom. We were both on board.
I was inspired by Dave Ramsey’s principle and so was my husband. So we decided to follow his recommendations.
We funded our emergency fund to $1000 and started tackling our debts. In January 2019, we totaled all our credit card debts and it blew our mind off when we found out we owe over $25K.
Our total credit card debt was $35,702.75.
We vowed to pay it all off in 12 months. That is a lot to pay in just 12 months! But we are pretty determined. That is how mad we are of this debt.
In just under a year, 11 months to be exact, we were able to pay off over $35,000 of credit card debt!
How To Pay Off $25k+ In Credit Card Debt
Funded Our Emergency Fund
The most important step that we took on how to pay off $25k+ in credit card debt is funding our emergency fund. Before we started the credit card debt payoff journey, I set aside $1000 for our emergency fund.
The emergency fund will cover any expenses that are unexpected, necessary and urgent.
We had to use it recently because of some plumbing issues. And it felt good not having to use a credit card and add the amount to existing debt.
I used a credit card to pay for the service but paid it right away using our emergency fund. I did this in order not to miss out on cashback/miles.
Created Our Credit Card Debt Payoff Game Plan
We totaled our credit card debt then we calculated how much we have to pay each month. From there, we figured out how much extra cash we must come up with every two weeks then we wrote it down on our debt payoff planner.
We also printed it out so we can have a visual reminder of our goal. It gives us the motivation to stay on track. The numbers were pretty high but then
If you want an automated version, you can try this credit card consolidation app that makes it easy to stay on top of your credit cards.
Took Advantage of Balance Transfers
Between my husband and I, we have a lot of credit cards, however, we do not carry a balance on all of them. We use these credit cards for accumulating points and/or cashback, which helps us with our travels.
In order to start tackling our debt, we went through the balance-transfer-route. At that time, we had some good promotions such as 0% APR and 0 transfer fees.
So going through this route made more sense to us instead of the snowball method or debt consolidation.
However, since all of the promotions expire at around the same time, we still used the principle of the snowball method. We started paying down the one with the smallest balance first.
Updated Our Monthly Budget
We had to do update our budget because the credit card payments will be part of our monthly budget. We included all the credit cards and their minimum payments.
Then all of the extra and leftover money goes to the credit card with the smallest balance.
Tapped Into Our Savings
Most of our little savings, not including our 401ks, are either on CD or high-interest yield savings account and we chose to leave them alone. We took out whatever money we have in our regular savings and put it towards credit card debt payoff.
Stopped Extra Payments to Mortgage
If we had known about better money management back then, we would not have started paying extra on our mortgage until we paid off other debts first. I canceled the extra payment and put it towards credit card payments.
Stopped Automatic Transfers To Savings Account
We also canceled all automatic transfers to our savings account and added that amount towards our credit card debt payoff.
Downgraded Our Cable
My husband really loves sports and I have my own shows that I love as well so we decided to keep our cable. However, we wanted to decrease our cable bill so I called the cable company and ask for a better deal.
By just doing that, our cable cost went down by $80!
Sold Items That Are No Longer Needed
Every year during spring cleaning and winter holidays, we gather items that we no longer need and donate them. However, I came across a blog that talked about how they sell pre-owned items online.
I researched more about it and then started listing my items online. All the money from selling from goes
Made Meal Plans Around Grocery Flyers
I haven’t really paid any attention to grocery flyers before. They usually end up in the recycling bin right away.
However, after reading more about how to save on groceries, I realized these papers are like gold. Now I pay attention to their weekly deals.
I even learned how to stock up on items at the right time. Every week, I make meal plans based on what is on sale.
Stopped Dining Out
This is not totally true. We did not totally stop dining out. We still do but we reduced unnecessary dining out. Gone were the days of dining out every Friday.
We still go out with friends and we have date nights only on special days. And we stick to our dining-out budget. We have a very BIG goal to achieve but we also have to live a life.
Packed Our Lunch
I drive a lot with my job, and it is so easy to go through drive-throughs and get my lunch. It’s
However, prepping meals and packing our lunch significantly reduced our food expenses. Being able to eat healthy food was also a bonus.
Collected All Loose Change
Who does not have coins lying around? No one because we all do, in the drawers, purses, pockets and even by the laundry area.
We collected all of the coins we can find in the house. We even found some stash from our coats and jackets. Then I took all the coins and traded them into bills at our grocery store. Yay, another $$$ towards credit card payment.
Shopped Smarter Online
We do our shopping mostly online because of its convenience and also we are able to use coupons or earn cashback from it. I use Ebates for all our shopping needs.
I am able to get cashback from shopping through their site. What I love about Ebates is that they have a lot of stores that participate in the program.
Check out How I Got Paid $520+ from Ebates.
Utilized Money Saving Apps
I am on my phone a lot and I checked out apps that can make or save me money. Check out these apps that I use.
One of my favorites is Ibotta. It saves me a lot of money on my grocery bill. Last year alone, I was able to save over $1000.
Pet Grooming Salon Time-out
Getting my fur baby to his groomer means $60-70 out of our finances. We could actually use that money for credit card payments if we do our own grooming.
If I do not take him to the groomer, it does not mean I do not love him. It is actually better if I do his bath and other grooming requirements on my own because it means more bonding time for both of us.
Did My Own Manicure and Pedicure
Yes, I did my own nails. It was not perfect and it took some practice but I was able to do it. It gave me the flexibility to change colors when I wanted to. And the cost is the same as the tip I would give the manicurist.
Dyed My Own Hair
When I get my hair color done at the salon, it costs me so much. So, I decided to just do my own hair. I didn’t notice any difference, my gray roots were
However, with high-lighting, I have to have my hairdresser do that. That is way too advanced for me.
Applied for Side Jobs
When we started our debt payoff journey, I started applying for jobs on the sides. I actually picked up two side jobs. These made me put more hours working but put more money for credit card debt payoff.
My husband was able to pick up a side job but only on the weekends. He is busy at his current job so he was able to
Write about it
Some people would disagree with this but one of my favorite ways on how to pay off $25k+ in credit card debt is by writing about it. This is my way of staying accountable.
This is one of the main goals of this blog, to show people that if you put your mind into something, you can make it happen because you make yourself work for it.
Writing about your finances can be embarrassing but it will help to know that you are not alone. There are people out there too, who are in the same situation.
So by writing about it and sharing about the journey, I will stay accountable and achieve my goals. And then hope that I will be able to inspire and help someone out there do the same.
There you have it!
These are the things we did to pay off over $25k+ in credit card debt. It was not easy. It involved a lot of sacrifices but it was all worth it.