Soul

Confronting The Debt Giant – Part One

This is the post I’ve been meaning to start for awhile now. I think I knew once I did I’d have an obligation on my hands, which is why I’ve been putting it off. But now is the time folks! We need to discuss how to confront the debt giant.

Confronting The Debt Giant: Part One  - Abbyflynn.com
I’ve previously talked about my credit card debt here on the blog. Basically, I have a large, obnoxious chunk of debt from my past, and want nothing to do with it in my future.

But for my husband and I, not only do we have my credit card debt – We also have loan debt. Like, loads of it. And it feels like a load on us most days. I like to think of us as David and our mound of debt as Goliath – not impossible, but it’s gonna take some faith and planning to conquer him.

So how did we end up here?

Basically two people met and fell in love that both attended extremely expensive private universities – solely on federal and private loans. Then those two people got married and blended their finances. Walaa! The perfect recipe for disaster.
(Except not complete disaster. We DO have a great marriage, good jobs, and a fairly comfortable lifestyle.)

Anyway 6 months ago we bought a house, and now we’ve decided we HAVE to come up with a better system of paying our bills, and paying down our debt. And we’ve got to do it fast.

When you ARE deep in the pit, there is something very real and scary about laying it all out on paper. It’s easy to get in the habit of just paying $60/month each towards a bunch of random things, so you never have to freak out from seeing the full picture.

But as I’m finally learning 6 years out of college – You will never make progress by ignoring your problem.

You will never make progress by ignoring your problem.  - Abbyflynn.com
As a couple we’re working now on finding a rhythm and tracking system as we start on this journey towards becoming debt free. (And Lord willing it will happen way before we’re 50!)

My goal is to make these posts into a short series, maybe once a month or so. I’ll show you what we’re doing, what’s working and what’s not. And regardless of your financial status, I’ll hopefully introduce some new FREE tools to you that can be helpful for us all.

These posts can also just be encouragement to you all to NEVER EVER, EVER GET INTO DEBT.
Let’s get crackin’.

STEP ONE: KNOW THY BUDGET

I’ll be honest. Pretty much every budget sheet I’ve ever found SUCKS. Most are helpful in theory but not practical for real, nitty gritty life. Cole and I finally found this budget sheet that has really helped us get a better idea of what we’re spending each month. We sit down together at the start of each month, write in everything we have coming up, and are now paying all our bills immediately on payday. That way we quickly know each month what we have left for play. Now it’s your turn!

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Make a list of all your bills & payments in order of due date
  2. DOWNLOAD THE BUDGET WORKSHEET HERE 
  3. Save the worksheet as your own Google Doc, and get started!
  4. Let me know what you think.

Are you guys in? It’s time for me to confront the giant, and maybe some of you as well!
What tools do you use to keep track of your monthly budget? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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9 Comments

  • Reply Taylor Yates

    Abby this is awesome! I’m currently in college but have quite a bit in student loans and will be marrying a law school student, so budgeting is going to become huge for us. When we get to the point of combining our finances and budgeting I’ll be coming back to this post!

    acupoftay.com

    May 11, 2015 at 2:23 pm
    • Reply abbycarmelle@icloud.com

      Thank you Taylor! Glad you liked it 😉 You guys can do it!! At least you will have your educations to take you into your future careers. I really think if you set good habits early on together it doesn’t have to be a big thing. Good luck as you get started!

      May 12, 2015 at 4:00 pm
  • Reply Laura Stevens

    My student loan debt is a monster of a mountain. I not only went to am expensive private school, but also went to grad school. It was the single thing that caused my boyfriend, now husband, to take pause when thinking of a future with me. He had worked so hard to have as little as debt as possible when he graduated, how could he even think of marrying a girl like me with a giant mountain of debt? I told him one night that, for me, helping people, even one, was way more important to me than student loan debt. Even if I never pay it off, if I can just help one girl or one family heal and become whole again, it would be totally worth it. It still bothers him when we do our budget each month, but he just told me yesterday that it doesn’t bother him as much anymore, because he can see that it is getting paid off each month. 🙂
    p.s. we use Dave Ramsey’s new budget tool at http://www.everydollar.com. It’s free online and for the iPhone as a fancy app. It has been a huge help is seeing what percentage of our income is going toward different things, like our debts 🙂

    May 11, 2015 at 4:01 pm
    • Reply abbycarmelle@icloud.com

      Laura, Thanks so much for sharing! I totally feel you, and it’s awesome to hear how other couples are working it out and going through it. You’re totally right, being able to see progress towards the goal is the best light at the end of the tunnel. And your education is something you’ll always have with you, unlike everything else people purchase that brings debt along.
      I hadn’t tried Every Dollar yet! But you better believe I just clicked your link right now. I am forever up for trying something else out.

      May 12, 2015 at 3:58 pm
  • Reply Vicky

    Great post, Abby!! Those credit cards are demons, aren’t they? I racked up quite a bit of debt in those first few years after college too (hey…it’s EXPENSIVE to get started on life…new place to live, new clothes for the job, etc.). When I finally stopped ignoring it, just like you said, it was a tough and scary pill to swallow. It took me years, but I eventually paid it all off and I vow to never get back into credit card debt! Good for you guys on facing the demon and working together towards tackling it (and I had student loans, but probably nowhere near what you guys have! But, I always think of student loans sort of like mortgages…it’s good debt because education is so important…credit cards on the other hand…lol). Looking forward to your updates! 🙂

    May 12, 2015 at 6:46 am
    • Reply abbycarmelle@icloud.com

      Thank you so much Vicky. YESSS credit cards are horrible! But they’re advertised like they are the key to a great life. And you are right, I always try to tell myself educational loans are okay since we got an education out of them. 🙂 Not as bad as credit, but still not good. Congratulations to you on getting all of yours paid off! Really can’t wait to be in that place.

      May 12, 2015 at 3:45 pm
  • Reply Jess

    This is SO helpful! I’m one of the extremely lucky people in this world that managed to graduate college with no debt on my shoulders. I’m free as a bird financially speaking, but my boyfriend on the other hand isn’t. We are going to need to work on budgeting in the future to make sure we can have the lifestyle we want!

    May 19, 2015 at 2:59 pm
    • Reply abbycarmelle@icloud.com

      Jess that is awesome that you were able to avoid it! Even if your boyfriend has debt, 1 load is much better than two! Yes budgeting is so huge, as well as adjusting often as your financial situations change. Good luck! And apparently there’s tons of other great budgeting apps I haven’t tried yet, so I’ll keep everybody posted on those. 😉

      May 19, 2015 at 7:40 pm
  • Reply Jaina

    I’m rather lucky to not have any debt at the moment – paid off my university loans last year and it felt great. Getting a budget together is key! Me and my OH recently started using You Need a Budget (http://www.youneedabudget.com/) – it’s a great app to log what you’re spending on and where, have a budget and stick to it. It’s been invaluable to us when we combined our finances. Check it out – it’s not free, but there’s a free trial period.

    May 19, 2015 at 4:19 pm
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