See How the Robertson Family Has Paid Off $21,714.56 in Debt!
Welcome to the “Mad Money” miniseries at Undo Your Debt! This is a 5 part miniseries showcasing exceptional debt payoffs!
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Here’s the Robertson family’s story so far about their amazing journey to becoming debt free:
How much debt did you start out with?
We started with 67,211.37.
How much in total have you paid off as of today?
As of today we have paid off 21,714.56 with another 6,000 expected by the end of the month thanks to amazing Christmas bonuses.
How many are in your family?
Our house consists of my husband Brent (28), myself (27), our daughter Faith and Melody who are 3 and 1 respectively along with 2 cats and 2 dogs, one of which is a brand new puppy!
What is your biggest motivation to pay off your debts?
Our biggest motivation to pay off our debts is to be able to quit some of our extra jobs. My husband works his regular job as a food service consultant and then a night job picking up trash in apartment complex and taking it to the dumpster (called Valet Waste). For his day job he leaves about 8AM and stays there until it’s time to go to his second job at 7PM. His second job goes from 8PM until 11PM or 1AM the following morning depending how much trash there is. We see him a few minutes in the morning, Friday nights, some Saturday, and Sunday day. The trash job is Sunday-Thursday nights and on Saturdays he works on his family ranch helping out or parting out vehicles. I run an in home daycare as well as answer phone calls after hours, weekends, and holidays for a company. I also sell make up thru a direct sales company and do some accounting consulting. (You can see Hillary’s make up page here!) Once our debt is paid off he won’t need the trash job anymore and I won’t need to run the in home daycare so I can enjoy just time with my own children and take them to the zoo, etc. We also want more children but there is no way this Mommy can handle our 2 girls plus a newborn without Daddy most nights! Nor do I think I could handle a newborn along with the 2 other children I watch. 4 kids 3 years old and younger is enough!
Has this been a struggle for you?
It’s a struggle because we currently have an extra $2,000 or so each month so it is hard to just put it towards debt and not use it for more groceries, eating out, vacations. Plus we have no vacation time. In home daycare means very few days off as does the trash job because we depend on that money for the snowball. It’s also a struggle because we will be quitting our extra jobs once we finish paying off our debt so we won’t suddenly have an extra chunk of change each month. It’ll be about $700 and that won’t even cover our 15% contributions to retirement. So that is depressing, haha. But we know that my husband’s salary will increase over time and we will be where we want to be. (Hillary is referencing the debt “snowball”. You can learn more about that here: Dave Ramsey – Total Money Makeover or at www.DaveRamsey.com)
What is your family doing differently to put a dent in your debt?
Aside from our second and third jobs, we have significantly cut our eating out budget (mostly for my husband since he is always on the road). We also don’t get to travel to see friends and family as much as we did before and we have to be more frivolous on our grocery budget. I cannot wait for the day when we can buy more organic or farm raised food.
What advice would you give to a reader that feels stuck and hasn’t started their journey yet?
Advice is just to start! Looking at it all is so intimidating. I’m the nerd so when I first made our spreadsheet with our expected extra payments and all, we were 5 years out from being debt free. Talk about being knocked down. But I’ve taken an extra job, we’ve had extra money come in, husband parting out vehicles, garage sale, now our projection is a total of 20 months. We are hoping more expected will come our way and knock at least a couple of months off.
If you had to choose, what is one debt you wish you had never gotten in to?
Our debt consisted of student loans and 2 cars. We will pay off our last student loan in February, if not sooner, and it is so hard knowing the remaining $34,000 is from cars! For my husband he doesn’t regret it, because we have great vehicles. Of course he wishes we had been at the point to use cash and that is all we will do in the future but he doesn’t regret them. I go back and forth between regretting them and not. Mine is my student loans. I have my masters in accounting however I’m a stay at home mom. I do some consulting but it seems crazy. Mostly what I regret is that I had stopped making double payments. When my loans came due I made double payments on them. When we booked out $15,000, 2 weeks Hawaii honeymoon cruise (😳 I know) we stopped paying on them all together and let them catch back up so we could pay for it and not finance. Basically, we borrowed on our student loans to go on our cruise.
If you have children, what are you teaching them about handling their money?
With our oldest only being 3 there isn’t much to teach yet. We will start giving her a quarter or 2 for chores soon and when she asks daddy why he has to go to work or can’t come home we explain that he has to work so we can live in our house and have our animals and clothes etc. We also do date nights after each loan is paid off, they have gotten nicer with each one. Our next night is a night away and not just a dinner out. When we go on those super fancy date nights we explain that mommy and daddy have worked very hard so we are going out to celebrate and that’s why mommy looks like a “princess”! Lol!
What is your 2017 financial goal?
Our 2017 financial goal is to be debt free. It would be amazing to have our 3-6 month emergency fund complete (it’ll be about $15,000). We would need to be debt free in August with bumps up our projection by 4 months, so we will see if that is doable.
Once your debts are paid, what are you going to do?
Once we have a fully funded emergency fund we will quit our extra jobs and get to grow our family plus start putting money away for the future! Our reward after our last debt is paid off is budgeted for $1000 for a weekend away or maybe even a weekend cruise. We cannot wait to catch up on sleep and family time!
Any extra advice/tips that weren’t mentioned?
I am totally a visual person! We have a debt thermometer on our refrigerator that I made plus a spreadsheet that I am constantly playing with for what ifs. What if we made this much more of a payment. I also am always playing with our Budget in EveryDollar to see if I’m missing anything or if there is anywhere else we can cut. There have been a couple months where we didn’t do our cash flow and I put the money towards the debt, forgetting we had bills coming out and had to do a quick transfer from the emergency fund to cover until pay day! Now we always do the cash flow when we do our budget. I also use Mint to help double check that we have entered everything in EveryDollar that we used our debit card for and to easily track all of our debt balances.