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How We Paid Off More Than $27,000 of Debt in 6 Months…and Still Ate Paleo!


When my husband and I sat down to discuss our finances 6 months ago, we were so close to getting ourselves wrapped up in a new mortgage and even more in debt. We had a pile of debt, disguised in the form of what Americans would say is normal. My husband and I had both accumulated student loan debt and we had recently just purchased a new car. I know what you are thinking, student loan debt and car payments aren’t really, truly, debt to be concerned about. Yea, that’s what we thought too.

How It All Started…

Someone in a Facebook group of mine was talking about Dave Ramsey. I had heard about him hundreds of time before but this time, something struck home.

My husband and I wrote out each of our current bills and total due to each, including car debt and our student loan debt. Thankfully, we never had credit card debt. The number was astounding. Here we were, getting ready to purchase a house and we had over $50,000 worth of debt to our name. And when I say about to purchase a house, I mean we had signed the offer and sent it in over to the seller’s agent. The sellers made a counter-offer and we had it in our hands about to sign and something told us to wait. We let the offer expire and the whole deal fell through…thank the Lord! Turns out we don’t even want to live in that state we were about to buy a house in.

This jarring realization of how deep in debt we were prompted us to take a look at what this whole “Dave Ramsey” thing is really about. I kept hearing these Ramsey terms like, “snowball“, “baby steps” and “emergency fund“. I spent the next few days researching about the whole method and devising a plan of attack. I hope this post gives you hope for getting out of debt, no matter if you make a ton of money or not.

Over 6 months ago, we were $50,000 in debt. What was the catalyst for us to turn things around?

I think it was when we actually sat down and wrote out each balance we had for each debt. We never thought of student loans as debt that should be paid off quickly…same for car loans. However, we realized that debt is debt and we wanted to get rid of it as soon as we could.

What strategies did we use to recover our finances?

The first thing we did was look at where we were spending our money. Most bank websites have a nifty tracking devise and you can categorize your spending. We noticed we were spending way too much on groceries (my fault) and eating out. Also, all the random things added up…most of them I couldn’t even figure out what they were.

What adjustments did we make on the spending side?

  • We took that tracking statement from our previous month and devised a plan to make each category significantly smaller.
  • We cancelled our cell phone payments and got rid of our iPhones (for more reasons than one). We signed up for prepaid phones through MetroPCS which brought our $160 cell phone payment down to $60 per month.
  • We cut our cable and starting using Netflix and Hulu to stream shows on our Roku. We bought a cable antenna to use if we want to watch broadcast (newer TV’s have this antenna built in).
  • I enrolled in doTERRA and started selling essential oils to get as much money as I could on the side to help pay down debt.
  • I stopped buying over-the-counter medication and cleaning products and started using essential oils instead.
  • We called various customer services (i.e.XM radio, car maintenance)on various plans and told them we couldn’t afford it anymore. They offered to reduce the payments by more than 75%!
  • We made sure to cut our electricity down by turning off lights and not running the air conditioning too high.
  • I make a lot of homemade cleaners (using this book) to cut down on spending too much on store-bought products.
  • We buy most everything USED at Goodwill, Craigslist, and local thrift stores.
  • We sold A LOT of stuff. We sold a car, bringing us down to a one-car family. We sold furniture. We sold dishes, clothes, toys, etc.
  • We started using the “envelope” system and took out cash for certain things like: my personal money, my husband’s personal money, groceries, entertainment and dining out. We use the cash for the week and when it runs out…it’s out.
  • We don’t use our debit card at all anymore…only for gas.
  • I strategically meal planned our meals by using THIS .


Did we focus on cutting our spending, boosting our income, or both?

A little of both. My husband’s pay stayed the same. I am a stay at home mom who dabbles into blogging, so I made an effort to try to make a little money from blogging. All the money I earned from blogging went into paying off debt.

All it took was “Baby Steps”…

  1. First, we dropped our savings to $1000. This is baby step #1 in the Dave Ramsey method. Some people have to save up to the $1,000 but we had this in our savings account already. We actually had a lot more. We are money hoarders. We were hoarding our money all the while we had a mountain of debt. Dumb, eh? This, for us, was the hardest thing in this whole process. Dropping our savings to $1,000 was a BIG risk…especially when we no longer had the security of the military. We were civilians now. No career safety net.
  2. The next baby step is paying off every single debt using the “snowball” technique. We took our list of debts and put them in order from smallest to largest. We started paying off the smallest debt first. To do this, our budget had to be PERFECT. We took every bit of extra money left over, after making payments and taking out grocery/personal/entertainment money, and put as much as we could towards this smallest debt. We made the minimum payments on all the rest of our bills. Once that debt was paid off, we took all that money we were paying into that first debt and put it towards the next debt. It was like climbing up a ladder…or rolling a snowball down a hill.
  3. Baby steps 3-5 have to do with investing (college, saving 3-6 months emergency fund 401-K, stocks) and, to be honest, I’m not sure what order they go in…because I don’t care about them right now! We are still in baby step #2 but we have paid off more than $27,000 in 6 short months.

We were able to pay off over $27,000….

  • by budgeting very wisely
  • selling lots of stuff to put towards paying off debt.
  • using some of our savings to pay off debt
  • and continuing to tithe in the process

What is our plan now?

  1. We are getting ready to start paying off OUR LAST DEBT!!! Our Honda that we bought last year (brand new) should be paid off before this year is over (if my calculations are right)!
  2. Then we move onto Baby Step #3, which is saving 3-6 months emergency fund. This will cover 3-6 months of expenses in case anything happens.
  3. After we save up our emergency fund, we will start saving up for a down payment on a house!

I hope this post encourages you to start paying off debt. Make a plan. Get mad at it! And then attack it with everything you have.

If you are interested in learning more about the Dave Ramsey method, I suggest you purchase his book, “The Total Money Makeover“, and, also, look into taking one of his local classes called “Financial Peace University“.










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225 Responses to How We Paid Off More Than $27,000 of Debt in 6 Months…and Still Ate Paleo!

  1. Megan August 19, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Thanks for sharing ! It’s very encouraging!

    • The Paleo Mama August 19, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

      You’re welcome!

      • Kiley Wagner October 25, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

        I literally just bought a new car for myself. (not brand new, but new to me) It is still a 2015 and had very low miles.

        I’m currently a student and have no idea what I truly want to do, therefore, my student loan debt is getting higher and higher. great, right?

        I took a PMM class in high school. Personal Money Management, where we were pretty much taught by Dave Rasmey. I don’t remember much of it, but it’s time to learn again.

        I am curious on how to earn money by blogging?

  2. Kristin August 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    Thank you for sharing about a topic that has been on my mind too much lately. I’m curious about your grocery budget. You said that you are continuing to eat paleo, and also that you had been spending too much on groceries. Could you explain how you were spending too much and how you’ve cut back? Thank you!

    • The Paleo Mama August 19, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

      Sure! I never had a grocery budget that I stuck to before going to the “envelope” method and before doing the Dave Ramsey thing. I tried to shop good, but I had a lot of random trips and purchases throughout the week. I was spending way over $300 a week on groceries…probably even more when you calculate online purchases. Once we evaluated our spendings on grocery, we were floored on what we were spending on groceries and dining out. We put our food as a priority and spend more on food than anything else. So, we figured that for a family of 4 eating Paleo, we would budget $200 a week. This is what I have stuck to for the past 6 months. I have never gone over…I sometimes have some money to carry over to the next week! I love having cash in my envelope for groceries…I now know what I’m spending.

      • Aprille August 19, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

        Would love to hear more about your grocery budget. I need to eat grain-free because of food allergies but have a $450 budget for the month for everything but gas and bills (so groceries plus any misc expenses like clothes, diapers, office supplies, post office, cosmetics, etc). (and this is after already cutting iphones, hulu, and not eating out at all). My family recently took a 50% reduction in pay so I’m having a really hard time adjusting to this new budget especially when it comes to real food and eating grain-free. I’m spending soooo much less than I used to but still find that I’m over budget all of the time in the grocery department. Any tips or any other posts you have on the subject would be awesome.

        • The Paleo Mama August 19, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

          Hi Aprille! I have a post on my budget. Our budget is more than yours but you can get an idea of what we buy and adjust. I include all toiletries and household products in my budget:

        • Dawn December 18, 2013 at 9:04 am #

          A tip that I implemented this past year April was to purchase in bulk food from farmers, Amish etc that were good for me and learn to can them myself. I now have a cellar full of healthy foods (no metal cans, no preservatives, etc) I’ve kept my grocery budget the same but I stock up on sale items so I’m rarely paying full price or I have money left over because I don’t really NEED food when I go grocery shopping I’m usually shopping for the things your run out of (butter, milk, salad greens)or just some wants, sale or stock up items. I didn’t stop shopping when I stocked us up that way I’m aways ahead and when the budget is tight I don’t have to worry about groceries I can put it somewhere else – feel free to holler if you have questions.

          • Reinette December 31, 2013 at 3:28 am #

            If this was Facebook I would have ‘Liked’ this reply from Dawn. My New Year’s ambition (don’t do New Year’s resolutions as I can’t handle the pressure!) is to can, preserve and dry more of my own food. Thanks Dawn.

      • Kate September 16, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

        Thanks for sharing your food budget! My husband and I are working the debt snowball as well and are also paleo. We were spending around $1k/month, or more, on food before we got it under control! For the two of us, plus our 2.5 year old daughter, we now spend $600/month. I take it out in cash and try to buy everything we need for 2 weeks on payday (minus a few greens that I pick up over the 2 weeks.) All of those frequent trips to the store added up! But just wanted to share that it is possible to eat healthy AND pay down debt without resorting to beans/rice. We can’t make all of the fancy recipes out there in the Paleo-blogsphere or in cookbooks, but we have our tried and true inexpensive ones.

        • The Paleo Mama September 17, 2013 at 5:50 am #

          Thank you for sharing Kate! That’s great what you are doing!

  3. Jess August 19, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    Curious how much you had in savings that contributed to paying off the $27,000?

    • The Paleo Mama August 19, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

      Sure…we had JUST lost $16,000 on the sale of our Georgia house in Sept.’12. We had to take out a loan to sell our house. By the time Dave Ramsey came into our life, our savings was only at around $7,000. This was all we had after selling our house…hence, scary for us to drop it so low…but it worked!

      • Jess August 19, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

        Thanks for sharing! Very inspiring. πŸ™‚

  4. Heather August 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    I think this is phenomenal and I really applaud you for your success. When I started reading your article I had hopes that it would give me some information as to how to go about doing much of the same. However I think you must know that 1. there are very few families who can afford to sell one car, and 2. I don’t know very many who have ANYTHING to put into savings at all. I’m curious as to what you would have been able to pay off had you not decreased your savings or sold your car?

    • The Paleo Mama August 19, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

      we just sold our car last week to use as a safety net as we move in 2 weeks. None of what we got from selling the car is calculated into the $27,000. I know I know I know…this is hard. And my debt and rapid payoff is not feasible to some people. However, it’s all about living below your means…whoever you are.

    • Sharolyn September 1, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

      A lot of it depends on your drive to get out of debt as well. It’s rather amazing what you can find to live without when you have to. I went a year on $9000 child support income/no alimony with a house ($1700/month mortgage payment) and 2 kids. Although I drained the emergency fund down to the $1000 cushion while I looked for a job, I never had to take government assistance and I was never late on any of my bills. The only thing that didn’t get cut out at that time was the internet because I was finishing my degree through online classes. I have only met a handful of people who truly could say that all of their expenses are necessities. As Dave Ramsey says “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else”.

    • annie December 9, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      it is hard to think that you cannot do it. But if you are “gazelle intense” you will do whatever it takes to be debt free and financially secure. It is called sacrifices, yes having one car sucks, and maybe picking up more hours at work and sacrificing time with your family, but later you will be able to do it freely. Read the book and you will understand, you will not get far into your debt snowball with the mentality that ” i can’ t put money into savings”

  5. Jillian August 19, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    Thanks for sharing! You make it sound doable. Now if I can just get my hubby on board we might can do this. πŸ™‚

  6. Zabrina August 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    This came at such a great time. My husband just got out of the military Dec 2011. It has been crazy scary not having that net. More so after realizing just how much debt we had when getting out. Needless to say we’ve made adjustments but nothing to really move us out of the debt we had. We had a surprise pregnancy, wasn’t supposed to be able to happen. Shortly after the birth of our daughter, 6 mo, two pink lines. So much for being careful and taking measures to avoid it! We are excited but our finances are now that much more daunting. My husband will be graduating next May. Our newest addition is due in January. I think we need to give this an honest go. We too spend most of our money on groceries and eating out. So many little trips to the store are just adding up to way too much. I just ordered the book. Can’t hurt right?

  7. Michelle Guzman August 19, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    Congratulations!!!! I love Dave Ramsey!

  8. Katie August 19, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    I am so happy to have read your story. Congrats! I am blessed to work at Dave Ramsey’s office and I never tire of hearing stories like yours. Keep the momentum going!

  9. Katie M August 19, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    I am always encouraged when I read articles about normal people (a.k.a not millionaires) paid off debt. But my husband and I have literally $100 in savings and live paycheck to paycheck. I am curious if you know of any insight into paying off debt i.e. car, quicker so that it is one less worry coming our of the paychecks. Whenever I go to look at ideas you usually have to pay for something, a book, a dvd, etc… funny cause I don’t have extra money to spend on something about getting out of debt when I am trying to get out of debt. Plus I think my hubby would throw a fit! πŸ™‚

    • The Paleo Mama August 19, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

      We did all this without purchasing the book or going to the classes. You can find a lot via google! I just followed the plan and you can find so much about it online already.

    • Carrie August 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

      Most of your local libraries will have one of Dave Ramsey’s books you can check out for free πŸ™‚

    • Karen April 20, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

      If you haven’t done so already, check your local library for Dave Ramsey books. Often if not available they can get it for you free of charge, worth a try.

    • Michelle December 28, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

      Many churches offer Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University classes. Some will pay your fee if it is a hardship.

  10. Jaime August 19, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    Is this a sponsored post?

    even if it is, very inspiring story for those still in the struggle….

    • The Paleo Mama August 19, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

      Nope…this is not a sponsored. This is all me and how the Dave Ramsey method has changed our lives.

      • Jaime August 19, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

        great to hear! congrats…we hope to be debt free someday too!

  11. Shelly Wilkes-Nelson August 19, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

    I’ve been doing Dave Ramsey for a few months now. I’ve gotten my savings to 1k and I’m working on snowballing my first Credit Card. I’m a single mom of 3 kids living Paleo. It’s doable by everyone. We sold a ton of stuff as well, when we moved. If my kids want to do something they have to give me advanced enough notice so that I can budget it in, or they don’t get to do it. We never eat out unless it’s a birthday or special occasion. I have a severe amount of debt that I’m determined to get at least half of it paid off by the end of the year. You can do anything you put your mind to! Love Dave Ramsey!

  12. Amanda August 20, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    Thanks for the great post! We’ve tried really hard this year to remain debt-free (other than our mortgage.) My husband wrote a post on my blog about using Ting to deeply, deeply reduce our spending on cell phones. Some months we pay as little as $20 for TWO smart phones just by using our wi-fi to make calls. He’s the techy-one so I had him write the post explaining it all. We’ve really loved Ting though!

    • The Paleo Mama August 20, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      That’s great!!! Never heard of Ting!

    • Jess @ Crunchy Hot Mama September 2, 2013 at 11:26 pm #

      Thanks for the tip, Amanda! I will totally let the hubby know about Ting to see if he will get on board. It’s always nice to find ways to save $!

  13. Dr. Peri August 21, 2013 at 7:59 am #

    WAY TO GO!! My husband and I did FPU 4 years and 1 month ago….in that time we paid off over 200k in debt…..student loans, paid off 2 cars (sold a brand new one and purchased a beater for 2 years!), credit card debt, refinanced to a 15 year mortgage, etc….we absolutely do envelopes EVERY MONTH!!!! Our food budget for a family of 6 and 4 dogs is $1200 a month…we eat paleo/organic/farm raised etc 95% of the time….eat out 1x a month for our date night….IT WORKS….we owe our “financial peace” to Dave Ramsey!!!! I love love love your blog!!!! Oh, and we crossfit too!! πŸ™‚

    • The Paleo Mama August 21, 2013 at 8:21 am #

      Wow that is soooooo encouraging to hear!! I can’t wait to be 100% debt free like you!

    • ticamom December 31, 2013 at 10:59 am #

      Dr. Peri, can you please go into more detail on how you feed a family of 6 paleo, and organic foods on only $1,200/month?! This is the area I most struggle with. Kudos to you and Thanks!

  14. Dr. Peri August 21, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    oh yeah….our emergency fund has 20k in it too!!!

  15. Dr. Peri August 21, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    oooopppsss…one last thing…we were so grateful for FPU that we bought a dozen Total Money Makeover books and gave them out to friends that thought would benefit from the program!!!

  16. Alyssa August 23, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    My husband and I are just starting the financial peace books! We don’t have a huge debt, but i lost my job in march and he doesn’t make a lot of money. I’m hoping it works for us too!

  17. jmr August 30, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    I just found your blog yesterday and I’m exploring a bit today. I love Dave Ramsey. I followed the baby steps and paid off my debt, saved an emergency fund, started college funds and paid off my mortgage…all on an average income. You’ll soon be screaming, “I’m debt free!!!” with the rest of us. And I got my first DR book for free at the library.

  18. Bee Girl (AKA Melissa) August 31, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    Thank you for sharing your financial story here! This is incredibly inspiring and must feel so amazing! We have been talking about paying down our debt for too long…it’s time to actually do it! Thank you so much for the kick!

  19. Julie DiMaggio September 1, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    The church I attend will be offering the Dave Ramsey class. My daughters and I will be taking it!! Exciting and scary too!
    Thanks for sharing your story.

  20. Stephanie from Minnesota From Scratch September 2, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    How inspiring! My cousin and her husband moved in with my cousin’s mother to save money and pay off debt. They follow Dave Ramsey’s plan as well. In about a year they were able to pay off all of their student loans and other debt, buy a car with cash (not brand new, but fairly new) and started saving for their emergency fund. Now they have all that money saved up and are saving for a hefty down payment on a home. They are doing really well and obviously it helps when you can live at home and avoid a rent or mortgage payment, but living with family when you are a married unit, in your 30’s, can be a sacrifice of privacy and a hit to the ego! I support anyone that takes control like they did! Good luck on your continued success to pay down the rest of your debt!

    • The Paleo Mama September 3, 2013 at 11:41 am #

      Yes, Stephanie, sacrifice is the biggest part of it! Awesome job to your cousins!

  21. Jess @ Crunchy Hot Mama September 2, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    LOVE LOVE LOVE Dave Ramsey! We are big followers, too, and are debt free except the house. I still struggle to keep the food budget down and stick to our written budget though. I would have thought with buying a whole cow and pig would have helped in the food dept, but alas it has not. I’m thinking of trying his eMeals plan to see if that could help. I really like your idea of only using the debit card on gas…everything else is from an envelope. Hopefully this will inspire me to get on track!
    Here’s my post on it:

    PS-My daughter got Financial Peace Junior for her 3rd birthday and has been doing chores like crazy to save for a couple toys she wants πŸ˜‰ It’s never too early to learn to work for what you want!

    • Beth January 30, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

      The only way I can stick to my food budget is by doing it in cash. Otherwise, it’s waaaayyy too easy to lose track. Good luck!

  22. Jodi Bonovetz September 3, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    I would use this to get more veggies and make soups. I have been crossfitting for a year and this will just keep me on my paleo journey. I would be luck to win this!!!

  23. Jackie September 4, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    We just became debt free this past year. Now we are working on creating a new budget with a larger, more pricey house! As much as we wanted to spend a little less, we now have room for a cow, chickens and a garden!!!! huge savings!!! the more you can do yourself, the more you can save!!!

  24. Kelly Smyth September 7, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    Awesome article. I want to encourage you to keep up the good work. My husband and I are I in baby step 2 also. We are due to be debt free by Christmas! How great will that be?

    • The Paleo Mama September 7, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      That is awesome!!! I hope to be debt free by then too! Baby step 2 takes forever but it is the most rewarding!

  25. Gabi September 8, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    I love your blog, you should check out my mom’s at

  26. Valerie September 10, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    Thanks for sharing! That’s so inspiring. My husband racked up a lot of student loan debt chasing a dream that didn’t pan out. We are working on paying it off as soon as possible, but we don’t make a lot so it’s going to take a while.

    I’m a casual Dave Ramsey fan and so we are using the snowball method to tackle each lender. Right now we are paying the most on the highest interest rate loan, but I think this post might have me convinced to finally switch over to paying the most on the smallest loan. (I’ve been debating it for a while.)

    Anyway, it’s awesome that you did that. Posts like this encourage me to keep paying off our debt. I’m hoping as our incomes increases that we will be able to knock off that much that fast one day.

    • The Paleo Mama September 10, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

      Keep it up!!! It’s seems like such a long road, but you will get there! It will be so rewarding to be completely debt free!

    • Ashley September 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

      Stick with paying your highest interest rates first, the smaller interest rates won’t have as large of an effect if you wait to pay them off. It’s how I did it with my school loans. I have $62,000 in school loans at the age of 21 in 2011, I made my final payment on my school loans in March of 2013! I paid my variable interest rates first, then paid my largest interest rates next and so on and so forth.

    • Brittany January 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

      This calculator allowed me to decide whether to pay high interest first or do the snowball. Paying high interest off first will mean I’m paying off my student loans faster and with less interest paid. I do like the motivation of the snowball method, but instead I create an artificial motivation where I set mini goals that make me feel better. I will then pay off my car and then the house. I figure that the student loans are the only things that will never go away – they can take back the car, take back the house, but I will never get rid of the student loans unless I die.

  27. Katy Plavcan September 12, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    My name is Katy Plavcan. My husband and I started our Dave Ramsey path similar to you! We were searching to buy a house with student loan debt, Best Buy credit card debt, and Car debt. Not to mention we were newly weds! We began our journey on June 3rd and it is now September 12th and we have paid off over $8,000 on just our student loans!!! Love that I found your website bc we too are paleo eaters and it can be expensive!
    Thanks for the encouragement to keep it up!

    • The Paleo Mama September 12, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

      THank you Katy!!! Great job for what you have done!

  28. Kelly September 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    Where/How did you sell the smaller items like clothes, toys, etc? I’m looking to de-clutter my life and it’d be nice to make a little extra income in the process.

    • The Paleo Mama September 12, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

      I used Craigslist and Online Garage sale pages on FB

  29. amanda September 15, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    Best plan ever! We have paid off 20,000$ since beginning our snowball!! Obsessed with Dave Ramsey, best wedding gift ever#!

  30. Michelle September 17, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

    Love Dave Ramsey , we took the classes about a year ago and my husband finally agreed a year later to try it lol! We are moving to a tiny little apt ( with 2 kids). We are hoping to have our debt paid off in a year or year and a half. Then save for a house! We are moving in two weeks and I’m very excited to start it all!

  31. Ashley September 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your story, I at the age of 23 paid off $62,000 in school loans in 2 years! The last $15,000 I paid off much faster due to taking Dave Ramey’s FPU classes! I’m now a table leader for classes in my area! I’m currently in my down payment for a house stage πŸ™‚ Keep up the good work!


  32. Erika September 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    Here from Pinterest and I love it! Thank you for sharing this! And a BIG thank you for putting in this post that you continued to tithe! SUCH an important step and I personally get frustrated hearing from my fellow followers that they, ‘…just can’t afford to tithe.’ So again, thank you for making it important and sharing about it! Keep up the great job. This has been encouraging to me. I think it is time to get a plan to paper…..
    : D ~ Erika from MishMashedMe

    • The Paleo Mama September 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

      Thank you Erika! I think the tithing was a big reason we were continually blessed!

  33. James September 19, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    Depleting your savings is terrible advice and not something that Dave would suggest as part of his program. Removing your liquidity safety net is not smart. The reason it is the first baby step is that most people don’t have the 1000.00 cushion in the first place.

    • The Paleo Mama September 19, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

      It helped us get out of some good debt. I’m glad we did it! Doing it gave us more of a “gazelle intensity” to finish paying off debt.

      • James September 19, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

        You still aren’t understanding the risk. Since you already had a decent savings it would have been safer to draw your savings down to 5k and take 10 months to pay off your debt load. You got lucky you didn’t run into an emergency but I wouldn’t recommend the method to other and neither would Dave

        • Melanie Hobby November 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

          He actually DOES recommend taking your savings down to the $1000, James.
          “The Total Money Makeover” pg. 107: “ALL money you have above and beyond the $1,000 in anything except retirement plans will be used in the next step (step 2 the snowball) anyway, so get ready.” pg. 106 – “What if you already have more than $1000? Wow, that was easy, wasn’t it? If you already have the $1000 in anything other than retirement plans, get it out. If it is in a Certificate of Deposit with penalties, take the penalty for early withdrawal and get it out. If it is in mutal funds, get it out. If it is in savings bonds, get it out. If it is in checking, get it out. If it is in stocks or bonds, get it out. Your emergency fund, limited to $1000 in liquid, available cash, is ALL that is acceptable.”
          So, respectfully, it’s scary but you’re wrong. earning .025% on money in a savings account while paying 20% on credit cards, or even just sitting around be a slave in debt does not make sense. $1000 will cover most basic little things, and you will create a bigger Emergency Fund just as soon as you get out of debt forever. for good. amen!

        • annie December 9, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

          James, apparently you never read his book. He does mention that it is VERY hard for people to “deplete” their savings and bring it down to only $1000. I know how it is because I was a money hoarder. I had close to 10,000 in savings then when i finished college and had to start paying my loans off this was used to pay half of it. It was soo hard, because those savings were my baby. He doesn’t recommend doing this if both you and your spouse aren’t completely in board with the plan, because if you are intense about paying the debt off you WILL do it, you WIll find a way to get money, and save money no matter what. You just have to say to yourself, I HAVE HAD IT! πŸ™‚

  34. Katie S. September 20, 2013 at 2:23 am #

    I am so proud of all you Dave Ramsey followers! Our family is doing great on the plan. We are on baby step 3 and are also working on paying our mortgage down. It has been years of sacrifice and putting off things I’ve wanted to do/get (new floors for the house, fancy vacations, a new car, etc) but I can totally see the light. I only wish I had known about DR in my 20s. I worked hard and made good money for many years and basically had nothing saved up until a few years ago (we did buy real estate though). If you are young and already following DR, you will be SO happy you did when in your 40’s like me. I’m so proud of you young people!!!!

  35. katrina September 22, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    Thank you for sharing! I will be sharing this with my husband. please pray that he will receive this and we can finally get out of debt too. we are going through fpu for the second time πŸ™‚ you will always learn something from dave ramsey πŸ˜€

  36. Jason B September 22, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    That is awesome. I am also working on a debt repayment plan as well.

  37. Jennifer @ Sweet Plantains September 22, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

    Jackie, this is so well timed! I always love hearing about people becoming more financially free – it is so encouraging! Have you heard of the EEBA app? It’s an electronic envelope system. We use it, is is AWESOME.

  38. Brandi September 23, 2013 at 1:09 am #

    How did you go about with early termination fees with the cell phone and cable bill? They’re usually pretty pricey.

    • The Paleo Mama September 23, 2013 at 6:28 am #

      Only one of our phones had a termination fee. We calculated the cost of breaking our contract and in doing that, we still were going to save money.

  39. Rachael September 23, 2013 at 10:26 am #

    I wanted to add that Dave Ramsey’s book can be found at the library. I’ve wanted to get started on his plan but never wanted to spend the money on the book…. it never occurred to me before that you can borrow it!

  40. Kimberly Robinson September 23, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    Just wanted to post a little encouragement to anyone who feels like this is an insurmountable task.. We paid off two cars (at the time we couldn’t eliminate one, I worked in another state), a student loan, and $30,000 of credit card debt in five years, then knocked out the other student loan which was significantly more. We have been debt free seven years and continue to assess our expenses to see where we can save. We have one car now, since we’ve moved, cheap phones, no cable (Roku rocks!) and we live on less than half of what we used to make. Another benefit of this effort is that it gives you the freedom to do just that if your circumstances dictate, say, that you both get laid off from higher paying jobs within three months of each other. (it happened to us) Being debt free enables you to embrace a job you love because you love it, not because it has a big paycheck and you need every penny to maintain your “stuff pile” even if you hate it. (This was us) Also.. Pray. Ask for wisdom and help. You’ll get it.

    • The Paleo Mama September 23, 2013 at 11:02 am #

      Thank you Kimberly! That is great advice!!! I especially love the part you added about embracing a job you love…not for the pay, but because you actually love it! Thank you!

  41. Kristina September 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    Do you have any child care bills? This is my biggest struggle right now with trying to figure out our finances and trying to reduce our debt. Any suggestions how to adjust with that big bill?

    • The Paleo Mama September 23, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

      No we don’t. I stay home with the kids and work from home. I’m sure that bill can be frustrating!

      • Kristina September 23, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

        It is so frustrating, because it cost over $1000 a month (which is a good chunk of my salary) and I just feel like a cannot get anywhere with becoming debt free. Any suggestions or advice would greatly be appreciated!!! πŸ™‚

  42. Jessica September 24, 2013 at 7:19 am #

    What is your guys’ job status? Did you guys both have jobs or just one at the time? My boyfriend and I both have jobs, but his is a temp job and mine is very inconsistent in hours(I can have 5 hours one week, 30+ the next) and we have a baby coming, plus just under $4k in debt. We’re only 19 and not sure how to do all this and the Dave Ramsey stuff just gets too complicated and lengthy that it ends up confusing me(I also have ADHD and it’s hard to follow things that are very long).

    • The Paleo Mama September 24, 2013 at 7:44 am #

      My husband is the bread winner. I make a little money on the side, but nothing to brag about. Now is a good time to start!!! YouRe young and you don’t have much debt!

  43. Elizabth September 25, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    We have been on the DR plan since January! To date we have paid off $22K. We still have 21 to go! but we are down to our last debt (2nd Mortgage)! Thanks for sharing your story!

  44. Sharon September 26, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

    Great post! Great plan. We, too, have paid off debt using Dave Ramsey’s principles. I tell some of our story on my blog

  45. Andreanne October 2, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    Great post!

    My husband and I have about 30 000$ of debt (including a brand new car, but excluding or mortgage)
    we just started this new plan for paying off our debts this week, so I was very exited to fin your blog via Pinterest, you have a lot of great tips! We think we can clear it in about a year and a half.

    I am very exited to start this and your post helped a lot!


    • The Paleo Mama October 2, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

      Yay!!! So excited you are going to do it and have a plan!!!

  46. bailey October 6, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

    The account drop would be so hard for us…I cringe at the idea of having only $1000 in savings! I’m curious how much y’all keep in your checking account?

    • The Paleo Mama October 7, 2013 at 6:44 am #

      Honestly, Dave Ramsey says to make a “0” budget but that always has scared us so much. We try to always leave a good $5-1000 wiggle room in checking.

  47. Amy Smith October 8, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    Wow, this is so inspiring and amazing! Congrats on all of this- you should be very proud. I definitely have no reason not to eat paleo now.

  48. walkermama October 11, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    have you read the Mr Money Mustache blog? You will love it! So much to glean even if our beliefs differ from his a bit.

  49. Christine October 20, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    I enjoyed reading your blog and how you started the DR plan. I have the book at home and read it two years ago and started on the plan and then lost interest. I am currently trying to find ways to get out of debt and looking at all the replies have belped. One question I have is I noticed a couple people have paid off like 8k in debt in four months or 22k in 9 months, what kind of jobs do you have to be able to do this? Do you leave your checking accounts at a 0 balance or leave some in there. I love the envelope system and am going to start it up again. I really would like some tips because I work part time with various hours and in total my husband and I only make 30k in a year and we have over 100k in debt and would love to buy our own house in a year and a half.

    • The Paleo Mama October 20, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

      Our income wasn’t what helped us pay off the majority of the debt. Getting rid of stuff and selling things to pay off the debt is what really helped. We try to do as close to a zero balance as possible.

  50. Nabs October 26, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Thanks for this article- it was matter of fact, concise and most of all do-able!!!

  51. Ashley Z. October 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    Wow! This is incredible! I learned about Dave Ramsey in high school, and my sister is currently doing the envelope system, which I think is genius, but I’m nervous to step away from the plastic card, to just cash. I believe in holding onto my cards for gas (like you had mentioned) but I’m nervous to make that step of no cards. My husband and I have credit lines, and I’ve wanted to get rid of them since I can remember but I’ve heard it hurts your credit to close them, but helps if you keep them open with a zero balance. Meh, idk. I’m seriously thinking about the cash thing. I know it will discipline us, and we can start paying down debts as newlyweds. Thank you for sharing, I’m sure I’ll reference back to this post plenty as we start this journey paying off debt!

    – Ashley

    • The Paleo Mama October 27, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

      Thank you Ashley! I really recommend you and your husband take a class near you or buy the book. It’s so beneficial! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  52. Megan October 29, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    How did do you start a blog and make money off it?

  53. Lana October 30, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    Our family has by no means mastered groceries or finances, we are working on transitioning to a cash basis and not allowing food to go to waste.

    Dave Ramsey came to our church recently and spoke of leaving a legacy. I have become highly aware that not only is tithing important, but training my children to be Godly handlers of money is as well.

  54. Megan November 7, 2013 at 4:16 am #

    This was very helpful and inspiring, Thank you!

  55. Regina November 7, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    We did this when Dave Ramsey was in undergraduate school, and it made all the difference in the way we live now.

    I, too, noticed that (this was the 1980’s) we were paying over $200.00 a month in INTEREST on NOTHING WHATSOEVER–meals out and clothes from Dillard’s. We did one thing differently, and paid the debt with the highest interest rates first.

    Congratulations. This may be your greatest accomplishment after the children you raise.

  56. Nicole November 11, 2013 at 8:18 am #

    This is a great post! My fiancΓ© and I just bought our first home and planning a wedding for 2015. We have a lot of debt combined and this article made it possible for me to configure a plan to tackle our debt. Thank you!

  57. Te'Amo November 14, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    This post was very inspiring! I’m not in a position financially to take Ramsey’s classes but maybe by the time the class in Jan approaches I will be able to afford the $93 cost. I will however purchase the book and get started immediately on some of the things you’ve mentioned here. This envelope method is superb. I’ve thought of doing something like this over the last year and never really sat down to do it. I’ll be going back to work on Monday after being out of work for the last 5 months and my boyfriend being the only one employed. So the envelope method will be ingenious for catching up on those bills that have sort of piled up and factoring in each of our debts. I have recently left AT&T and gone with a cheaper no contract service provider and the good thing with this company is if others join then I can also make money and possibly get free mobile service. I too, want to cancel my cable service and just keep the internet and get Netflix again but I have to get him on board because he wants to be able to watch his sports. Groceries are the biggest factor for me because I do all the cooking but the family is super picky. Even now we eat just enough and most times there aren’t any leftovers which is good and bad. He usually takes the leftovers to work for lunch. Now that I’m returning to work I’ll need to make sure we both have something to eat at work because I’ll be getting home later to cook dinner. With 3 daughters I would love to have a college fund set up for them. My oldest is in 7th grade currently and already anxious on selecting a college to attend and getting a headstart on applying for scholarships. I came across your post at the right time in my life. I usually look forward to income tax time as my “shopping spree” days but now I’m looking forward to it to help resolve some of this debt and get that savings account in place. Thank you so much for your post. I’m so excited to go over all of this information with him when he gets out of work. I have a direct sales business and now that extra cash will help us pay of debt a lot sooner.

    • The Paleo Mama November 14, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

      This is so exciting to hear!!! I don’t even know you but I’m proud of you! Big changes you have made and I promise you are going to be so happy with them! We just wrote off a check for my husbands student loans and we are on our last bill! Can’t believe it! Good luck on your debt crushing! Keep in touch!

  58. Nikki S November 22, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    This is great! I don’t even make $27,000 a year though – ha! I wish we spent money wastefully somewhere to cut the “low hanging fruit” if you will, but we just make so little that it’s hard to have big numbers like this!

  59. Kayla November 22, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    is consolidating debt a smart idea? ie: putting student loan debt onto your mortgage as the interest rate is lower?

    • The Paleo Mama November 24, 2013 at 7:43 am #

      I’m pretty sure Dave Ramsey says that is not a good idea. But you should probably check on his website!

    • annie December 9, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      consolidating he doesn’t recommended, because you are making smaller payments each month, but it drags longer. You are only putting a band aid on.

  60. Katherine December 5, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    I am in debt up to my eyeballs. I had never heard of Dave Ramsey until reading your post. I too spend way to much on food and I toss a lot into my compost pile because I spend with “good intentions”, but it spoils before I eat it. I went to his site and signed up for his email. I recently lost two of my three part time jobs and cannot make my CC payments. I’ve always paid on time, but now I don’t even answer my phone any more – they’re after me and for good reason too, but for now the funds are just not here. I’m looking for work, but not finding anything. I live in a small, financially depressed area, but I’m sure something will turn up! I’m a full time student about to graduate (4 months!!) so my loans will be coming due in a short time too. I’m excited to incorporate the “snowball” method, that makes so much sense. Though I can’t do it now I will asap! Thank you for sharing your story and all your encourage to “us”; your readers = ) Kat

  61. al December 9, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    I’ve been doing the envelope system for years (when you get paid once a month budgeting is real important) and it works. Paying cash for everything makes you think about each purchase. I’m not a fan of using your savings to erase debt – unless you were erasing all debt.

  62. Joleen-Marie December 10, 2013 at 9:42 am #

    Inspiring post!! We too have recently become civilians [husband was 8 years in & did not choose to leave], we were out within a WEEK and needless to say had no place to go and no savings! My husband has been out now for over a year and still with no job. We are working out best to budget & pay off debt ourselves. We are a family of 6 living on only $500 a week [not including what we get/pay for rent]. Would love to know what tips you would have on how we can budget & still pay off debt with only $500 a week. Definitely need some help!! thanks πŸ™‚

  63. Joy December 17, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

    out of all your comments, my favorite was that you still managed to tithe.

  64. Justme December 17, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    I have tried so many times to budget…but my stubborn husband (who WILL NEVER ADMIT IT) is the reason we cannot. He overspends at the grocery store (we spend probably 2 grand a month at the grocery store, but we do have six children, so this includes diapers for two babies, formula for two babies, etc.). I tried the envelope trick and that didn’t work either. When he ran out of money, he would wake me up in the morning stating he had no money left and needed gas so wanted the debit card. I just got so fed up.

    I am actually “petrified” of getting rid of my cable, house phone, internet, and cell phones (which run about 300 a month and could nearly pay our car payment for us!). I don’t know why, but the Netflix thing scares me because if my three youngest don’t have their shows at around noon to 4, I’m doomed and can’t get anything done. I also don’t think it’s that much of a savings because I have to have internet for my job (typically runs 45 dollars no matter who you use), I still have to have some kind of TV going (how much is Netflix and what kid shows does it have…I don’t even know), but I guess I don’t really need a house phone if we get the Jitterbugs or whatever cheap phones there are. After those two things (three cell phones and internet), I’m only looking at saving maybe 200 a month. I guess this gig is for the strong…and I am weak.

    You’re very lucky to have a husband who not only got involved in the process of your budgeting, but cooperated along the way. I wish he’d talk to my hardheaded husband…a man who can use the debit card and not even know for how much 10 minutes later!!! Argh…so frustrating!

    • The Paleo Mama December 17, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

      It is a discipline for sure and it does take a little bit of time to get to the place where you really get MAD at your debt. It is a slow process at times but it’s so worth it!!

    • Kim July 22, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

      Netflix has tons of kids programs and even has a Kids only page.
      We’ve never had cable since my kids were alive. My son has been using Netflix since age 3 and loves it.

  65. Amanda December 17, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

    I read this with hope, as we are in a similar situation with student loans and medical bills. I’m so happy this worked for you guys, but I was afraid there wasn’t much I could take from this. We already don’t have cable, or contract cell phones, no credit cards, barely pay an electric bill (which is our ONLY utility), no extra car, etc. I have no extras to cut out. However, I don’t mind trying the envelopes. I have a feeling our falling is, indeed, the debit card killing our budget (which is not really a ‘budget’). There is no other way to explain why we never have any money when living so far below our means. Thank you for writing this. I do have hope after all.

  66. JustMe December 19, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    This is great and all, heard it works for many. But what if you’ve already done most of that? We’ve never had any money for savings so can’t drop there. Don’t have cell phone bills, cable, satellite radio or extra things like that. We just have Netflix and I’m not willing to give that up just to “save” $8 a month. Not worth it. I keep lights off when not needed. Don’t have air conditioning. And our heat is so low I’m freezing all the time even wearing a sweater and blanket. Rarely buy cleaning supplies from the store. Already buy everything from Goodwill, etc. Already sold everything we didn’t actually need at previous garage sales. We have two cars, but need them. My husband uses his a lot at work, and I need one for our 3 kids. We cannot be without them. No public transportation around here. Plus, we’d only get about $2000 for each of them if we did sell. We have a lot of debt. Already closely watch what we spend on groceries. We consolidated our credit card bills and another loan into another loan. That helped until I had to use the credit cards again for have to have dental work. Have to get it fixed if you’re in pain and on vicodin for a month and it’s still not going away. Went with the cheaper route of pulling instead of fixing. Still have a lot of dental costs for those problems. I’d like to see a plan that actually helps people. You have to have money for this to help you get out of debt.

  67. JENNI December 21, 2013 at 4:19 am #

    This only works if you werent living this way to start with, and you have a large enough income to put toward the debts. We are 1 car, coupon, don’t buy much etc already and still broke.

  68. Alyssa December 23, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    Hi, can I ask about how you liked your new phone plan company? We’ve been looking for ways to reduce our expenses and our cell phone bill is definitely one of the main ones we want to tackle. Would you recommend this company or is there another similar one that you’ve heard of that you would recommend? Thanks.

    • The Paleo Mama December 28, 2013 at 8:45 am #

      We are still using and loving Metro PCS! I would recommend it for sure if they are local to you.

  69. Missy December 25, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    We also follow Dave Ramsey and will own our home in five years when our son starts high school. We do everything to help pay our house down. We use the cash only and track it all and I keep it on a spreadsheet. We’ve enjoyed extra vacations and treats because we’re no longer worried about money. We can also help others now too. We know it’s hard but it’s worth it to your family. Way to go.

  70. Heathersue December 30, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

    Thank you so much for this post. We racked up some debt and I’m real antsy about having debt, but wasn’t sure where to start with it. I love the snowball technique: time to sit down and start breaking it all down. Again, thank you.

  71. Christine December 31, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

    Question for you: I’m new to your site (I left you a comment on Facebook πŸ™‚ ) and was wondering if you bought your land before all of this started and what kind of housing you have- saw you were going to purchase a house then didn’t. We’re looking to put our house on the market in the spring and get some land, but we still have debt and are in the process of cutting down on our spending. It’s hard to decide whether to stay where we are while paying debt or go ahead and move where we can have the freedom to raise our boys the way we’d like them to be raised (naturally).

    • The Paleo Mama January 2, 2014 at 9:16 am #

      hey Christine! We are renting till we have finished paying off our debt and then acquired back our savings. We found a rental house with land and felt that was the right thing to do for us. Every situation is different

      • Christine January 7, 2014 at 3:51 pm #


  72. Chrissy January 3, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

    Hello! thank you so much for your post it is so encouraging as my husband and I are trying to do the same! Do you mind if I share your site on my blog page?? I would love to share this info with my readers.

  73. Rachel January 4, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    My husband and I are doing financial peace university with Dave Ramsey now. It’s amazing how great things can become when you start telling your money what to do.

  74. Janie January 20, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

    I really like this idea, ESPECIALLY for credit card debt. But honestly FOR ALOT of people it is completely unrealistic when it comes to student loans. My husband is a medical provider, he makes 75k a year working in a clinic for the government and has 135k in student loan debt. We have a used SUV and I stay home with our three small children and we own our home (1600 mortgage) it would have costed us atleast 1400 to rent. Tell me how we are supposed to get out of student loan debt? Thankfully with my husband’s clinic he should be able to get some loan forgiveness, but to pay off his student loan debt ourselves would be unrealistic- to pay it off in 10 years its 1700 month. We don’t even have this lying around. I meal plan and make our own bread and make ALL of our own cleaning solutions. We HAVE to have two cars- my husbands is just an old beater that is paid for anyhow. I think its great to promote not living in debt- but sometimes its silly to expect everyone to find a way to do it. Just my two cents!

  75. Carol January 22, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

    That’s awesome! Congratulations! I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace class 3 times and I am applying what I learned. I’m on the envelope system and pay with cash only but use my debit card for gas. I’ve paid off 3 of my debts and now am working on paying off a loan that my dad made me and after that, my mortgage! I can’t wait till I am debt free.

  76. Sarah January 26, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

    I already loved you for all things Paleo, now that I know all this, I love you even more! I’m a Dave Ramsey fan and can’t wait to finish grad school and start paying off that debt!

  77. Ashley February 6, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    That’s a great article! I have always thought Dave Ramsey was genius! These are all things I have been doing for a very long time now. Minimal is always good, and the more money I make, the more money I save for a rainy day!

  78. Mariel February 11, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    I’m still a bit confused about $1000 in savings. So if you had $10,000 in savings, are you using the $9000 of it to pay towards the snowball debts?

    • The Paleo Mama February 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

      Yes, that is correct…we used some of our savings to pay off debt.

  79. Angela Day February 13, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

    This is amazing! my husband and I are planning on having a baby soon and I truly want to cut down on a lot of our debt and I know we spend on dumb things we shouldn’t! But we are starting to get alot better! If you don’t mind me asking what does your husband do? My husband had tons of questions and had no idea how to answer lol if not this is okay i just appreciate your blog!

  80. April D February 26, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    Congrats! We are working on paying off my student loans (my husbands will be forgiven in 8 years) and then will pay down the house to drop our PMI and re-evaluate. Definitely working to pay it off sooner rather than later. I’m going to read more about Ramsey, but I found it interesting that he suggests dropping your savings to 1k and paying off debt before saving an emergency fund…what if something were to happen (like it just did for us…our $5k medical deductible will be paid in full this year already!) and then you have to charge that amount? Not criticising the method that obviously worked for you, but I found that interesting.

    Paying off debt becomes a lot easier when you make a bit of a game out of it in your mind and really commit to that goal. We used to be money hoarders too, because we really didn’t make much when we were first together. Now we don’t make a ton, but enough, and we treat the money as something that is made to be used (not spent frivolously, but used for what we need). It’s all in your mindset.

    • The Paleo Mama February 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

      Thankfully nothing happened. He says that $1000 were to cover most things if something were to happen. Obviously medical expenses are so different and I think if you don’t have insurance then you might need to find a different amount in your emergency fund.

    • Kristin @ payment free life April 19, 2014 at 11:16 am #


      Dave recommends that if you have a high medical deductible that you put some money away to cover the costs if you can’t cash flow it. Maybe look into an HSA (Health Savings Account) so you can put the money away tax free. That way you can build up the fund faster.

  81. Nancy Norton February 26, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    Thanks for a great post! I just started re-reading Dave Ramsey’s book The Millionaire Next Door and using his snowball effort to pay off bills. One down. Many to go! It takes a dedication to be debt free but we owe it to ourselves and to our family. Love your blog!

  82. Kija February 26, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    We are in Week 8 of the 9 week Series of Dave Ramsey’s course. Thank you for your testimony…it lets me know it CAN be done!

  83. Kristin @ payment free life April 19, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    You guys are doing an amazing job! We’ve paid off over $100,000 using Ramsey’s plan with more debt to go. Keep up the intensity. It’s so worth it to see those minimum payments disappear.

  84. Liz Kuhns April 25, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

    My husband and I are teaching Dave’s class right now. It is so exciting to see the light go on as people ‘get it’. Debt is stressful; get out of it!

  85. Megan May 5, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    Really don’t understand why the envelope system does any good at all. I’m 18 and absolutely adore my credit card. I build my credit score, have never spent a penny on fees or interest, and make about $5-15 a month on cash back, I live on about $10 cash a month and everything else goes on the credit card. Even tuition.
    And no, I don’t spend more with a card. Money is money, it doesn’t matter if it’s paper or virtual. Just think about every purchase you’re making and a credit card is NOT a bad thing at all.

  86. Joe May 12, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    This is an interesting article, but what advice do you (or any of the people on here) have for families trying to survive on what is apparently some peoples food budgets?

  87. Jennifer Stephens May 20, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    Right now we have major credit card debt that is worrying me like crazy. I think after reading your post, and all the comments, I need to see if my library has this book. I have heard about it for years. If I could just get out of CC debt, I would feel a huge weight lifted off of me and my husband! We did it once before and promised ourselves we would be responsible and never do it again, but we are right back in the boat only deeper. UH!

  88. Christine May 23, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

    I started doing the envelope method in march. I cut down tv, groceries, we have one crappy car….and yet I find myself still somewhat struggling. Although my husband and I are in much better position financially. I guess its baby step. I’m 22 years old with debt of 24000 and I get so stressed out because I work 40+ hrs and it just seem like its not enough to get by. We have 2 young kids. Aaaarrgghhh the frustration….

  89. Kimberley June 5, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    I am in love with DAVE RAMSEY. But to see that you did so much in so little time is even more inspiring than him. I model my budget around his rules, and my husband tries to be on board. I cant wait to show him this, so that he too may find inspiration to really tackle our debt. We do not have much of it. But, the little bit we have should be gone, so that we can start enjoying our life to the fullest. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the post.

  90. Brooke June 14, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

    This post is so inspiring!! My husband JUST (two weeks ago) retired from the military and I am working at a non-profit and we have about $75000 in debt (between my student loans and one car)… we’ve paid off a LOT but those student loans are KILLING US.

    Question: so you had $1000 in savings, and that’s all you saved until your debt was paid off? I am struggling with the pay off debt vs. save up dilemma right now and am trying to figure out the best plan for us. Any input you have would be GREATLY appreciated! Thank you!!

  91. Rachel R. June 24, 2014 at 2:00 am #

    This is why we DON’T do Dave Ramsey. It’s great if you CAN, but your story is like all of the ones in his book – WAY outside of our reality. I’m not sure we even MAKE $27,000 in 6 months. If we do, that’s pretty close to ALL we make in 6 months. We do pretty well with the money we DO have, but we’re still in some credit card debt over the last several years from medical bills, emergency car repairs, etc. that have popped up. (And there is no emergency fund. Every time we get it set aside, there’s an actual emergency and we’re back to square one.) We had NO debt five years ago (or thereabouts), except our house payment. None. No credit cards. No student loans. No car payment. Nothing. But life keeps happening. Costs keep going up. Salaries DON’T. And Dave Ramsey’s system is pretty discouraging for those of us who just simply do not HAVE the cash to make ends meet and still make progress on anything.

  92. Candice July 3, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Thanks so much! It’s hard to understand what is best for your financial health. I was always told to save as much as possible, so I had been saving instead of paying off debt. I noticed how much higher my credit score is now by keeping my balances below 30%… And I LOVE for budgeting and spending trends. Ans it’s amazing how much you can cut down on bills when you call service providers… Makes you realize how much they overcharge us πŸ™

  93. Catherine July 18, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    Awesome progress! We discovered Dave last Thanksgiving and have paid off about $22k in 7 months. We still have a long way to go, but it helps to hear stories like this for encouragement. Thanks for sharing!

  94. Rachel July 18, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

    I was wondering if there was any way to explain the snowball effect in more detail? the last thing i want to do is spend money on something I don’t understand and will eventually give up out of frustration….

    • Rachel July 18, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

      Also curious how does it work when you have monthly payments…. Like i have student loans, car and credit card bills/debt that all have monthly payments…. I can’t just ignore the other 2 while i work on paying off the smallest one, so do I just put extra money towards the small one?

      • Rebecca August 12, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

        The way the baby step 2 works for paying off your debt snowball is as follows.
        1. List all of your debts smallest to largest (don’t worry about interest rates)
        2. Get current with each debt.
        3. Pay minimum payments each month on every debt.
        4. Throw every extra penny, nickel, dime toward the smallest debt.
        5. When your smallest debt is paid off, every penny you have been paying on that gets rolled into the second largest debt payment.
        6. Repeat this until all of your debts are paid off. (by the time you hit the larger one, you will have built up so much momentum.)

        You can do it, we are on baby step 3 and it is awesome.
        If you commit you will be surprised at how quick it will go!

  95. Aimee July 22, 2014 at 2:21 am #

    My husband lost his job last year, and we didn’t have money in savings to help out (we were trying to pay off credit card debt). I sold a lot of our stuff on eBay as got a second job (whe he looked for a job). We tightened our budget, and did money fasts (e.g. today is Monday, let’s not spend anything until Friday). We didn’t eat out or go on dates, or really go anywhere! Yesterday our credit card debt got paid off and now we can focus on paying off our car (we are a one car family, too).

  96. DianeMargaret July 22, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    Are you guys working with salary jobs or hourly?
    It is AWFULLY hard to budget, and build any savings (I WISH we had $1000!!!), when you never know how much will be coming in from week to week!!!
    Some weeks it’s around $600…some weeks, we’re lucky if it’s $400.
    Right now, we NEED $550/week to get the bills paid and food bought. :\

    How do you do it with no predictable amount?!!?!!

    • Rebecca August 12, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

      Ok if you go onto and click on tools a menu comes up and you want to select Dave’s budgeting Forms. He then post a form for you to download for irregular income. This will be a good place for you to start. Also if you listen to his pod casts, you will hear callers talking about the same issue of the “unknown.” You can do this, his plan really really works, it does take a large commitment, but it is so worth it.

      P.S. my husband and I are on baby step 3 right now and it’s awesome!

  97. Anna July 24, 2014 at 12:58 am #

    Your post is great- will definitely use many of your strategies. As for selling things, would you recommend ebay?

  98. Carl July 28, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    ..Just a couple of suggestions to help:

    1. for tv we use netflix too but for even more FREE programming we bought an xbmc box and can watch almost anything (tv/movies/even live tv) for free with the xbmc box.

    2. for phone: we use only the magic jack, & if you download the app with it you can have it on your iphone too and only pay about 30$ per year… and that includes long distance calling to anywhere in north america…

    .. anyway.. these have been a couple of specifics that have helped us…

  99. Yolanda @ Extra Student Loan Money August 7, 2014 at 1:32 am #

    I am rather late to this post, but I must say your journey was very encouraging! I’m currently paying off student loan debt now and I hope to have it knocked out much faster than the 2 year goal I set for myself.

    I am very interested in reading more about how/why you stopped using your debit card. I currently use an envelope system too, but I still use my debit card as well. I guess I’ll poke around a little more on your blog. πŸ™‚

  100. Erica Muray August 27, 2014 at 11:54 pm #

    Any suggestions on how to make more money blogging????

    I would love to pay off out debt and be able to buy an apt. We are scared to move out of our small one bedroom paying 710/m just in rent and end up on the wrong side of town. Scary things have been going on and I try to avoid that at all cost coming from a town of less then 1000 to a bigger city. It is so hard to take the plunge and pay extra when you never know when one of us may lose a job. I work at a hospital 30 hrs and then am a newer hairstylist at a small salon and the pay is never the same.

  101. Erica Muray August 27, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    buy a house**** lol We need out of this little apt.

  102. Serena November 3, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your story! You’re great!

  103. Guntitan November 12, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

    Thank you for this article. I am going to share this with my wife. Some of these things I have thought of but never implemented like by reducing my savings account to pay off debt. I always thought it was too risky but made sense since you stop paying for interest.

  104. Lorna November 17, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    Thanks for this idea Dawn. I’m trying to feed my family a healthier diet. We are four people and I have under $100 a week for food – where did you learn your techniques – I’m hoping that they apply to produce found in Ireland!

  105. Rana November 29, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

    My husband and I took Financial Peace University at our church and up until that time I dont think we realized how bad of shape our finances were in. We were floating along from crisis to crisis never planning ahead for the next big purchase. It has been 2 years and we have cut down on eating out which was our biggest overindulgence for the month. We have paid off 50,000 in debt and have 24,000 to go not including our house. I encourage everyone to read all of Dave Ramseys books. I ordered them on Amazon to save money. Ive read and reread Financial Peace and many others. I also listen to I heart radio Dave Ramsey to keep me inspired.
    You may want to know how we did it? We havent taken a vacation for more thatn 2 days away. We used to take multiple vacas per year. We eat out once a week instead of almost daily. Brown bag lunches and cook a large pot of something to always have leftovers. Go to free events and steer away from things that cost a lot of money. Plan ahead for each pay check before the month begins. Be on the same page with spouse and dont live so strictly that we cant follow it. I alos go on websites like coupon mom. com and look for deals at the grocery store. I cant wait to be DEBT FREE.

  106. Jason December 2, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    I was curious approx. what you and your husbands incomes are? I think that may play a huge role in the amount of time to pay of some debt. We spend a ton on food but plan our meals. I think we spend more on wine. LOL Any just curious to see some idea of your income as if it is close to ours or other peoples the 6 months might be close but if you both have an income in the $80-$100,000 range this will be much easier. thanks for sharing

  107. Michelle December 26, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    WOW! SO helpful. I’ll be moving in with my boyfriend soon and we’re looking into getting an apartment with my private University debt hanging over me. I’ll be sure to use your advice to get it managed.

  108. Simply Sae December 30, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

    I just came across your blog article today, randomly through Pinterest. I am so grateful. My husband and I are full-time students at the University of Oregon and I will be done with school in June. We are “older” students and we have lived in poverty nearly our entire 18 yr marriage. That’s why we decided to go to school. We needed to improve our situation to better raise our family and improve our income potential. We have been blessed these 5 years with the ability to have state benefits for groceries. I know there’s a lot of stigma out there about state benefits but fortunately we are one of the few who are doing our best to get off state assistance. That aside, we have learned to budget our groceries at less than $150/wk for our family of 4 for 5 years and we have never gone over. I am very aware of what we buy and spend because once the “food card” runs out, that’s it until it renews for the next month. This has taught me so much about budgeting. I am looking forward to taking this knowledge and habit with me into my next adventure after finding a job and starting my career. Also, since my husband and I have both acquired a LARGE amount of student loan debt, I can’t wait to pay it off very quickly. Luckily we never got sucked in to credit card debt and have learned to live on about $22k/yr…and in Oregon that is double tough. Thank you for sharing and inspiring me to continue to live frugally and pay off debt. Your story is very encouraging.

  109. Christine O January 10, 2015 at 8:04 am #

    Hey, I found your article through Pinterest….this is so encouraging and you have some great practical tips to follow, thanks!

  110. Lindsey Atkins January 14, 2015 at 11:10 am #

    We are doing the same thing right now. What is killing us is unexpected costs coming up, like needing a new washer/dryer, other health bills, etc…It seems to set us back a couple months each time!

  111. Ashley Z. January 14, 2015 at 9:09 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this. My husband and I are in a LOT of debt and I’m feeling so hopeless right now, like we’re never going to get out of it but this gives me hope. I’m going to try some of your ideas and see if they work for us. Thanks!!

  112. Cass January 19, 2015 at 1:01 pm #


    This is really helping me so much, i have a small income with quite a large amount of dept for my age. This is really pushing me to save money, i wrote down everything i have for expenses and was blown away from my stupid spending. I am truly motivated to better myself with regard to spending and i cannot wait to see the outcome. I really cannot thank you enough for sharing this blog. I hope my dept gets paid off as efficiently as yours.

  113. Deanna January 24, 2015 at 9:12 am #

    Thanks for sharing, informing & encouraging. This is confirmation…. God’s an on time God!

  114. Megan January 28, 2015 at 9:39 am #

    Found your post via Pinterest. Inspiring! Last year I discovered I had various food sensitivities and did a lifestyle makeover. Trying to eat healthier can get expensive as you’re learning. Add this to the fact that we’re in the middle of using Dave Ramsey’s advice to pay down our debt too and it can be challenging. Thankfully with a budget, tracking our spending, and using the snowball technique – we have been successfully tackling our debt! We dropped our $43K student loan debt to $8k! After paying that off, we’ll only have $11K left to pay off in form of a car loan and then we’re debt free. Woohoo! Thanks for posting your story and for the added tips and tricks. Good luck to us all! πŸ™‚

  115. Amy January 30, 2015 at 9:13 pm #

    Hi! Im 24 years old and am looking to pay off student loans!
    When it comes to the snowball method… and taking the smallest debt..would that be breaking down my total student loan into the individual loans that make it up? i have them all together and paying am Min. payment… any advice?

    • The Paleo Mama February 13, 2015 at 8:50 am #

      We followed advice from Dave Ramsey materials and books, and that would be a great place for you to start.

  116. Sean February 20, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

    Congrats! My own little story…

    Realizing that we were in debt up to our eyeballs, I figured I needed to do something. I took this past year and applied nearly every penny I earned towards our “stupid” debt.

    I thought I was frugal – I only spent money on things for the house, some clothing and a few gifts. I believe the problem snowballed when I purchased a house, then a 2k lawn mower, then a 2k shed, then 7k in appliances, then 4k in flooring, then 3k in cabinets, 2 car payments and seemingly never ending trips to The Home Depot and Lowes. There was also left over cc debt from the “broke days” of yester-year. That alone was hovering around 11k and there were misc. store cards (walmart, clothing…. somewhere around the 10k mark).

    The numbers were depressing. My goal was modest – Erase all of our CC debut (about 50k) and a small-ish student loan I had for 15 years (was down to $1500). Do all of this while keeping up with any new purchases (Christmas, home improvements and gifts).

    Total Paid To Date: $58,005.86 (3/6/2014-02/20/2015)

    That dollar figure represents 100% of my CC debt and a student loan. I shifted 10k of my debt (after I had paid off 25k) to a lending club loan at 5% which I just paid off today ($7k in one transaction; 3 year loan, paid off in 7 months).

    This is only possible because she just started earning 75k. She paid the “what we need to stay alive and current” bills, while I tackled the old and potentially new debt. It’s a great feeling.

    Total Paid To Date: $58,005.86 (3/6/2014-02/20/2015) – and I have the mile long txt document logging all payments to prove it πŸ˜‰

    I managed to do all of this while paying for propane, paying property taxes, padding personal savings, padding my daughters savings, and throwing money into our HSA account (braces are in our future…).

    Now, we just have to pay off a 17.5k solar loan (started at 20k), her 75k student loan debt (started at 70k and damnnn, graduate school is crazy expensive…) and 11k on a car…. heh, easy right? We should be free and clear (minus the mortgage) in another 18 months if all goes well.

    • Spazabat March 24, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

      Just thought to share a story and to thank Dave for all these great ideas,,,, We have been and are is no savings. We have been and are beyond step 3 just havnt rushed/ We all can teach people how to make money, but like most regular people they have said most do not have savings these days, if u do great! This should also note that everyones situation is diffrent, some make more some make less. We had major cut backs in past years We had to commit and made major sacrifices, I have worked at this for 3 years, and I will always sacrifice. All you have to do is buy envolopes put $1 dollar in the envolope and hide it but never touch it, You will have all your debt paid off livng a wonderful peach life if u sell your porsche, sell your homes, you cancel phones, dont eat except for beans and look at the envolpe in about 6 months and behold you have $1 dollar all your debt is gone, ur savings is $1000 and ur debt is gone, this makes no cents! and if you dont make dollars$$$$$ you dont make cents you payed off 27,000 in six months congrats, I took daves advice and also retired at 37, I now make 122k a year from home I fix computers and do ebay items on tuesdays and i am off all week, we have no heavy bills and even got a brand new dodge ram for almoat free , payements went from 900 on 911, to 233 mnth. with all this advice i am on my way to being a millionaire! thanks again

  117. Regina March 31, 2015 at 1:12 am #

    I love Dave Ramsey. We did he class in 2011 & I still go back and review. We are currently paying off debt that we built up because we had a rough patch where we didn’t have extra and had to live with debt but its time for it to go!

  118. Kim May 4, 2015 at 1:46 am #

    I am interested in the blogging. How and where do you blog for money?

  119. Kate June 30, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

    I stumbled upon this blog post about a year ago. I keep falling off the wagon but I keep getting back on. All due to this post. I have eliminated 5 credit cards and a mountain of credit card debt already. At the same time I took hold of our finances like a boss. I was once the person who would break down and cry if my husband talked to me about finances. I couldn’t handle it. My childhood consists of my parents fighting about, complaining about, and then divorcing over money. I am thankful for your post. In rereading it again I feel the same urge to sell all of our overflowing crap and get those credit cards gone. I appreciate you taking the time! Thanks!!!

    • Jackie Ritz July 1, 2015 at 9:07 am #

      It is really encouraging to read your comment. Keep pushing forward to the finish line no matter how long it takes or how many times you “fall off the wagon”! You will feel so free and proud of yourself when you reach the goal…and you will reach it!

  120. Angie July 8, 2015 at 12:51 am #

    Interesting..BUT: HOW would it be possible to pay off an amount like $27,000 in 6 months when somebody does not make more than $25,000 in 1 YEAR??????

    • Melissa July 14, 2015 at 6:22 pm #

      Hi there, maybe by selling off thing such as a car, furniture and other articles they are able to put away that money and by budgeting it can help save $5-$20 a week, I have done it before, but then I spend it before I can save it long enough to pay off debt :(.

    • Dani July 18, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

      She mentions that they had some savings (they were about ready to buy a house, so a downpayment plus closing costs is usually at least $10,000 or more) and used all but $1000 to start on the plan. That, and like Melissa said, selling extra stuff. Dave Ramsey likes to say “sell so much that the kids (or dog/cat) thinks they’re next!

  121. Melissa July 14, 2015 at 6:20 pm #

    Hi there! I actually just started out pay off process for credit cards, right now we have 5 open and all different amounts, I have started with the lowest one and we are going to have it paid off in 5 months and go up from there. It feels good to have some control over our debt and seeing as how I am working now, but probably won’t be once we PCS in 7 months I am trying to save as much as I can and sell everything we do not need! Thank you for your strength of being a military wife and going through all you went through. You are an inspiration, and I also am excited to look into the essential oils you were talking about on your blog, I use peppermint and lavender mix right now for my migraines and sore knees! Thank you again!!

  122. Kristin August 4, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    Wow this is very inspirational, i’m glad I read this! My husband and I own an auto repair business and our debt is skyrocketing…mostly because of our DAILY trips to the grocery store. Thank you for sharing this, I can’t wait to start making a plan for our finances!!

  123. Janet Fazio September 11, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

    Perfect motivation for tackling the budget blues. Are you still doing the essential oils? Interested in how that worked out for you.

  124. Meredith September 15, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

    Holy smokes, that is fantastic! I read Ramsey’s book a few years ago and tried like crazy to enact the principles. Some stuck, some didn’t–mostly, though, I loved that it forced us to take a straight-up, honest look at our finances. When I went through the bank statement to see where the money was going, so SO much was frivolous junk that I couldn’t even remember. I like his idea to “tell your money where to go” instead of it telling you. That has worked well for us. We’ve paid off a car, built up our savings, tell our money where to go so we’re not overdrafting each month, and getting on the right track. It’s a great feeling! So happy for you! Continued success!

  125. Rebecca @ LiveWellThriveMore September 17, 2015 at 9:25 am #

    This is such a great story! My husband and I also got mad at a car loan, we made the minimum payments on it for the first 6 months we owned it, then paid the entire thing off in another 6 months, we owned our car in exactly 1 year in July of 14′! It was supposed to take 6 years to pay it off! Then we built a 6 months emergency fund in the other half of year, now we are saving for a down payment for our home!
    Having no debt and a decent emergency fund during times where we don’t know if the government is going to have a financial collapse because of all of their debt, or if the stock market will crash, or if the economy will crash again, is such a reassuring and safety net! πŸ™‚

  126. Tanja September 28, 2015 at 8:19 pm #

    I’ve read this post a few months ago and decided to attack my credit card debt – while i thought things were getting better, my current statement says otherwise – BUT, now I’m getting mad at and will conquer that mountain!

    Thank you for breaking up your process, it helps every time i read it. And thank you for writing this!

  127. lisseu vapeur October 3, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

    Wonderful blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.

    Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are
    so many options out there that I’m completely confused ..
    Any ideas? Kudos!

  128. Cassie October 16, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    This blog post is more inspiring than most that I have read – thank you! Like you and your husband, my wife and I often thought that student loan debt didn’t matter. So we had our little bit of credit card debt and a car loan, but we weren’t really worried because it wasn’t significant. But then we sat down and really looked at our finances…. if we included our student loan debt, we have almost $200,000 in debt! Outrageous! We couldn’t believe that we had stacked up that much debt at such a young age (she is 25 and I am 23). Eventually we want to own a house and have kids, but with debt like that – it makes it next to impossible. It’s like suffocating or being buried under a mountain. We are throwing everything we can at our debt, but it’s quite the effort for little return (when the debt is that large). so thank you for sharing this with me!

  129. Julie Cole November 2, 2015 at 3:09 pm #

    One way that I saved money when my kids were younger and still living at home was, in August before school started, I would go to Walmart and by toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, lotion, for everyone in the family for a whole years supply. This way when my son or daughter would tell me they are about out of deodorant we did not have to go to the store and get it. This saved on gas, time, and most off all money. You know how it is when you go to get one thing, like milk? Then somehow you leave and you have spent $50 on stuff you can live without! This really helped us stay on a budget. Now we are in the season of life thinking about retirement. We want to retire next year but want to pay off our mortgage first. I recently became a consultant for Rodan + Fields and am using the extra money I make with that home based business to put towards the debt.

  130. Stephanie November 23, 2015 at 1:33 am #

    You are an inspiration! The hubs and I hope to do this same thing very soon. Most of our bills are a couple of credit cards on his side and a mountain of student loans on my side. After those are put away we want to look into purchasing some property and starting a farm. One thing we have focused on on a regular basis is using our income tax refund at the beginning of the year toward paying up our monthly bills (lights, water, etc.) And it truly helps a big deal not to have to focus on those. Good luck in your next baby step! You’re doing great. ?

  131. Cindy December 11, 2015 at 5:23 am #

    I started with Dave Ramsey and took it a step further to You Need A Budget. The difference is it is MUCH more detailed and ability to be customized, the numbers carry over if you have a “fund” lets say for a quarterly garbage, and it wants you to budget a month ahead. So you use your December earnings for January spending. No more living paycheck to paycheck! I really love it and I used all the Dave Ramsey tools and this is better for me. I m not huge into cash budget because it’s way easier to swipe the card. On YNAB, you reconcile your accounts and categorize the purchases, so you still are accountable for every swipe.

    • Kym Stroup January 12, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

      I’ve been a big fan of Dave for years! I actually cancelled my Sirious radio subscription on new vehicle because they no longer carried him on their list. One comment that I would like to make after reading through all of the comments. If you complain that you can’t save money because you have a 1600 a month house payment… you don’t own your home, your home owns you.Your washer or dryer goes out, there is this thing called a laundromat that can be used instead of going into debt on a new set. Dave’s plan works, and starting by paying off the smallest debt first is a moral booster. You then apply that money to the next, and it’s so exhilarating to see numerous debts disappear as opposed to one large debt that could take considerably longer. (That’s gazelle instant gratafication)Being raised on a farm, with that mentality, why don’t you have a garden? We always canned green beans, tomatoes and tomato sauce, froze sweet corn, and apple sauce, and zucchini. Buy a used deep freezer, and hit the sales! I never pay over $1.99 for chicken breast, freeze in individual servings for your family size, and my local supermarket does pork combo packages @.98 cents per lb., they always do family pack discounts. You can always buy a used deep freezer for $25-100. BTW, canning jars, and freezer containers can be picked up at garage sales for next to nothing. It’s easy to make excuses for why you can’t do something. My motto is don’t tell me why I can’t, tell me how I can.

      • Kym Stroup January 12, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

        I just want to add that I’m 58 yrs. old, and it’s not a have to at this point, but a why should I pay more kind of thing.We call it the grocery game. Having lived the Dave Ramsey plan for quite a few years, I don’t think that I should pay top price for things just because can, I would rather give that additional money to whomever I choose, not who my creditors choose.

  132. Nadia Komarova January 12, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

    This is amazing. Me and my husband got married a year ago. We are very young I’m 19 and he is 20. We went thru a training of financial peace university (iI think that’s what it’s called ) by Dave Ramsey. And it changed our view on money. Just in one year of marriage we not only saved up thousands but saved hundreds if not more on spending by budgeting and sticking to it. You inspired me to share about how it was for us. Im so happy you guys are doing this. We are currently saving to build our first home. I have 2 job right now which add to 35 hours and he works full time and a lot over time. But I still want to make some extra cash maybe by blogging. Would you mind sharing some tips with me. Maybe you can check out my blog too. Thanks.

  133. Donna January 28, 2016 at 5:57 pm #

    I really enjoyed your article, alot of useful tips.

  134. Shannon January 30, 2016 at 9:08 am #

    Your story was both encouraging and inspiring. We were basically debt free and starting Ramsey’s plan. We were in the process of looking for health insurance when my husband got sick. We went from no debt to $17,000 almost overnight!!! We have learned some tough lessons about having an emergency fund and always living BELOW our income. Thanks for your story and GREAT tips on how you did it. We are so happy for you!!!

  135. Clara January 31, 2016 at 11:32 pm #

    I come back to this post occasionally because I find it very inspiring. I would love to hear an update since August of 2013!

  136. Zach Wright February 2, 2016 at 1:32 am #

    I am in a whole heap of debt,($17,000+) with student loans and personal, plus having a second child and buying a new house with higher utilities. I just told my wife this evening that I had been using my credit card to help with our mortgage and she flipped out
    Understandable right… Me being a man I never felt the need to ask her for money, to proud. Now I have dug myself and her into a great debt. I worked so hard to pay her debt off before we got married, and forgot to take care of my own in the mean time.
    I screwed my credit from when I was 18 and got it fixed at 25, now I’ve screwed it at 33 and don’t see a comeback after kids and my student loans from when I gave school a second shot.
    I am only asking for any advice to help me regain my financial situation for the betterment of my livelihood, and my families.

    Anyone with advise please help, please please

  137. Tara Coppola February 3, 2016 at 6:26 am #

    Good for you! Dave Ramsey is AWESOME! He has helped so many to be in the position you are now in. Good luck on more baby steps…

  138. Elyar February 12, 2016 at 12:00 am #

    I know about Dave Ramsey and I have checked a lot of his videos before, There are a lot of nice things he is teaching but some of them might not work for everybody. For example if you have a car payment like I do but you have equity you can’t call that debt because if you sell the car you will have cash in your hand! What kind of debt is that? You might say how about the interest rate I’m paying, what if I say I don’t pay interest? Its 0%, now you might say what I had a late payment, I have savings I will never have that happen! Case by Case is different, not everybody should take your method or Dave’s.

    I want to buy a house and I’m living in Seattle, I have monthly debt (payment toward my rent!) it is around $1,500 and thats almost the cheapest you can get in Seattle. Should I buy a house and pay that payment toward my house or wait more and pay my so called nonsense other debts and buy the same house 2 years later for 100k more? City by city is different, you can’t put everybody in the same program. One car family? Here is America, what bus is going to pick you up on time and take you to work? You might not even get a job if you don’t have a car in Seattle, specially if you are living far from you job.

    Finances are like finger prints, they are unique for every single person, to get rid of debt is good, but we must have a right definition for debt, every monthly payment you pay is not debt. If it is, so my rent is a debt! So my insurance is a debt, but its stupid to call these kind of things debt, we are living to have fun, its not just focus on finances and get tired finally and just get into a deep debt because you were obsessed for a long time. Try to have balance in your life. And one more thing, if you don’t have any debt for a long time, nobody will give you a loan with no credit. Then you have to forget about buying a house or you must have saved tone of money to be able to do it. Getting rid of credit cards will not make you strong, using them wisely will make you strong, I use my credit cards and I pay them off and I get miles and money back and I never have a debt! I can do the same thing with the credit card that you do with the cash, having limits!!! And get some money back from the bank! Isn’t this smarter? You just need to be your own boss and control your money and feelings. Thats all, don’t cut your credit cards! Just put them inside of a plastic bag like I do and use only one or 2 to build your credit and pay them off monthly, never pay interest but get some money back from the bank.

    I could write more but I think every person has a different way of life and a different way of surviving method. Not everybody could be Dave Ramsey and think about money 24/7.

  139. Tiffany February 20, 2016 at 2:10 am #

    This is so great! We’ve known about Dave Ramsey for a long time, but we are just now finally going through FPU. I have a family of 4, we’re DEBT FREE πŸ™‚ fully emergency funded, and on Baby Step 3B saving for a down payment. I read through a lot of comments, but I’d love to know where y’all are at now. I’ve had a hard time trying to get us the proper nutrition on our minimal food budget, but I’m looking into Real Meals thanks to this post. I’m looking forward to exploring more of your blog!

  140. Lindsay March 6, 2016 at 6:59 am #

    Bravo!!! I stumbled upon your blog on Pinterest. My husband and I are die-hard Dave Ramsey “addicts” and have been debt free for over 5 years following his system (minus the darn mortgage). I LOVE reading how other people are working to be debt free because even after 5 years– it’s NOT easy to watch friends buy new cars, take fabulous vacations, buy nicer clothes than what we do. Not because we can’t afford it but because we have a different mindset. I too would love to know where you’re at with it now! You’re inspiring a lot of people including me! Keep it up please! πŸ™‚

    Lindsay in Kansas

  141. Crafty Sundays March 6, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

    Love this post and love the Dave Ramsey system. We were hoarding cash as well and realized we didn’t need to hoard more than 6 months of expenses. We are now throwing it at the mortage and are very close to getting it paid off.

    Best of luck to you on your debt free journey!!! You can do it.

  142. Vicki March 24, 2016 at 12:18 pm #

    I too stumbled across this on Pinterest. And the timing is funny because I just looked into taking the Dave Ramsey classes, but settled with a financial coach who uses the Ramsey method and is willing to get us the book. We are closer to retirement than you but I just couldn’t see us ever retiring unless we get the debt under control. Thanks for your inspiration!

  143. Brissa April 6, 2016 at 6:48 pm #

    I loved this post! I was wondering if you could write a post regarding your monthly budget breakdown-how much you spent on each category? It’s always good to see others on the same journey and I was wondering if some of my categories should be decreased!

  144. sarah April 11, 2016 at 7:41 pm #

    Thanks!!!! inspiring to a fellow sahm love this

  145. Susan April 14, 2016 at 10:45 am #

    I have enjoyed reading your article. My husband and I are researching ways to become debt free. I do have one question. You mentioned that you were “money hoarders”. When you took your savings down to $1000 did you take the rest of the money and put it in one lump sum toward your debit that you were working on? I’m just trying to figure out if $27,000 in 6 months is feasible for someone who has no savings at all. Thank you!

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