My husband and I recently did a presentation about how to get out of debt. It was super successful and the audience really responded with awesome questions and comments. I wanted to share with you our story and tips on how to quickly become debt free!

9 facts about paying off debt {the truth you don't want to hear}

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Our favorite story to tell is obviously our own story on getting out of debt. We did not have any debt when we got married, except his student loans. When he finally graduated with his Masters we were sitting above $62,000.

I’ll be honest, at first I did not comprehend how much money that was. I didn’t really get it. Not until we had to start paying it off. I believe those first 2 months they had us on a plan of paying over $700. Which happened to be the same month that I quit my job because we had our first kid.

how to #payoffdebt quickly and effectively! #finances #studentloans #debt Click To Tweet

Well here is how we did it. We paid off more than $40,000 and saved up an additional 20% for a down payment on a house. All within a year.

My husband is a HUGE fan of Dave Ramsey. So we followed his framework. I’ll be honest, if you can’t handle things told straight as it is, this advice is not for you.

My feelings are, if you are not willing to step up to the plate and get serious about your finances, you aren’t ready.

When you are ready to grow up and sacrifice now so that you can be incredibly happy & secure later, then feel free to come back to this formula.

When you use these steps, you will get out of debt. There is just no way around it.

9 must have habits to get out of debt


The first thing we addressed was how can we make more money? More money will give you more cashflow to pay off more debt at a time.

Get a second job.

Get a job online. Check out this tutorial (27 ways to make money online for SAHMs), this tutorial (5 ways to make money online while you work)

Sell your stuff.

Become an affiliate of something {meaning you get paid a portion for leading someone else to buy. Amazon or ShareaSale are my favorite two}. The cool thing is you don’t need a website to sell affiliate products. Facebook is one of the best platforms to sell products.

Start a blog. This is seriously the best advice out there on starting a blog {and trust me, I’ve studied this for over a year}.

Sell Pizzas.

Teach something you know.

Do overtime.

Make money from apps.

Or just find another job that pays more.

Whatever you do, just make more money. If you are dedicated enough to focus on paying off debt, you won’t have to focus on this step for very long. It will be a sacrifice, but it will be worth the extra boost.


Yes. Spend Less Money! The best way to get out of debt is to stop spending more than what you are making! That will at least stop the cycle of getting you into further debt.

Clip coupons

Stop going out to eat

Plan ahead

Don’t buy new clothes, shoes, or that “stuff” that adds up all too quickly

Find a cheaper place to live

The basics: don’t buy things you can’t afford. And stop spending money on things you don’t need. This phase, of paying off debt, will be difficult but more rewarding and freeing than you ever imagined!


Once you have established how you can make more money, and stop spending so much, now you can start saving for an emergency.

Yes, save before you pay off debt.

You must have some type of security net before you can put every penny to your debts. Dave Ramsey recommends $1,000 to begin.

This security net is not about those little things that come up every month – you can live without those for now. This is for the real emergencies. This is …. well a real emergency. Your car breaks and you have no other way of getting to work. You have a medical emergency. Something major happens with your house.

You should not touch this money unless it’s an emergency.


Once you have figured out how to add to your income and shave off unnecessary and undisciplined purchases, now is the time to create a budget.

You can use THIS blank budget spreadsheet I’ve created. It’s a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that has all of the categories and formulas to get you started.

Now just because you write down all of your expenses in a spreadsheet does not mean you are going to pay off debt. You must calculate money in vs money out and strategically formulate your financial plan from there.

The second half of this part is actually sticking to it. My husband and I are awesome at creating the perfect budget but sometimes we aren’t awesome at sticking with it during the month.


When it comes to sticking to your budget sometimes you need help being accountable. Ideally your spouse will help in this part.

Each person’s “accountability” will look a little different, but for my hubby and I we downloaded the Mint app.

For us it’s the perfect way to know our exact status as the month progresses. If you aren’t familiar with it, the app will let you know how much money you have and how much debt you have. It lets you create “envelopes” or different “budgets”. As an example we’ve created a grocery budget of $500.00, and anytime we spend money on groceries it will add it to that particular budget.

There are a ton of other features, but it’s amazing.

Whatever you find to be your niche, you need to be accountable and very aware of your monthly progress.


Once you have your budget in place, you will know how much money is left over. Say you have $300 left over. Put that $300 towards your smallest bill in addition to what your monthly payment for that bill might be.

Once you are done paying your smallest bill off, take your extra $300 and the money you paid towards the required monthly payment and pay that towards the next smallest bill.

Continue to do that until all your debts are paid off.

Understanding the debt snowball will enable you to pay off debts more effectively and much quicker than any other method.


One of my favorite sayings in the exercise world comes from the tough yet effective, Jillian Michaels. In every workout DVD I own of hers she always says, “make every second count!”

In your efforts of paying off debt you must make every penny count! Part of paying off debt is breaking the mindset that we think, “Oh it’s only a few bucks. No biggie.”

make every penny count when paying off debt! #financialclarity #payoffdebt #healthyliving Click To Tweet

Every dollar matters because they add up very quickly – either against your goals or towards your goals. Make them work towards you.


Now that you have a good system in place, try to make more money again. The more you can make, the more you can add to each bill and the quicker you can get out of debt.


The most important part of paying off debt is your ability to have the right perspective. In my world we often refer to that as “the eternal perspective”.

What I mean by that is just having the mindset that your struggles and sacrifices will pay off. You won’t live this strict forever – especially if you do it now, you won’t have to worry about it later. And that’s the idea behind Dave Ramsey’s saying:

Live today like no one else so you can live tomorrow like no one else

Keep perspective that money isn’t everything. Family, faith and love should be our focus. We shouldn’t be overly obsessed with our finances, rather actively put good effort to becoming financially free.

Life is to be enjoyed not just endured quote by president gordon be hinkley

I have experienced the bonds of debt and it can be debilitating. People lose sleep over their piles of debt. Marriages and families fall apart because of debt. Don’t let that be you. 

Make the money you do have work for you. Make it work towards your goals. Get out of debt so you can be free and peaceful!

For more tips on getting out of debt check out this book – it completely changed my view of money.

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