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Debt Hacking – 8 Years Later You Won’t Believe it

David_Thoreau_Kellie_Chasse

All these industries are using hacking at the end of their terms, so why not call it debt hacking?  Startup companies call fast growth “growth hacking”, so I will term debt hacking for a focused effort of getting rid of debt.

Let’s be real for a second though, because getting rid of debt or changing a life habit is not an easy task and certainly not one where someone can write 500-1,000 lines of code to fix.

I love this quote by Winston Churchill when it comes to tackling any problem.

Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential. – Winston Churchill

Kellie and I started our journey and it took almost 8 years to be fully debt free after we began.  Did we excel for the full 8 years without fail?  Absolutely not and it is very difficult to remain fully focused for all that time.  Truth be told, we started small with our goal of being able to live off one income and the goal grew from there.  We took baby steps.

How do you continue even when you fall?  You keep pushing forward, just like Winston says.  Continuous effort will beat anything you throw at it.  We posted our goal on the refrigerator, so every day we had visibility to our goal (accountability).

Debt Free GoalPosting our goal and progress out in the open did a couple things.

  1. We saw not just the goal, but our progress along the way.
  2. Our friends got to see our goal and many of them were extremely supportive.
  3. Once your goal is public you have accountability to your goal with yourself and your loved ones.

In 2005 we had $208,000 in debt including our home.  It was not until 2013 when we became 100% debt free with our 6-12 months of emergency fund in place.  If you listen to Dave Ramsey like we do, we hear people who are able to do this faster and some take longer.  It depends on the focus and of course the size of their shovel.

Anyone who tells you becoming debt free is easy is not telling the truth.  Debt hacking requires us to change our mindset from the consumer mindset we are brought up with.  How many people around you drive vehicles over 10 years old?  How many people have Trak Phones vs. monthly plans?  How many people go to lunch or get coffee at a coffee shop 2-3 times a week or more?  How many people have cable television?

If you want to be 100% debt free is takes work and you need to push and plan.

This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure. – Winston Churchill

Debt hacking is first and foremost the internal fortitude to decide you want to change your life.  You can click on the image and print it out to put your own numbers in on the thermometer and track your own progress.  This is exactly what we had on our refrigerator with numbers and we filled in where we were every couple months.

What are your next steps?  This is exactly what we did and it worked for us.

  1. List all your debts smallest to the largest.
  2. Make a family budget (yes everything you spend money on)
  3. Agree on what your spending should be in each area and most importantly stick to it.
  4. All your extra money goes to the smallest debt first until it is paid off and then move to the next one.
  5. All the money we used on the other debts begins to grow to tackle the next ones (thus the popular term:  debt snowball).

Becoming debt free is not easy, but it is very freeing.  Remember what Dave Ramsey says “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”  We are able to do things today, we could not do before, because we are debt free.

I have received several emails and if you have questions, please do not hesitate to send them my way.  I enjoy reading the success stories as well as helping others along their journey.

Have a wonderful day.

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