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Updated: Apr 5, 2021

Debt freedom is in! Over the past 3 years I've heard much more talk about individuals and families striving toward debt freedom, wealth building and just trying to get their money right.

Being debt free is countercultural -- it requires you to be different, visionary, set boundaries, deny yourself of things you don’t need. It is tough and personally, we have had to modify, re-evaluate and pause due to now having a baby and a influx of home issues that needed to be done (life right?), but now we are ready to get back on track because time is ticking. In 2019, we paid off over 50K (car loan, student loans, etc.) and we have more to go!

Whether you are just getting started, on the fence or, coming back from a hiatus it doesn’t matter. You are here now and I'm giving you 14 ways that have personally helped me and my family on this debt journey.

1. Shop your pantry, closet, garage, the entire home

Before you go buy anything, do a nice sweep of your home. You will be surprised to see what you can repurpose, reuse or upcycle. You may not need those rubber bands, extra toilet paper or pair of new shoes like you thought. Those few minutes to do a quick check has saved us gas to go to the store, money to buy things like soap and lotion and time! We can't get time back.

2. Learn how to preserve and store food

Food waste is a huge problem in the united states already (about 40 million tons) so learning how to store produce to maximize freshness and quality will save you money, but also help the planet. This has become a personal household goal after having to throw produce away because I didn't understand proper storage. Definitely worth some research!

3. Find free activities to do

Yup, that includes date night and family weekend activities. As a family it’s a perfect time to do a scenic drive, a scavenger hunt, holiday festivals, or do one of the activities listed in this post.

4. Use cash back apps

Before you buy anything in the grocery store or shop online for your new coat, furniture or diapers and baby clothes, download apps like Dosh, Ibotta and Rakuten. All of these are apps are very simple to use BUT it does require effort to link your accounts or redeem offers/upload receipts. Depending on the item you can get upwards of 15-20% cash back while shopping at your favorite stores.

5. Do a "no spend" week/month

This may require some accountability partners, but setting a designated length of time to not buy things (with the exception of essentials and paying bills) places you in a position to be extra creative and helps you build a discipline muscle. If this is something you are seriously considering but need people to do it with, join our community of husbands and wives!

6. Embrace staycations

Its tempting to go out of the state and travel especially now when you may be cooped up in your home and getting restless (or just FOMO), but taking a vacation in your local area (or even a short drive) and staying at a airbnb will save you hundreds of dollars. Some of these places even have cribs and accommodations to bring kids. No flight, no luggage fees, no touristy prices or resort fees…#winwin

7. Hire a financial planner/advisor

Once a professional is on board they can give you insight to areas that you may have overlooked and help you with budgeting, investing, etc. Some even provide tax services with their financial advisor fees so you don’t have to worry about spending additional money to do it yourself or hire a tax professional. There's a reason why they do what they do -- get them on your team!

8. Use the cash envelope system

This technique forces you to pay with what you have. Some of us can get really swipe crazy and its easy to lose track of spending with cards. But when you have cash and its labelled for a purpose in a envelope you have more control! Check on Dave Ramsey's channel or blog for how to get started.

9. Routine budget meetings

It sounds really boring, but having a reoccurring time to discuss financial matters is key to being on top of getting out of debt! Get this day on your shared calendar and you will see areas that you can cut back on or eliminate. Once we changed the name of our budget meeting, we actually started to look forward to meeting more!

10. Become a DIYer

From building to painting, lawn work, to cutting hair, and even making baby wipes, see if you can learn the job yourself or a trusted friend before outsourcing. This is a huge money saver…not saying do it all yourself, but pick and choose what works for your family (and sanity) and be resourceful.

11. Buy second hand for you, home and kids

Lean on your community and utilize marketplaces like Facebook, Offer-up, Poshmark, etc especially when it comes to kids, furniture and household stuff. These items stay on the market and can save you thousands! On some of the apps you are able to filter the results for new items which can make great gifts!

12. Avoid upgrading your phone

I know we are reaching on this one, but think about WHY you really are planning to get another phone. Is your phone broken? Keep it and save that $100+. Now, we haven't always agreed on this one, but even if one of you doesnt upgrade its still $$ savings.

13. Ask for discounts

Are you a educator, service member, or in the health field? Do you have AAA or another rewards member? Ask retail, service based companies (e.g. hotels, household) and restaurants if they honor discounts. We have found that both big name and small businesses try to do something for you just by asking.

14. Use Subscribe & Save

Who is the genius that came up with this??? Placing baby products and hygiene or other essential products (toothpaste, lotion, contact solution) at Target and Amazon has not only freed up time from running to the store, but its saved us coins. Make a list of the items you are always buying for the family and set up subscribe & save. The best part is you can always cancel, edit or skip a delivery.

BONUS: Focus on creating experiences for your family during the holidays instead of being pressured to find the perfect gift during the holidays.

So let us know, what are you doing now that's not listed? Which one of the listed items are you considering to start doing?

So excited for you and your family! When one wins, we all win.

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About Marissa & Joseph

Joseph and Marissa Msefya have been together for 11 years and married for 7. They are millennial parents, Certified Marriage Coaches, published authors and the Founders of Forever Marriages. They help millennial husbands and wives desiring oneness, build lifelong Christ-centered marriages.

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