Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

Hello Smart Money People,

Here are some scary voices that use to live in my head:

“Crap, I’ll never pay off this credit card”

“UGH, I will never get out of debt”

”Sigh, This is just the way my life is.”

“Duh, everyone has student loans, it is a part of life”

Sound familiar? 

Well, I have news for you. None of the voices were true and those scary one-liners no longer exist for me. Why? Read on and I will tell you….

First, I decided they were not true. AND I was pretty sure my now husband wasn’t buying into my voices.

Second, I learned HOW to change my circumstances, after I changed my mind.

I am not sure where you are on your journey, but here I am going to share with you mine. The road out of debt.

When I met my husband I was $10,000 in credit card debt. YIKES! I was so ashamed and NEVER told him. Once things felt like they were going down the commitment path with him, I thought “Oh crap I have to pay this off before he finds out.” A few red flags there, but that is a totally different post.

For the next year, I watched every penny and threw as much as I could at the credit card bill. I was making $45,000 living with my mom. I had a car payment, a student loan payment and a few other expenses like groceries, rent, gas, entertainment, and clothing.

In one year I paid off $7,000. I thought I was a rock star. Now my soon to be husband was not as impressed shall we say, but whatever, I was impressed.

Here is exactly what I did:

Take home pay after taxes = $1,038.32 bi-weekly.

First I had to learn where my money was going in order to figure out how to pay down my debt. I NEEDED A BUDGET.

Expenses Paycheck 1 Expense Paycheck 2
$1,038.32 $1,038.32
Rent 400
Student loan 250.93
Car Payment 200
Groceries 100 100
Clothes 150 100
Credit card payment 583
Gas 50 50
Spending money 150 150
(12) (388)

Houston, we still had a problem.

This is what I did next:

Expenses Paycheck 1 Expense Paycheck 2
$1,038.32 $1,038.32
Rent 400
Student loan 250.93
Car Payment 200
Groceries 100 75 100 75
Clothes 150 50 100 50
Credit card payment 583
Gas 50 50
Spending money 150 75 150 50
188 (20.93)
188-20.93 167.07 savings for the month = wiggle room

In 12 months I paid off $7,000. Was it fun, nope? I knew I had to pay it off. I PRIORITIZED my debt over other expenses. I valued my relationship with my soon to be hubby and knew how I FELT about my debt. I knew I had to pay it off.

I also learned….

I spent 12 months paying $583 dollars for stuff and experience I had THE YEAR(S) BEFORE. It kept me stuck and kept me in my mother’s house longer than I wanted.

Here is what you can do:

1.    HAVE A WRITTEN BUDGET. You cannot tell your money where to go if you don’t know where it is currently going.

2.    LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS. As obvious as it sounds, most people don’t live below their means. They eek out every penny out of every paycheck. Give yourself some breathing room. Trust me, you will love yourself for it.

3.    Determine what your priorities and values are. Know who you are, what you want and what you are willing to do to get there. (Examples: I want to buy a house, I want to get married, I want to travel to Costa Rica). What you value should be a top priority on your budget.

4.    Decide where you are spending too much and figure out a way to reprioritize that spending. Notice I did not say “cut back” or “be frugal”, which is an altogether fine way to live if you WANT TO, however, if you don’t, make the shift to spending your money on your top priorities and values. Create a spending PLAN that reflects who you are, what you value and what you want in your life.

Check out my post and budget template HERE for more on the topic of budgeting.

I hope this was helpful.

I would LOVE to hear what is keeping you up at night or what you think you could use the most help with. Let me know at


You’ve got this!!


We’re cheering you on!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!

With love,

Karen & Bill


You can use this student loan calculator to determine your monthly payments.

You can use this car payment calculator to determine your monthly payments.


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