Ever since our fourth year of marriage we have remained debt free! We realized quickly after we married that debt is a marriage killer! The tension over money adds too much stress to our hearts. In addition to us realizing this because of our personal situation of money in combination to what God’s word says about being a good steward and money, we new it was something we would have to agree on.
This hasn’t been easy and we have been tempted many times to build up debt again…but we have been steadfast in our conviction to stay out of debt. We also advocate that others stay out of debt. We want to be an encouragement to couples that living debt free can and should be done!
Every couple feels the tension of money at some point, so its easy for me to say that this episode is for every married couple! You don’t want to miss it! We are sharing 7 tips for getting out of debt quickly so that you can set up a strategy and work together as a team to ditch the debt and live in financial freedom!
– Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.
– Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.
– And today we’re gonna give you seven tips to get out of debt quickly. Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode. We have a fun one. We’re gonna give you seven tips on how to get out of debt quickly. But before we do that, please subscribe to our channel so that you get updated and notified every single time we upload a new episode.
– Now, we know there’s way more than seven tips that people can offer for getting out of debt quickly, so we wanna hear from you. Please leave some comments, and letting us know your quick tips on how to get out of debt.
– So this is a huge topic. Most of the country’s in debt.
– Well, I think it’s a mentality of the culture that it’s been accepted and it’s been okay to live a life of debt. So I think that there’s just a lot of people living that way.
– And we did. We had 20,000 dollars of debt that we chopped away at early on. We’ve been out of debt now for how many years?
– Gosh, like six.
– Yeah. And you know what? We love being out of debt.
– It changes the way we think, it changes the way we spend money, changes the way we save money, and it changes the way we look at things that cost money. So our heart for you guys, as marriages that are chasing after God and his ministry for your life, is that you would be debt free. Because what God put on our hearts when we decided to come back from the mission field and go home and get out of debt, was that we could be more free to minister for him, and do his work, and what he calls us to do without debt.
– And I would say that that is the number one benefit and blessing of being debt-free, is the freedom we have to do whatever God wants us to do.
– Just freedom.
– And so that’s our heart for you.
– And so we just wanna give you seven tips. These are simple tips to help you get out of debt. And so we’re just gonna jump right in. I wanna start off in Proverbs first, and talk about the way we should think about debt.
– Yeah, give ’em some wisdom.
– Yeah Chapter 22, verse seven, the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. And this is just the reality. And this is talking about, this is Proverbs, so it’s just giving us like black and white of the world, you know. The idea is that the borrower is slave to the lender. When we borrow money, when we borrow from the future, for the present, we become slaves to the one who gave us. And we don’t wanna be slaves to anything.
– Well we don’t even need to explain what that feels like because if you have any sort of debt, whether it’s big or small, or whatever different kinds it could be, you know what it feels like. Like that slavery, that bondage, that uncomfortable frustration that is surrounded by your finances, you know what it feels like.
– Yeah, you know that you could probably live off of way less if you didn’t have that extra bill you had each month. And so that’s our heart for you guys. Is that we would have this mind, that we would have the mind of the Bible, the mind of the Lord, on money and finances. And so we’re gonna walk through seven tips. And let’s just get right into the first tip.
– Well, the first one is talk to your spouse about making a plan or a budget on how to get debt-free and be in agreeance. This was the first fight that we had.
– For months.
– And it lasted a long time. But when it came to this idea of debt. So just to give a little bit of background, the debt that we had was because Aaron went to college to get his BA and it was a loan that was given to him to finish out that course of college. And you did graduate and everything like that.
– And it was all my debt.
– And it was your debt. And so he brought that into the marriage. Although it was deferred for the first two years. And so when
– So we didn’t feel it.
– We didn’t feel it. And then it kicked in, and then we felt it. And we were doing mission work, and we were actually in Canada at the time, without jobs. And so that was one of the motivating reasons why we decided to move back home to Southern California, to work out getting out of this debt. But the whole time being in California, I would say the first year and a half, I wrestled in my heart because I was not in agreeance with getting out of debt. Even though I didn’t want it to be a part of our marriage anymore. I had the wrong perspective because I saw it all as your debt. And your motivation.
– Not our debt.
– Exactly. And we were working minimum wage jobs, putting everything we had towards it. And I was frustrated. I wanted things. I wanted experiences.
– All of our friends had houses.
– I was doing that comparison thing.
– Cookware, and dishes.
– It was really hard. Yeah I’d be at another wife’s house and she’d pull out a coffee maker and I’m like
– We can’t make coffee.
– Yeah, we don’t even have an apartment yet.
– And you don’t even drink coffee.
– Yeah, I know, I didn’t even care. So, my point here is this, be in agreeance. Recognize that you guys are one. Like it doesn’t matter whose debt it is, tackle it together. Because I realized once I changed my heart on this, God changed my heart on this, that we were actually more efficient in getting out of debt, working together as a team, than we ever were when we were butting heads about it.
– Well, and if you think about it, this is probably what keeps most people in debt. There’s lots of factors but not being on the same page. Let’s say I wanna get out of debt and I wanna pay a bill, and you’re like no, I wanna go buy this thing. It’s not going to the bill, right? Or it’s a fight. Or a little less is gonna go to it. But being on the same page, you know, coming up with a budget, and sticking to the budget. And then coming up with a plan like, well, out of every extra dollar we get, we’re gonna give this much to the debt. And knowing that that happens because what happens is the moment the time comes and you have a big chunk to give because you had decided already like, every extra dollar. Like unless you have an extra 500 dollars and you’re like wow, we could go get that barbecue that I’ve always wanted. And you’re like babe, remember we said we’re not gonna do this, we’re gonna do this. And I’m like oh you’re right.
– Keep each other accountable.
– That 250 dollars extra comes in and you’re like oh, I wanted to go get that some clothes or a new pair of shoes, and I’m like babe, remember. So instead of it just being like pick and choose when we do it, we know together. So that’s tip one.
– And I have an extra tip on top of that. If you guys aren’t on the same page for any reason, or your perspectives are a little bit not jiving together, pray for one another. Be willing to at least start there because I feel like you praying for my heart really helped me to submit that to the Lord. And I just really wanna encourage you guys that being in agreeance on something this major in marriage it’s just really important. So start there, start with prayer.
– Yeah. And so tip number two is stop using credit cards, and stop acrueing debt.
– Yeah, stop accumulating.
– Like so you have this much debt, and every week or month, you add a little bit more debt to it, right. And then you try to chip it on this end, but the chipping away is much smaller. We know how it works. Most of it goes to interest, little bit goes to principal, or none goes to principal. And you’re adding debt.
– There will always be reasons to justify debt. There’ll always be
– Another credit card coming out that has really low interest rate.
– Or more miles.
– Or you guys need a car and you have to go get that one that comes with a loan. So you have to start making choices that are gonna hurt a little bit, which is telling your flesh no. Telling each other no. Telling each other, you know, remind each other about the plan.
– Yeah, well what needs to happen is a retraining of our money. Because if we’re used to debt, then getting out of debt, it’s like I’m going on a diet.
– It hurts. I’m hungry. We need that thing. So you just have, again, being on the same page like we said in tip one. Tip two, just stop getting into debt.
– Like just let it stop. Cause it won’t grow, unless you don’t pay it. And then you’ll get interest. But don’t add to it.
– Okay, I have one more tip on top of this tip. I know I keep doing this.
– All these additional tips, I like it.
– This one goes more speaking towards honesty. If you feel the need to use debt to try and pay off debt. Like doing that whole vicious cycle of playing catch up, you need to stop. And if that means that you need to be honest with your community, and the people that you’re fellowshipping with, and letting them know, I’m in a really hard spot. So that they can provide you groceries that week, or they can
– Or encourage you.
– Encourage you, or be praying for you, or giving you tips and advice. You have to be able to let people in like that. And I know finances is a sticky thing because not everybody wants to talk about that. But if we can be honest with the community that surrounds us, at least it gives them an opportunity to be the body of Christ and provide things for us that maybe we can’t be provided for based off of our income at this moment.
– Yeah, if you truly need it. That’s the, cause you wanna be able to be content. And we’ll talk about that later. So tip number three is
– Sell extra stuff.
– Yeah. We got out of debt in a year and a half, and we almost didn’t own anything.
– Yeah, well to start with, we didn’t really own anything.
– But we sold everything.
– Yeah, we did.
– We sold every extra thing we could. Anything that we had that was of value, for the most part, we sold it because you know what, to us, when we from step one, we got on the same page and we said how much more valuable it would be to be debt free, than it would be to hold on to these things that aren’t going to heaven with us, that don’t mean anything. You know it doesn’t mean sell things that you absolutely need.
– No, just take an inventory around your house. You know, go take a walk.
– Everyone has extra stuff.
– Everyone’s got pockets and places and storage bins full of things. We actually were just talking about this. There’s another storage facility being built right down the street from our house, and it’s like three or four stories, it’s massive. And you were calculating, you were like, I think there’s gonna be like 400 storage containers in there. And I was thinking who in their right mind is going to put all that stuff in storage, but it happens.
– Cause it’s my stuff, I’m gonna put it somewhere, I’m gonna pay.
– People do it all the time. Different circumstances, whatever, I get it. But my point is that we have stuff that we can let go of. We have stuff that we can get rid of. Utilize Craigslist, utilize a garage sale, utilize Facebook even has a marketplace for things like this. And you can easily rack up some extra change by getting rid of stuff.
– And every penny you make off the stuff you sell, put it towards debt.
– And I would also suggest, here’s my tip on the tip, be in agreeance on what you sell. Make sure that you have the approval of your spouse, just so that you don’t get rid of anything that they really wanted to keep.
– Yeah. That’s a good point. Remember, making the plan, being on the same page. Picking the stuff. Another tip on top of the tip, I’m gonna do what you were doing. When you go to make payments on your credit cards, or school loans, or any sort of debt, make sure to do principal only payments. Because a lot of these places, they’re so sneaky. If you just do an extra payment, what they’ll do is they’ll take your interest, and they’ll take their fees and all that out first, and then they’ll take principal. So make sure you designate your payments that you send to your, to the debt as principal only, if you can. So that’s just another tip.
– So why don’t you tell us what tip number four is.
– So number four was kind of my idea. I thought it would be fun to add this one. But it’s use your giftings and talents. There’s so many people that know how to make things, like macremes. There’s people that know how to paint. People that know how to do, even webcoding, like there’s so many different variations of talents that can be utilized, especially on the side of whatever job you already have to make that extra cash. So yeah, we used photography. We both, it was a passion of ours, we both enjoyed it, and so we actually turned it into a little mini business. We were working full time jobs and doing this on the side. And we loved it for the time being that we had that going.
– We did every weekend, which leads us into step five. Which is, we went into a season of our life, where pretty much every single weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Saturday Sunday, we were doing photo shoots. We were shooting families, babies, weddings. Weddings made the most money for sure.
– So we both worked full time jobs, but then we went, we knew, going into it that we’d be working nights to edit and things like that. And then on the weekends shooting.
– We didn’t have kids back then, so if you have children currently, there’s gonna be some logistical things. You may not both work. But there’s things you can do. We know people that going back to the tip before this, they sew things and they sell them on Etsy. Or they make candles.
– Get your kids involved in that. If they’re old enough, they could.
– We live in a world where you can literally go online and start a business, and sell something you make. And ship it and make a little bit extra cash. Again, we say this to do this in seasons. Because you can’t just go forever doing this. Working full time jobs.
– You’ll get burnt out.
– So, communicating.
– Yeah, I would really say communicate because you wanna set that expectation so that your spouse knows, oh my husband’s not gonna be gone all the time. Or my wife and I are not gonna be so busy that we can’t do anything else. So set that expectation ahead of time and say look, we’re gonna do this for three months. So for three months, we’re gonna, you know, hunker down and we’re gonna be tight with our schedule. But then after that, we’ll loosen up again.
– Or more realistically, it’ll probably be like twelve month stints. Like hey, for the next year, we’re not gonna, we’re gonna be working harder. But in those seasons of like man, this is hard, you can communicate and be like hey, remember like, just for this year. We’re on the same page.
– And then when things get hard, remind each other. Remind each other of the plan.
– Yeah. So that’s actually how we got out of debt. The fastest. Was all the side work we did. All the side business. Using our giftings and talents. Okay, so
– Number six.
– This is a hard one for
– Most people. Yeah, Americans specifically. It’s be content. Be content with what you have. The reason we are a debt society and we want, it’s because we’re not content. I don’t have enough. I need that extra thing. I need a third car. I need that toy, I need that. We need a bigger home, we need.
– We justify everything on the basis of need, and I think sometimes if we just re-evaluate that, we actually, we can tell our hearts it’s not a need.
– Yeah, well, as we start retraining ourselves. Cause all these things, they’re all gonna hurt our flesh. Cause we’ve trained out flesh, to get whatever it wanted. That’s what we used the debt for. To just like, well, you know, I need that. And boom, we’re in debt again. And so, it’s gonna hurt, but it’s good because we’re retraining the way we think about these things. We actually realized, how little we actually need. And how much wants we have, in comparison. But being content. For seven years we had one car. We both had jobs.
– It doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard, or that it wasn’t inconvenient, cause there were times where it was.
– I rode a bike for three years.
– That was good for your health.
– It was great for my health. But I rode a bike every day for like three years going to my job.
– And there was times where you know, we’d have conflicting schedules where I’d wanna do something at the same time he would. And unless I couldn’t get a ride, or you couldn’t get a ride
– I’d have to drop you off.
– It just gets a little difficult, but here’s the thing you guys. We saved so much money not having a second car payment. Not having the extra debt, as a part of our marriage.
– And to be honest, we didn’t get a second car until a couple years ago. When we absolutely need it because we had another baby, and we wouldn’t all fit in the car we had.
– So like was it, it was 10 years of marriage with one car.
– One car. And so, this is just an example of being content. And just realizing like what do we actually need? Can we make this work? It’s gonna be hard, but you know what, the fruit on the other end of this, the freedom you’ll have financially, and just in your spirit, of knowing you don’t owe anyone any money. The decisions you can make. The places you can go. The things you could build in your life. Just get larger and larger. And so that’s our heart for you. And I want you to bring up the last one. And this is a super hard one, but we believe in it wholeheartedly.
– Yeah, the last one is be generous. Which I know sounds contradictory.
– Super contradictory.
– When you’re trying to plan out a budget, and you’re trying to get out of debt, and you feel so tight. And you feel like you already have nothing, which your heart can easily convince you of. And then someone else comes along with a need. We want to encourage you guys to be generous. To find a way to help support them, because we found that yes, it hurts. And yes, it’s hard. But God has used that generosity from us in gigantic ways. Ways that we could never have imagined or fathomed, to bless someone else. And we truly believe that the generosity stimulates not only growth in our hearts
– Well it’s a spiritual discipline.
– It really is.
– And it that was super hard for you too. I don’t know why it was easier for me, cause that doesn’t seem like it would be.
– Aaron’s really easy going about just giving stuff away, and handing over large amounts of money. Where to me it was more like, hold on a second, we need to rethink this. I always put up a fight. But over the years, I’ve really learned how to be more generous. And you’re right, it is a spiritual discipline. I think it’s a way of being. I think it’s a perspective that your heart can have. And we wanna encourage you guys to be generous people, because when we’re generous, we don’t have such a tight hold on our finances.
– It goes from this, to this.
– You can hold it loosely. What you do is you’re not just holding it loosely so the wind can come and drag it. You’re holding it loosely up to the Father and saying, you can have our finances, and you can be in control, so that when he randomly brings someone by that needs help, you’re ready and willing to give it.
– Yeah, and a secondary tip on top of this. The way we did this, is we opened up several different bank accounts. Which are free, ya know, oftentimes.
– It helped us organize our finances.
– So we had our bills account, which was every penny that we owed to bills, that was debt and everything. And then we had a savings account, which almost never had any money in it. And then we had a tithe account, which was our giving. It doesn’t have to be 10 percent. The idea is that we have a willing and cheerful heart in the giving. And then we had our allowance account, which never had any money in it during this time.
– It always dropped to negative and we’d have to find a way, what can we put in there? And then God would come through and give us extra money on our paycheck.
– What we would do is whenever we got money, we split it up based off what we decided in our planning session. We said first of all bills. And then our giving. And whatever percent that’s gonna be. And then whatever’s left is ours. Which was never anything.
– But now it is. And you know with the habit we started then, we still do. And you know what? The numbers are different, right. And so, if we, we always tell ourselves like, oh we’ll give when we have more. But you know what the Bible says? It’s better to give when you have less. And the idea is that you’re giving from your poverty. You know, Jesus talks about the woman who gave her last mite, and he says no, she gave more than the man that gave 100 dollars. Because she gave out of her poverty. And so the idea is, again, don’t go into debt and don’t make it to where you can’t feed your family. But if you say Lord, teach us how to be generous, teach us how to give. And if it’s a dollar, every single time you get paid, you’re like we’re going to put a dollar in our giving account. And we have a debit card, we called it our giving card, and we don’t touch it. It’s not ours. It doesn’t go to our bills. It doesn’t go to our pocket. We don’t use it on ourselves. We said Lord, you show us who needs this today. You’ll be so surprised. And you know what, God wants our hearts. It’s not about the amount of money. It’s about the heart. And so, we believe that this is what changed us the most. It wasn’t just getting out of debt. It was while getting out of debt, taking from what we had left and then giving that also. And getting into the habit of that. And allowing the Lord to teach us. And you know what, it’s another level of saying to our flesh, no. We’re gonna do something for the Lord and not for ourselves. And you know what, God blessed us, and he’s taken care of us. We’ve never been without a meal. And so those are our seven tips for getting out of debt. Of course, there’s many other strategies and ways that you can add on top of this. We’d love to hear those in the comments.
– Look, we know that finances can be one of the number one contender of contentions in marriage, and so we just hope that this was an encouragement to you to say hey, where are we at financially? And let’s get on the same page. We wanna encourage you guys with this message today. And we also want you to know that there’s resources out there, if you go to DaveRamsey.com or look up Financial Peace University. And they have some really great resources on how to walk you through getting out of debt. And so if you just need that extra little help, that could be a really great resource for you. As always, we just wanna thank you for joining us this week and we’ll see you next time.
– [Aaron] Did you enjoy today’s show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at MarriageAfterGod.com. And let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.