Personal Finance Story: Focusing on Debt

Me holding Andon for the first time following his surgery (October 2007).

Read our personal finance story here from the beginning.

I officially started this blog months after learning this way of couponing. To stay accountable to saving, I tracked all of the receipts for every grocery purchase (using the savings tracking tool).

During this time, we knew we had to find a way to save for Andon's surgery so we didn't go deeper into debt. We truly tightened our belts with limited “extras” in the budget. For us, couponing was sort of like an income. No, we weren't earning any money but by saving like I was, it was freeing up funds so we could apply to debt.

Following Andon's surgery, were got on a payment plan to pay for the expenses (and the delivery expenses – double whammy!). We also constantly reviewed our debt spreadsheet (of course ;) and updated all of our outstanding debts. Doing this was encouraging to us since I really needed to see that all of our sacrifices were paying off somehow.

We use Microsoft Money as our check ledger. It's a cool program (which is now off the market) that allows you to see lots of charts and graphs. It would give me the visual result I really needed to see. Software like this is really nice because it can give you a true look at where your money is going.

Ever since we've been using MS Money, I would apply all the bills as journal entries in the checking ledger. This allowed me to forecast what would be left over so it could be applied to debt. This method was really effective for me because it gave me hope that we were finally able to free up our income more thanks to couponing.

I know a lot of people use Mint.com to do similar things but it didn't allow for future bill payments when I last reviewed it so you could try that too since it's free. I've heard it has changed and may allow the feature I need so I'm going to look into it again.

During this focused plan for debt payoff, I continued blogging and focusing on shopping smarter and using focused couponing techniques.  Not only did we pay off Andon's surgery, but we paid a considerable amount on our debt during this time as well! And, this was also within the year of his surgery. That post is here. You can see that we saved even MORE than his surgery OOP! I was stunned, shocked and in awe! A $0.25 coupon CAN impact your life!

And, that's why I started the site, that's why I continue and am so passionate about helping others today. I hope you really see that it doesn't matter what your financial position is, maybe you weren't like us trying to get out of debt. Or, maybe you are searching for anyway to pay for gas in your car. I am here to tell you: trying to learn how to save using focused couponing techniques and following a budget makes you smart no matter what your situation is. You OWN where your money goes, not the other way around..

Nothing in our life has ever come easy. I'm sure that's the case for you too. We have been through trials and have sacrificed a lot but we are stronger for it. But, sometimes you have to wonder “Why us…?” That question has been a big part of this story. I have asked that question many times. I get a few answers…

{more to come…}

Personal Finance Story Related Posts

{1} Love and Marriage
{2} Jobs and Education
{3} Baby and Job Loss
{4} Graduation = Promotion and Relocation
{5} New Job, New City, New Home
{6} Transition and Loss
{7} Stretching and Earning Income
{8} News – Good and Sad

{9} A New Game

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by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on January 11, 2011

1 Comment

  • Gina - January 11, 2011 @ 11:02 pm
    1

    Thanks for sharing. It is encouraging and yet….I coupon,buy on sale,etc. and don’t see anyway out of this debt we’ve accumulated over the 2 1/2 years DH was out of work. We still have our house and van -praise the Lord,but we did without so many things and our washing machine broke,our garage door broke,our mattress is causing tremendous back pain in both of us,my son needs a bigger bed than his toddler bed,etc,etc,etc. and we had to put off all those things and still are and are behind on our property taxes and I went ahead and bought a few things because it just had been so long you know? and then I look at our debt and my husband’s small income and I see no way out. Our car will be paid for in a year and our house is at the low end of the market and I strongly believed the Lord was telling us not to sell our house yet. I’m sorry I’m going on so much-it’s just I don’t know what to do. All I can do is give it to the Lord. It’s going to take a miracle to get us out of this. To not eat out at all,never go to museums which my son loves and that sort of thing well to pay off the debt we have we’d be sacrificing for a good 10 years and to me that doesn’t seem much like living. I stay at home and homeschool our son which is very important to me. Please any advice at all would be much appreciated as would prayers. Thanks.

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