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This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Policy & Disclosure page for full details.
It’s been 23 months now into our debt free journey. So far, we’ve paid off $90,479 with $36,750 left to go.
We’ve been paying off $500 each month towards the last two debts. One of them is the student loan which has a balance of $28,500 and the family loan for $8,250. Paying $500 is a lot less than what we used to pay before the pandemic hit. We were attacking the debt with about $1660 each month but now we want to build the emergency fund up a bit until things settle down.
Hopefully by next month, we’ll be able to make a large payment of possibly $10,000 to knock some of that student debt, stay tuned.
The only debt we have left to tackle is our student loans and family debt.
September of 2018:
|8 Credit Cards|
|1 Car Loan|
|2 Medical Loans|
|2 Student Loans|
|1 Personal Loan and 1 Personal Loan from family|
|1 Student Loan $28,500|
|1 Personal Loan from family $8,250|
Want to get started on your own debt free journey? Grab this free debt thermometer to see how much you owe and get started with the free 5-day Debt Free Bootcamp to get you on your way to becoming debt free.
If you’re able to do so, it’s a great idea to build up your emergency fund if you don’t have one. In certain situations, it may be more important to have cash available in case anyone loses a job or gets injured rather than paying off debt.
Not saying you should avoid paying off debt overall but set aside some money each month to your savings account until you build one that you feel comfortable with.
Once you get your emergency fund up to an amount that you’re okay with, then focus 100% on attacking your debt.
If you don’t have an emergency fund or need some ideas on saving up for one, head to this post below.
Read More: 5 Tips to Build Your Emergency Fund Fast
If you’re here for the first time, there are some real easy steps for you to get out of debt while still enjoying life.
Becoming debt free doesn’t have to mean that you’ll need to sacrifice. There’s ways around that. You can still enjoy life by going on trips, vacations, getting the things you want but just making some tweaks to get you the results you want without losing out on what you love.
That’s something I’ve come to learn about this process and it’s the only way that’s helped my hubby and I keep going.
If you want to get started on your own debt free journey, check out some tips that can help you get there below.
Start a Budget
Use the Snowball Method to pay off debt
Find 95 Ways to Save
Make Extra Money
Travel for free
Cutting The Cord Update
In the previous July debt free update, I mentioned that we may cut the cable.
Well.. we did!
We tried out Philo, and it’s friggin awesome.
Let’s do the math here, $152.49-$60.32 = $92.17. Wait.. $92.17?!
We saved over $90 by cutting the cable, how amazing is that? That’s savings of $1,106 a year.
Wish we did this sooner.
But of course we have to factor in the actual cost of Philo $20 so realistically we’re saving $72.17 or $866 a year (which is still awesome).
If you missed last month’s progress post, I mentioned this Philo service as an alternative to cable.
As long as you have internet, you can stream your favorite cable channels live, plus it comes with unlimited DVR, and fast forwarding options through commercials.
Here’s a little breakdown of Philo below.
- They have so many mainstream networks like A&E, AMC, BET, Comedy Central, Discovery, Food Network, Hallmark, HGTV, History, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TLC, Travel Channel, VH1, and WE TV.
- Unlimited DVR (held for 30 days)
- Able to fast forward through commercials
- Free 7-day trial
- Only $20 a month
We’ve been using Philo for a few weeks now and it’s been awesome. The only downside to cutting cable is that we have to use something called Locast to watch local channels (for free).
This method using Philo and Locast is great for those who don’t watch local channels too much but tend to watch network channels more often.
If you’re wondering about Locast check out the breakdown below.
Sign up for free here at Philo and try it free for 7 days. (That’s what I did before cancelling the cable)
Locast is a non profit service that provides you with your local streaming channels for free!
You sign up at Locast.org and you get live streaming of your favorite local channels. You can stream on your phone, computer, or on your TV.
The downside to Locast is every time you switch channels, you will see a short Locast commercial but it can be removed by paying Locast a small $5 a month donation.
Overall, cutting cable and switching to Philo and Locast has been awesome.
Using cash back and points apps has been great and it’s very satisfying to see that your money can go a bit further.
If you read last month’s debt journey post, I mentioned apps like Ibotta, Fetch Rewards, Swagbucks, Rakuten, and Honey.
I’m going to add Receiptpal to that list.
I’ll go over some reasons why I use those apps and programs and you can find super easy ways to get some side cash monthly too.
Ibotta is mainly a cash back app that gives you real money back when you go grocery shopping by scanning your receipt.
It’s actually better than using coupons in my opinion because when you use coupons, it comes off the bill. Ibotta, on the other hand, gets you cash back when you buy certain products.
Once you reach $20, you can redeem it for cash back via Paypal or giftcards.
Also, besides only groceries, Ibotta also gets you cash back for in-store or online retailers like eBay, Kohls, ULTA, JCPenny, and 300 more.
To use Ibotta, you’ll look for the grocery store you plan to do your shopping. Look through the items that the store has and add the items to your list. Once you’re done with your shopping and get your receipt, upload it to Ibotta and it’ll match your offers. You may also need to scan barcodes for certain products just to verify the purchase.
Tip: When you add the item to your list, make sure to read the description of the item. For instance, today I see an offer for Philadelphia cream cheese giving $.50 X 5 back and there’s a note saying it’s for 7.5 oz or larger. Make sure you’re getting the right items to get the cash back offers.
Overall, it’s an awesome app to use and I get great money back from it. I love to use it since I don’t have the patience to coupon. If you’re a couponer then you’ll get even more savings with this app since it also allows you to use Manufacturer’s coupons too.
Sign up for free at Ibotta and use the code YDIGCFJ to get your $20 welcome bonus
Currently, I have $57 cash back from Ibotta which is pretty sweet if you ask me, and no clipping coupons required.
Another app I’ve been using is Fetch Rewards. I basically get points for scanning receipts from grocery shopping, gas, and food.
Once I reach a certain amount of points, I’ll get gift cards or free magazine subscriptions.
Use the code 7JKFH when you sign up to Fetch Rewards and you’ll get 2,000 Fetch Points ($2.00 in points)
You can also refer others and earn 2,000 points ($2) yourself and your friend/family will earn 2,000 points ($2) as well.
Another app I’ve been using diligently is Receiptpal.
Do you ever throw away your receipts? Think twice before doing that. You could be getting cash back for them.
With Receiptpal, you can scan your receipts and get points. Once you earn enough points, you can redeem them for gift cards.
Why not turn your junk into money?
You can scan in almost any kind of receipts:
- Gas receipt
- Restaurant/fast food receipts
- Shopping receipts from any store
- Service receipts
For every receipt you submit, you’ll get a punch for your card. If you scan 4 receipts, you’ll get 100 points. Once you fill up 5 cards, you will get multiple entries into their sweepstakes for $250. Also, Receiptpal will give you random chances to get entries for their sweeps.
Level 1 – 2,200 points = $5 Amazon gift card
Level 2 – 4,000 points = $10 Amazon gift card or 9,250 for a $25 Amazon gift card
Level 3 – 17,250 points = $50 Amazon gift card or 32,250 for a $100 Amazon gift card
Sign up for free here and start getting money back for your receipts
I’ve been spending more time on Swagbucks and it’s been pretty awesome. I’ve gotten paid 500 swagbucks points which is equal to $5 for playing a game during my spare time in the evening.
If you ever have some free time check out Swagbucks to earn points which can be redeemed for cash via Paypal or gift cards.
Some ways to earn points are:
- Take surveys/poll
- Play games
- Watch videos
- Shop online
- Complete daily goals
- Enter competitions for points
Sign up for free here at Swagbucks and earn a $10 welcome bonus
I still use Rakuten when I’m doing any online shopping to get cash back on my purchases. It’s free money back, why not take it?
Rakuten partnered up with over 2,500 stores to get you cash back.
It’s super simple to use. Before buying anything online, go on Rakuten to see if they have your retailer on the list.
Then check to see if there’s any cash back offers. If there is, all you do is click on the retailer’s button where it will take you directly to the store you planned to shop at.
The only difference is, Rakuten will get you cash back for your purchase.
Sign up today with my special link here and get your $10 welcome bonus + $30 cash back when you spend $30 (It’s like getting $30 for free!) Rakuten won’t disappoint, check them out.
Have you heard about Honey? I just recently started using it and it’s awesome.
I downloaded the Chrome extension and when I go to purchase something online, it’ll scour through tons of coupon codes to help find the best price for the item.
It’s good for lazy couponers like me.
It’s a site that finds you all coupons available for stores. It has a chrome extension so when you go to a site and purchase something, Honey will automatically notify you if there’s a better price
Another good feature about Honey is if there’s no coupon code to be applied, it can also get you points for shopping at stores.
Once you get enough points, you can redeem it for gift cards from places like Walmart, Amazon, eBay, Sephora, Nordstrom, and more.
Sign up for free here and get the cheapest prices for all your online purchases the easy way.
23 months down and we’ve paid off $90,479 worth of debt. Pretty amazing stuff.
Does it feel like we’ve sacrificed a great deal, nope.
Getting out of debt doesn’t have to be hard. You may have heard people having to sell literally everything, eating rice and beans, never going on vacation, or getting nice things for themselves just to get themselves out of debt. We’re here to show you that you don’t have to go to those extremes.
All you need is a good budgeting system to help you handle money the right way to squeeze the most out of your hard earned cash, look for savings in the right places, and still enjoy life without having to go into debt to do it.
I’m currently in the process of getting a workable system in place for others to follow step by step on how I do my monthly budget. I can say that having a proper budgeting system in place can make all the difference in the world.
I’ll share it with you all very soon!
PS Stay tuned, we’re going to pay $10,000 next month towards the student loan!
Today’s the day for you to finally take back control over your money. It’s time to become debt free and embark on your own journey. I’ll show you the steps you need to get there, get started by grabbing the free debt thermometer.