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Debt Free Journey Update May 2020

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It’s been 20 months into our debt free journey so far. We started off with $116,000 worth of debt. So far we’ve paid $77,750 off with $38,250 remaining. It’s amazing that we’ve paid off 2/3rd of our total debt so far in 20 months.

I have to admit that when we first jotted down all our debt in September, seeing the total number made us feel hopeless. I thought we would carry the debt for the rest of our lives.

My husband and I realized that taking small steps and using the right tools, it is possible to get out of debt.

If you’re reading this post for the first time, check out all the debt we had below.

September of 2018:

8 Credit Cards
1 Car Loan
2 Medical Loans
2 Student Loans
1 Personal Loan and 1 Personal Loan from family
Total $116,000

May 2020:

1 Student Loan
1 Personal Loan from family
Total $38,250

In 20 months, we got rid of $77,750 worth of debt. So what were the actionable steps we took to get this far?

  • We started budgeting using the zero based budget system.

Related: How To Get Out Of Debt With These 5 Tips

May Debt Free Journey $77,750

Since COVID-19 started, my husband and I decided to slow down our debt paying progress at least until things get somewhat back to normal. From paying our usual “rollover money” of $1,600 towards debt, this month we paid $411.

We are paying $411 to my student loans while it’s in forbearance. Why? All payment made goes straight towards principal! This is actually a perfect time to be paying off student loans since any payment will not be split up towards interest and principal. I wish we could pay more of the student loan off but for now we will take things a little slower due to Covid.

We need to be conservative since my husband had a pay cut from his company and I can’t work extra temp jobs as I was planning to before COVID-19 hit.

Now, we are primarily saving mostly because you just can’t predict the future.

We still follow all the steps mentioned above to keep our debt payoff progress going. The most important part of the debt paying process is budgeting.

1 | Budget

I use the Zero Based Budget which has been extremely successful in helping us manage our money. If you want to use an app that tracks your spending automatically then use Personal Capital which is also a free app.



How To Budget Your Money For Beginners

Snowball Method

2 | Emergency Fund During COVID-19

This is one thing I’d strongly recommend especially if you are undertaking your own debt free journey. Please save a good 2-6 month fund before throwing every single penny at debt. Erin and Steve also agrees, read about their debt free journey.

Not saying to hold off on paying debt completely, but make sure you also save for an emergency fund at the same time. Once you reach your ideal and safe emergency fund amount, then throw every extra penny at debt.

3 | Look For Savings


During my last shopping trip to Walmart, I got $8.75 cash back by using Ibotta. I use Ibotta because it’s so easy to use. I actually tried to coupon a while ago but it was too time consuming and I just couldn’t keep up with it.

What I like about Ibotta is choosing items I’m going to buy, upload my receipt, and get real cash back.

Debt Free Journey Update May 2020-Ibotta-My Financial Hill

All you do is click on the “+” icon for the item that you plan to buy. It gets added to your list. Once you get your receipt, submit it to Ibotta, and the program will automatically match your list with the items on the receipt. Once you reach $20, redeem it for cash or gift cards.


Ibotta is an easy alternative for those who don’t want to go looking for coupons everywhere and also to get real cash back!

$8.75 cash back for one grocery shopping trip is not too shabby. Can’t complain about having more money in my pockets.

It’s these small savings that ultimately save you hundreds in the long run. It’s about making small decisions that add up over time.

Sign up for free at Ibotta and use the code YDIGCFJ to get your $20 welcome bonus

4 | Save on Food Costs

Do you know how much you spend on food costs each month?

This is where we were able to save hundreds in a month. We only buy convenience food on the weekends. Meal prepping during the weekday has saved us so much money.

If you need some ideas on recipes to cook, check these out:

Air Fryer Recipes Healthy and Low Carb for Dinner

10 Easy Breakfast Ideas

20 Easy Keto Low Carb Recipes for Dinner

I’ve read an article of someone who only spends $50 a month on outside food. All I can say is wow. It’s definitely possible with effort. We won’t go to that extreme because I think you have to find a happy medium between sacrifice and what you want.

That’s the key to staying motivated on any debt free journey. Things can’t be too difficult where you’re unable to follow through with the plan. Give yourself some freedom in your budget to enjoy things here and there. That can be going out to eat, fun money fund, vacation fund, clothing fund, and more.

To find more saving ideas, check out 95 Best Money Saving Tips to Start Now

5 | Make extra money if you can

With COVID-19 lingering around, it’s probably best to try to make extra side money safely.

  • Put money into a high yield savings account to earn money passively
  • Sell your clothes/furniture/toys/electronics on Ebay, Mercari, Letgo, or Nextdoor
  • Take online surveys for money Get your $10 sign up bonus today with Swagbucks
  • Be a freelancer on Fiverr and sell your skills including being a graphic designer, virtual assistant, photo editing, writing/editing/proofreading content, marketing, programming, SEO optimization, programming, transcription, other social media services
  • Make money losing weight on HealthyWage and other apps like Dietbet and Stickk. People make hundreds to thousands of dollars by challenging themselves to lose weight which creates a financial incentive.

Check out other ways to make extra money every month


6 | Second guess your purchases

Before you buy anything from a $5 to $1,000 item, ask yourself if you really need it. We stopped spending money frivolously just by purchasing things we actually really need rather than want.

Give yourself a budget for things you want.

For instance, we have a spot on our budget for categories like “fun”, “vacation”, “gifts for eachother”, etc.

If you really want those $100 shoes or $600 bag, plan and save up for it.

7 | Travel For Free

During our debt free journey, it was important for us to still have fun and travel. You don’t have to cancel all vacations and trips so that you can be debt free.

Find that happy medium to attain your goals without sacrificing your happiness.

Because of Covid-19, we probably won’t be traveling internationally this year just to be on the safe side.

When we do travel, we have 188,610 travel points to use up! That’s equal to $1,886 worth of points. Find out how we travel for free below.

Debt Free Journey – May 2020 Update

We’re trying to save more money during this time because of Covid-19. We were able to pay $411 towards my student loan which brings our total payoff amount to $77,750 with a balance of $38,250.

I try to find savings where I can like using the Ibotta app when I grocery shop. It’s the little things but it can eventually add up to big bucks at the end of the year. Why not keep more money in your pockets.

Also, if your student loan is currently in forbearance, any payment made may go directly towards principal. Please confirm this information with your student loan provider. I definitely want to pay off as much of my last student loan as possible while the account is under forbearance to undertake this opportunity.

Are you ready to start your own debt free journey? Get started by grabbing this free Debt Thermometer and join us in the free 5-Day Debt Free Bootcamp to pay off $500 worth of debt in your first month.

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