Chris Peach and Andrea had a life every couple could dream of. A nice house in an elite neighborhood in Phoenix, fancy cars, high-end shopping and travelling. Chris was a firefighter while Andrea was a TV news anchor. The collective income of the couple was over a $100,000 a year. But beneath this lavish lifestyle, there was a crisis. A debt crisis. They were living paycheck to paycheck, had no savings and the credit load was skyrocketing. They bought whatever they wanted, ignoring the fact that they’d had to pay for this down the road. They couple had a feeling of this crisis, but they never paid attention. Until one evening when Andrea called Chris, telling him that all of her credit cards were declined at a grocery store. She came home empty handed, as they had zero cash. Chris tried all of his credit cards and they were rejected too. Broke and freaked out, the couple sat down and saw the bank statements and bills of the past three months. It was a disaster. They had spent thousands of dollars every month partying, shopping on Target, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, eating out junk and fancy food, without giving a damn about their future.
The monthly spending on grocery and for their son used to total to around $1200 on average, while $240 a month was spent on frequent travelling. Around $1000 was spent every month on dining out. Cable cost was $220 a month. As you can expect, the couple was addicted to credit cards, so a whopping $650 a month on went to payment companies like Visa and MasterCard.
A Lifestyle Change for True Happiness
It was time to change. The couple decided to change their lifestyle Their total debt had crossed $52,000. They made a budget and specified the areas where the spending could be controlled. They made a 15-month plan and promised each other as part of a ‘Promise Project’ to get themselves out of the crisis. They pinned their plan and promises on the walls of their house.
Dump Those Credit Cards
The first thing was to switch to all-cash grocery and food spending, which let them to save a $500 a month. When you pay via cash, you get to feel the real worth of money. So the first lesson from this story is to switch to cash and crush the credit card addiction.
Side Jobs, Freelance Gigs
Chris decided to start a side job apart from his full time job. He also started cleaning pools for people and ended up earning an extra thousand bucks every month. He had an experience in pool cleaning work from college. You should always search for freelance jobs or side gigs related to the skill or passion you have.
Sell The Extra Stuff You Have
As Chris and Andrea had bought so much stuff, they started selling it on eBay. From clothes to furniture to high-end branded shoes, sunglasses and gadgets, they put almost everything extra on eBay. This way, they made $4,000 to lighten up the debt load. You must make use of auction websites and sell any extra stuff you have to make money.
The couple made a smart decision to slash their useless cable and internet bill. In order to do that, they bought an HD antenna for free local channels. They cancelled their cable subscription. This reduced the cable bills to $60 from $220.
Always Eat at Home
Eating out can drain your wallet like crazy. The couple learned this the hard way. They started loving $10 “date nights” at home with home-made grilled chicken and cheap wine. Eating at home is healthy, cheap and fun. If you want to save money, start meal preparations at home.
Sell Those Fancy Cars
Andrea sold her SUV and bought a used KIA. This dwindled the car payment load to by $500 a month.
The couple is now debt free. The happiness when the clerk entered $0.0 in the debt column for Andrea and Chris can never be compared to the façade of fun and elite life they were having.