How a Self-Confessed Shopaholic Paid off $57,000 in 16 Months

We’re a young married couple living in Australia, we paid off $57,000 of debt in 16 months. We had debts ranging from credit cards, to car accidents, to buy now pay later schemes, to personal loans - you name it we had it! We went from making $76,000 on one wage to making $140,000 and both working full time permanent jobs and one side hustle. I am an Office Manager and Executive Assistant working a side hustle of Check out Chick and my husband is a Security Officer.

And now we are weird people living debt-free!

Prior to starting our debt free journey we had no idea what we were doing with money, we were broke, and constantly concerned about what’s going to happen to us next, living week to week. I am a shopaholic through and through, I love shopping and the thrill of having parcels delivered. We are living proof that it is totally possible for ANYONE to become debt free.

The Debt Snowball Method

The key for us getting out of debt was having a budget along with a debt snowball where you essentially line your debts up, from smallest to largest. The smallest one you throw absolutely every dollar at and when it’s paid, you move all your money to the next debt in line. Slowly, it will start to gain speed and momentum like a snowball rolling down a hill.

Increase your income

My side hustle went straight on debt. This opportunity to work up to an extra 30 hours a week was incredible. The sacrifice was worth it, even though we missed special occasions such as birthdays, dinners, concerts, events, spending evenings at home together and spending our first year together as newlyweds. My husband picked up odd jobs here and there with short term contracting to try and find a career he enjoyed. The best part about the contracting was that it paid more per hour since it was casual.

Cancel all unnecessary subscriptions

I cancelled subscriptions and health insurance. I still use the free version of Spotify. There was a month where I canceled Netflix too and that nearly killed us, it was the one thing that didn’t get cut from our budget after that. We even sold a car! This meant I missed out on side hustle hours because I couldn't get home some days after 10pm at night.

We recycled bottles, we sold on Facebook marketplace, we sold on eBay - I sold so much stuff that people were concerned about me! I got messages asking me if everything was okay financially, did we need any help paying for things. I assured them that everything was fine and they would soon see how great we were doing.

Meal planning

We ate on meal plans and we hardly ever go out for dinner anymore and even more so now with shift work. Meal planning cuts down our food bills massively. We went from $1,000 a month down to $560 on average.

It was hard, it was really hard. But we did it and now we are ready to teach people how to do it themselves and move on to bigger and better things.

Author: Maddy is a shopaholic turned budget guru. She maintains the Finance Blog Debt Free Shopaholic (https://debtfreeshopaholic.home.blog/) ‘A Shopaholic's guide to budgeting and living a debt free lifestyle’ and Instagram @DebtFreeShopaholic_ (instagram.com/debtfreeshopaholic_)

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