Eight Practical Tips for Getting Out of Debt

Learn to live in financial freedom instead of drowning in debt.

Money may not always be the most enjoyable topic to talk about, but when families are open and on the same page about their finances, it brings about unity.

I've previously shared how we've made our family finances work  after digging out of debt. While it's important to lay a proper foundation, it helps to have practical tips to move forward. 

Here are the top eight things my husband and I did to get serious about our family’s finances and make them work for us, rather than us working for them.

Eight Practical Tips for Getting Out of Debt

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  1. Join a Financial Peace University Class

Seriously. Get involved, together. These nine-weeks of training were invaluable for our lifetime of commitment. There are classes online and in person around your communities. If there isn’t one near you, consider starting one! Follow the baby-steps and before you know it, life will begin to change and your money will be working for you.

  1. Redefine your view on money

Ask God to give you a heart and understanding of stewardship. Everything changed for us once we began to really grasp that “the Earth and everything within it belongs to the Lord.” Money itself isn’t a bad thing; it’s a tool that helps accomplish our purposes here on Earth. Our pastor used to say it like this, “a brick itself isn’t bad. It can either get thrown through a window and cause damage or build a hospital. It’s the heart behind the tool that matters.”

Watch this for more of our story.

  1. Set up weekly financial meetings with your spouse

This is one of the key steps for us in our journey and in our marriage. We are very different, yet compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s in our meetings where we determine together how to not only make our money work for us, but our time, too. We set aside a basket of things to discuss, bills, plans, kids’ activities, and even dreams. These meetings are critical in formulating the best path together.

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When we don’t get together for meetings, things don’t seem to flow as smoothly in our lives in general: we quibble more, don’t set time aside for each other, and have a hard time keeping things in a rhythm in our whole family. We have different ways we’d like to use our money, most of it coming home with my husband as I’ve chosen to stay home with our children. This meeting time allows both of us to have a say in how we spend and save. Our time is precious, make yours together that way, too.

If you’re a single parent, find a financially sound accountability partner such as a parent or friend who will be there for you as you get on the right track with money.

  1. Give

We began our debt free journey by faithfully setting aside 10% of our pre-tax income to tithe to our church, and have never looked back. In fact, I believe it’s the number one way we’ve been able to see the Lord’s blessings in our lives. Now, we give over and above this amount to missions, non-profits, and other organizations and friends. There truly is no greater gift than to give, and since we began this road, we’ve never had lack. We just keep seeing God provide, in ways we never could’ve imagined.

  1. Get on a Zero-Based Budget

Dave Ramsey says this about the budget, “The Goal is zero. The point of a zero-based budget is to make income minus the outgo equal zero. If you cover all your expenses during the month and have $500 left over, you aren't done with the budget yet. You must tell that 500 bucks where to go.” This is where the rubber hits the road and you need to get serious with your spending. Budget a little for the unexpected and some fun, too, but prayerfully make wise choices that will bless you beyond the next paycheck or fashion season.

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  1. Get out of Debt. As Fast as You Can.

This truly begins your journey to financial freedom. Eliminate all excess spending for a season. Quit the Starbucks, the Spotify subscriptions, and maybe even some kids’ activities. Find some big areas to cut. Can you eliminate a car payment? Start making different kind of financial choices. Follow the snowball plan of smallest debt first. Momentum kicks in and miracles begin to happen.

  1. Spend it, Don’t Swipe It

There’s all kinds of scientific research about the feelings associated with spending cash instead of just swiping a credit or debit card. It just hurts more, and makes you think differently. Cut up all the credit cards and reserve the debit card for the gas. Get set up on auto-pay with as many bills as you can, and manage the rest of your zero-based budget with cash.

  1. Get the Kids Involved, Too

One of the most valuable life skills you can teach your children from a very young age is how to become a wise steward of their finances. In our home, we don’t pay “allowances,” we have commissions. We have chore charts, and our kids are paid for the jobs they complete, just like in real life. No work= no pay. Of course, we are generous to our kids in other ways and take care of their needs, but if there’s something they want, no better way to teach the value of money than good old-fashioned hard work and disciplined savings. We began this journey when our youngest was just three, and to this day he knows when he needs money, he goes to work!

Wherever you are in your family finances, I hope by implementing these tips, you make your money work for you in ways you never imagined!

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Jen Reyneri

Jen Reyneri

Renaissance Woman Jen Reyneri and her husband Luis often live life on the road with their two home-schooled sons. Popular author and speaker, Jen is founder of WordTraveling.com. Spirited and spirit filled, she savors life, poetic words, sabbaticals and strong coffee.

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