written by Shae Bynes, Founder of ChasingYourFreedom.com
Today’s Debt Crusher Spotlight is on Eileen Meyer, a busy wife and mother of 3 young children (ages 7, 6, and 4) who works a full time job at a hospital with a 2.5 hour daily commute roundtrip.
Although Eileen’s husband was recently laid off from his job, together they have managed to sacrifice, get their side hustle on (by flipping real estate), and pay off $50K in debt!
There are several great tips throughout this interview with Eileen and I hope that you find this to be inspiring and informative if you’re striving towards a debt free life.
What led you and your family to a decision to break free of debt?
I wanted to have the ability to leave my J.O.B., be around for my kids as well as do real estate full time. However, paying the monthly bills was a constant struggle which added a lot of stress and anxiety to our lives. Not fun! We wanted to lead a more stress free life where we could focus on living how we want vs. living by how were going to pay the bills. Having $82k in debt made leaving my J.O.B. completely impossible. We needed to crush that debt and put some money in savings to make it possible! Now, after crushing it for all these months, I know that anything is possible : )
What was (is) your debt payoff strategy?
We had approximately $82k in debt including credit cards, car payment, unsecured line of credit, 2nd mortgage and a variety of miscellaneous bills.
Our strategy was to start small. We put all of our side hustle profits into paying off the small bills first and then working our way up to the larger bills. We also lowered or eliminated certain household costs, completely eliminated mindless spending and kept a much better eye on where our money went.
We have paid off $50k in debt as of this week and plan on being debt free early next year!
Were you intimidated by the task in front of you?
Absolutely. The overall goal of paying off all our debt was extremely overwhelming, I never thought we would get there!
How did you translate that intimidation into action?
I tried not to look at the big goal of paying off all our debt at once, again, it was too overwhelming. Instead I focused on the smaller, more attainable goals. These were our small bills and now we’re focused on the larger ones. Each payoff is such a phenomenal feeling!!
What obstacles have you faced since starting your journey to debt freedom and how did you address them?
Our biggest obstacles were the things that every day life threw at us and having to adapt! It was frustrating when we were planning on paying off a bill and then something would happen in life (as it does) where we would need to spend that “bill money” on something other than the bill.
For example, my husbands car engine blew and we needed to decide if we were going to get him another car OR a new engine. It would be impossible for us to be a one car household. Unfortunately, neither choice was cheap. We knew we didn’t want a car payment and buying a used car could possibly come with its own set of issues. So we decided to put an engine in my husband’s car. Yes, the bill we were planning on paying off had to wait to be paid but we did not incur another monthly payment.
Tell me about the avenues your family took to pay off debt.
We definitely had another income source but we also cut back our spending tremendously! Our side hustle is real estate. We started out doing wholesale deals and moved up to rehabbing in the past 18 months. We were paying down some debt while wholesaling but it was pretty inconsistent. Knowing that we wanted to be debt free, we needed to be more consistent and this led me to the BEST decision I’ve made thus far in real estate… joining my mentoring/accountability group. The mentoring was for rehabbing and accountability was for our consistency. This also took a tremendous amount of focus and commitment but we had our plan and it needed to be executed!
We knew that ALL of our profits from the rehabs (and any wholesales we picked up along the way) were going towards paying down our debt. This isn’t as easy as it sounds either. It is very, very difficult to put your blood, sweat and tears into a property, make it look beautiful, sell it and not be able to enjoy all the fruits of your labor. We did take a little money on each job so we didn’t burn out but at least 95% of it went to the bills. My husband is currently laid off from his J.O.B. but has a huge impact on our real estate business. He is a tremendous part of the success of that business and I could not do any of it without his love and support!
Some other avenues we took outside of our side hustle were to look at all of our current spending and see where we could cut back. We minimized our cable, canceled our home internet and minimized our cell phones (we do not have a land line). We limited the amount of times we went out to eat, we looked for activities that were free or low cost, took only staycations and bought only the things that were essential. I love this quote, “I do now what others won’t – so I can have later what others can’t”. Once again, it’s not easy but CAN be done and is only a temporary situation.
What advice do you have for Freedom Chasers who desire to become debt free?
Make a plan, commit, focus and execute. We struggled for a long time paying a little bit here and there but not making a huge dent. I honestly never thought there would come a day where we would be debt free but we’re almost there. Keep moving to pay down those bills down and you will get it done. Also, STOP using your credit cards! We have completely stopped using our credit cards and WILL NOT do anything or buy anything unless we have the money. If it needs to be purchased on credit, we do not buy it.
Thanks so much to Eileen for sharing her story. I have a feeling that remaining $30K worth of debt will be knocked out in no time! If you want tips on how to crush your debt, be sure to check out my free Debt Crushers Blueprint.
If you have your own Debt Crushing Success Story, I’d LOVE to hear it. Simply contact me here.