As a member of the personal finance community, I’m amazed at how many people are a part of it. Unfortunately that often means that I can’t always keep up with everyone. It’s a shame because there are some wonderful bloggers with their stories and advice on handling finances responsibly and with fun.
To counteract that and get the word out on other bloggers, I’m interviewing bloggers in the community. This week Brian from Debt Discipline is answering my questions. I hope you check him and his site out.
What inspired you to start Debt Discipline?
After hitting rock bottom in 2010 we decided we need to make a change in our finances. I took the lead as I managed our money at that time. I balanced the check book, paid the bills etc. I began to educate myself about personal finance. I figured there had to be some secret to it all that I was overlooking for all these years. What I found was that it was pretty much common sense, spend less then you make, have a plan, prioritize needs over wants, etc. I began to share this information with my wife. We talked about the end goal of being debt free and have a surplus to build wealth. After seeing how doable getting out of debt can be I wanted to share our success with others. I’m sure there are other families in the same situation as us. I figured a blog would be a good way to share our journey, and as well as keep us focused on our plan. I decided on Debt Discipline as a name because I believe you need to have discipline to change you bad habits, to stop over spending to achieve your goal of being debt free. To date we have paid off over $100k of debt and are on track to be debt free in the next 3 months.
How did you get everyone on board?
I realized early on that my wife and I had to get on the same page for us to be successful. I focused on the end goal. Painting the picture of what our financial life will be like when we are debt free. Having a surplus of over $2k per month to save, invest, and increase areas of our budget for entertainment, travel, etc. This remains our motivation today, once my wife and I looked at it in these terms we were sold on making the sacrifices today for a better future for ourselves and children. Our three children were 11,11 and 8 years old at the time we started so they didn’t have much say in the mater, they came along for the ride. Along the way we have included them in our budget discussions and let them understand why we were making changes, we want them to understand money and budgets from an early age so they will not repeat the mistakes we have made.
You share your numbers openly on Debt Discipline. Is that to help you to stay focused on the plan or is that more for readers?
I share my budget with numbers because I think it’s important for others to see real examples. When I was first starting to get my budget in order I needed that type of help. I also do it for myself and family on a monthly basis for my own internal tracking and review, so why not share.
With your personal experience with going overboard with credits, how do you feel about them now? Do you completely avoid them? Do you have a place for them?
We cut up our credit cards in 2010. We have a single card today with a $1k limit. We used credit cards as an extension to our cash. If we wanted something and didn’t have the cash we used credit. We judged our spending limits by our minimum monthly payments. We have now learned that was a big mistake. We are not ready to jump back in to the credit card game just yet. We want to become debt free, build our sizable emergency fund first and then may consider using credit cards responsible in the future.
What are your plans for Debt Discipline for this year?
I just want to continue to share our story as we become debt free, build wealth and invest. I hope with becoming debt free I can redesign the site, offer move giveaways, etc. in hopes to grow the audiences to reach more people. The goals remains to help a person out there that might be in the same situation we were in 4 years ago and to help keep our family focused on our goals.