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Wendy Valencia took the time to speak with Solvable at FinCon19 about how she crushed her $200,000 in debt. Find out her strategies –
To date we’ve paid over $200,000 worth of debt. My husband and I were never really behind on our debt, or anything but having that much debt really complicated our lives. We weren’t able to do the things we really wanted to do. We lived in the Washington DC suburbs and we wanted to buy a house and they’re over a million dollars in this area. We couldn’t do it because all of our money was tied in paying this bill or that bill so we decided it was time to just cut it off and get rid of it.
So we have multiple goals. Our initial goal was to pay off debt. My husband is changing careers so it was also to have cash flow for his college education. Then, we also wanted to buy a home so paying off the debt is allowing us to do that as well.
The very first starting point is facing the fact that you have debt. Write every piece of debt down, everything you actually owe and then start to deal with that total number. That’s the very first step. I was inspired by a Youtuber I followed, “Budget Girl” and she was out there talking about her debt and how she was paying it off. So I got out there and we started talking about our debt and really you know diving into how we were gonna pay it off, every month focusing our money and like making little steps forward every month to reaching the goal of paying off our debt.
We actually made numerous connections with individuals that are struggling with debt and even people that have had questions about how to pay off debt. I try to make myself a resource and a good sounding board and I would say I get emails on a pretty consistent basis from people who are struggling and have been motivated by my channel to keep going, because it gets hard. In my life, there were times where we screwed up the budget in the biggest way, and I would get in and talk about it and the fact that we kept going forward helped other people keep going.
The way that my family deals with financing: budgeting every cent of your money is a huge priority, not necessarily budgeting. but knowing it’s okay for your money to go to this. Maybe you put a thousand dollars a month into your savings account or your 401k. Just knowing where all of your money is going and where it’s being spent and being aware of how you’re spending more than anything is the most important thing to reaching any financial goal. I mean, even if it’s saving for retirement – knowing where your whole salary or wages are going will get you there.
I have a 7 year-old daughter and we are right now, having conversations at 7 years old about what to do with money. She has the save jar and the spend jar, and whenever she gets money from the tooth fairy or birthdays or whatever, she knows that some can go in the save jar and some can go in the spend jar.As she gets older, that will shift into a bank account and then we’ll add in the giving portion. In my family, we believe that you should share a potion of your money with others to help others who might need help. Well it’s a little early for that but we’ll move on and teach her those concepts as she gets older.