Week 2: One Bite at a time: Make a Debt Free Plan


Good morning! I can’t wait to share this year long project with you! I am so excited for this, mainly because I am organizing my entire life this year. 2013 is going to be about organization and getting my life on track in EVERY area. I am going to eliminate so much stress in my life and feel so much better about how effective I am as a wife to Dusty, a Mom to my kids and the type of friend to others that I want to be. I am going to take back simplicity and be intentional in everything that I do. I am going to have so much more fun with my kids while being the BEST Mom that I can be.

Will you join me? Do you crave this simple and intentional lifestyle too? Let’s do it! Start by purchasing your own e-copy of One Bite at a Time HERE. If you are joining in late, don’t worry about it! Just jump in! Also, let me know if you are participating! I would love to help feature you! Lets be as supportive and inspiring to other Mom’s out there who want to take charge of their life in 2013!


This week we are making a debt free plan.

I wrote this post about 6 months ago HERE about how we paid off 39k in 13 months. Well, I am going to be painfully honest here. We went back into debt again. This is a hard post to write. But I want to be honest so that I can hopefully help other people not make some of the same mistakes that we have made.

This year was a very busy year for us. We paid off that debt, moved, and cut our income in half. We got lazy about staying on track with our budget. In fact, I never checked our statements, didn’t pay attention to our credit card or our checking accounts. I thought we were good because we paid off all of our debt. We weren’t. Then in October I realized we were in the hole again. About 9k in the hole.

One thing that I have realized is that you have to stay on top of your finances daily, and most definitely weekly. It helps me best when I add up all of our spending daily on a weekly expense tracking sheet. When you see the numbers visually and see that you spent $300 in one day it really makes you re-think your spending. At least for me it does.

It is also best if your spouse is involved in finances with you. It eliminates surprises in bills and keeps you both on track. Plus it empowers you both to work together. In the past when only one of us was on board with finances we weren’t nearly as successful as when we both worked together as a team.

Making a plan to get out of debt can be a lot of work. It is worth it. Because being debt free is a great feeling. Even though ours was only short lived.

So, what is our game plan?



We are going back to what we know works for us which is War on Debt. You can find it HERE. I think the program was about $99 and we found that it was worth every penny and easy to follow. In fact, it paid for itself for our family by just one month of our grocery savings alone. My only problem with it is that we stopped using it and went into debt again. This time I won’t be stopping and will continue following it. Lesson learned!



One of the painful things we had to do was go back through our statements and highlight anything that was FAT. FAT is things that are luxuries and not necessities. Adding the fat up and looking at that amount always makes me sick. We wasted so much money when we weren’t paying attention.

Here are some of the basic strategies that we are doing:

  • Aldi’s for all groceries (make list and stick to it)
  • line dry our clothes as much as possible
  • use up everything in our house before shopping
  • take an inventory of everything we don’t need and list on craigslist or ebay
  • track every penny spent on expense sheet
  • guard our budget and track daily
  • stay home as much as possible
  • keep utility bill low, keep thermostat down, use fireplace a lot

That is just our action plan for right now to get our debt paid down. Will you join me? Do you already currently do War on Debt? I would love to know your story and celebrate with you and get debt free together!


  1. This sounds great, Erin. We had an expensive 2012 also – I think we could have handled it without too much debt if we had been paying better attention. Taking your eye off the budget and spending for any amount of time is not good – I know from experience. I am not familiar with War on Debt but it sounds like it’s worth looking into. I’ll also check out One bite at a time.

    2013 is definitely our year of organization and simplifying, too. We are doing a good job so far but it is only Jan 9. :) I have faith though that this year will be much better financially for us.

  2. Hi Erin! I’m so excited for you and you family! My husband and I follow Dave Ramsey’s plan and it’s worked well for us. We’ve done budget living for about 4 years now and it works great for us. I use a spreadsheet to list out our income and expenses for the month. That way every penny is accounted for. We also have a plan for any overtime or extra money that may come in. Good luck! You got this–and don’t be too hard on yourself. You realized what was happening before you got back to 39k in debt. I can’t wait to see how you guys do and what organization ideas you come up with.

  3. madge | vegetarian casserole queen says:

    Hi Erin! I’m so with you on making 2013 more organized and being the best me I can be. Including debt free. I’m following Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball Method to get there. Looking forward to reading about your journey…

  4. Love this post would love for you to share on my linky party http://wallisfarmsdailywalk.blogspot.com/2013/01/linky-party-2.html Blessings from Wallisfarm!

  5. Best of luck to you. I’m snowballing my debt right now. It’s refreshing to see other people who are committed to being free!! :) http://www.givethatgirlacola.com

  6. This sounds so great! We are on the Dave Ramsey plan and snowballing our debt. We are planning a move across the country in May and want to have as much debt taken care of before then as we can. I’m following you now, because I want to keep reading and know how you are doing!

    Thanks for linking up with Katherine’s corner

    We Three Crabs

  7. Some great money saving hints–good luck, it is worth it!

  8. Audra @ Renewed Projects says:

    That’s awesome! We do the Dave Ramsey Debt Snowball. Cutting up our credit cards was so exciting! I even made an art project out of them! lol More power to you!

  9. Very inspirational Erin! My goal for this year is also to become much more organized, but I hadn’t thought of financially as well..Best wishes to you :)

    Thanks for sharing with my NO RULES Weekend Blog Party!


  10. This is genius and wonderful and I’m so glad you shared. The husband and I right now are stuck in college debt – not a bed debt to have, but debt nonetheless. We have been trying to work on a plan to get out of it the right way and I like hearing stories like yours to help us. Thanks for being open about your experience – you’ll help a lot of people by sharing this!

    • Rachel,

      Not sure if you’ve found your plan yet, but you see heree that so many are talking about Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball. Clever plan. You list your debts, smallest to largest, with the minimum payments. You jam on paying off the smallest as fast as you can, while still paying the minimums on the rest. When #1 is paid, you take that amount you’ve been paying and add it to the minimum payment of the next, until it’s paid, and then add both to the next, and so on. Genius! You never change the amount in your budget, you just dump it all on your higher and higher debts. Google ‘Financial Peace University’ for a class nearby, or just read Total Money Makeover. “Tell your money where to go, or you’ll wonder where it went!”

  11. Thank you for sharing. We too are in a lot of debt, and although it is going down – it is sooo easy to get behind again. We are going to try to make our budget for Feb soon and stick to it!!! You can do it :) Kelly @ happywifey.net

  12. It really is so easy to get right back into debt. I’ve got mine happily where I want it, and have had for years, but my student loans are about to put me in further debt than I’ve ever been in my life. Quite honestly it’s more than a little scary.

    good luck w/your plan!

  13. Great plan! It is so easy to slip back into debt. i can totally relate to this. For me 2013 is “Back to basics”. And this is one of the areas I am dealing with, consumer debt. We aren’t too bad so, it should be fairly easty to clear it up but, MAINTAINING it is vital! Thank you for sharing this post with us at TTF. have a wonderful week.

  14. I am totally into this too. My husband and I went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University last year and paid off $9000 in debt in a year – it feels great. We are going through FPU again because Dave Ramsey updated information and we want to stay on track. Having our financial house in order is so important as we look at having kids within the next year or so. I came over from “The Grant Life”

  15. I feel better knowing that I am not the only one that has trouble keeping up with debt. We pay down some, but I don’t check statements and the next thing I know, we are further in debt. My mind seems to think that if I don’t look at the statement, it’s not that bad. That really makes no sense, but that’s how my mind works. And sadly, we are running out of “stashes” or credit cards that we could go to. I have never been this scared or nervous about money. I don’t know that I can purchase that program now, but am looking forward to following you and hopefully getting myself out of debt as well.

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