How This Couple Added $730 to Their Debt Payment Each Month

Before this year, Rachel and Shawn G. didn’t really budget. They sorta planned what they were going to spend for the month, but they didn’t stick to it. And they definitely didn’t pay more than the minimum on their $26,000 worth of car debt.

All that changed in January when this Charleston, West Virginia, couple discovered EveryDollar. For the first time, they began budgeting and tracking their spending together. And they soon realized how much money they were wasting each month.

They found enough “extra” cash to bump up their debt payment from $670 to $1,400 a month! That’s more than double their original payment!

So how did they do it?

“I started watching my grocery budget a lot closer,” Rachel says of the estimated $100 they now save on food each month. “With two kids (ages 5 and 2), we go through a lot of food. So we switched grocery stores. We recently started going to Aldi and now we buy most of our stuff there. It's easy to stay on budget because it’s very reasonable and they have a lot of organic stuff, which we like to buy.”

They also cut back on restaurants and how much they were driving. Now they save about $50 in each of these categories by eating out less and running all their errands in one trip to save on gas.

Perhaps the biggest monthly money-saver, though, has been giving up costly impulse buys. “Before [EveryDollar], if I went to the mall and I wanted to spend $300 on clothes, I just did it—whether it was for me or for the kids.”

Now she waits, watches for sales, and buys less. “I found that we have drawers upon drawers of clothes that they never wore. So we just kind of stopped [buying so much].”

Rachel says the real key to making their budget work has been teamwork. Each month, they sit down and plan for their water and gas bills, kids’ daycare tuition and any special expenses for the month. “Anything we have left over—any dollar, any penny even—goes toward paying off debt,” she says.

And when it comes to sticking to the budget, she adds, communication is crucial. That’s why they use the EveryDollar app to track expenses on the go.

“With EveryDollar, I can just pull up the app on my phone, or my husband can do the same, and we know how much we have left [to spend for the month]. We stick to our budget better, which allows us to put every dollar we have left over toward our debt.”

And they’re making great headway. So far, they’ve paid off nearly $10,000! They hope to be completely debt-free by March 2017, when they’ll celebrate with a family trip to Disney World.

After that, their plans are even bigger. They want to start socking away more money for their kids’ college funds. Their long-term goal is to send both kids through school debt-free, no matter what degrees they choose.

“If they want to be doctors, we want them to do that debt-free,” she says. “We don't want them to be limited because we bought too many cars.”

Rachel and Shawn know their motivation. It’s their kids. And that’s more important to them than cars or clothes or anything else. When they changed their budget to reflect their goals, they made unbelievable strides with their money.

That’s the beauty of an EveryDollar budget. You name the destination. We’ll help you get there.

See how much money you can find to achieve your goals with an EveryDollar budget. It’s free and takes less than 10 minutes to set up.