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Debt seems to be something that stands in the way for most people in many areas of their lives. Many crafters are just moms wanting to contribute somehow to the family income. There are also many crafters making over the 6 figure mark and solely support their family financially. But regardless of income from crafting, if most of it goes to pay bills, then that takes away from the joy in our craft.
This post is to help you find ways to pay down consumer debt such as credit cards, so that the money we earn from crafting can be enjoyable and have a purpose.
When I first married my husband, we read Dave Ramsey’s book, “Total Money Makeover” and listened to his podcasts every day. In case you haven’t heard of him, he is a huge advocate for getting out of debt and building wealth.
Now, some things we chose not to follow such as selling our cars, even though our payments combined were $1100/month. Yuck! Dave Ramsey suggests that if you can’t pay your cars off in 2 years, then to sell them and buy a “junker” with cash. We loved our cars and decided we could pay them off fast enough to where that monthly payment wouldn’t be a big ding to our checkbook for much longer. We were focused and driven. We knew we had credit card debt and student loan debt out the wazoo… but we wanted a house… we wanted a future… and honestly… we wanted some wealth.
I had a full time job, taught yoga and crafted on the side. Hubs worked overtime, and got a 2nd job. Now remember, we were 25 and no kids. Obviously it’s a little easier to get two jobs when there aren’t little ones running around. But there are ALWAYS ways to find extra money to throw at debt, regardless of population of your home. You just may have to be a little creative… or run on a few less hours of sleep for a while.
Here are 4 Things We Did That Led To Our Debt Payoff Success.
- We Said “No.” – We actually said “no,” a lot. We ate meals at home to save money. We didn’t go out with friends often, but when we did, we set a budget before we left. We planned out our grocery trips and did meal planning. We didn’t spend any money unless it was agreed on before hand. No, we weren’t zombies. But we found cheaper alternatives to spending time together. Which actually made us closer. And I found out that I can only beat my husband in Rummy about 1 out of 76 times.
- We Did Extra. – There wasn’t much couch time in our home while we were focused on getting out of debt. I picked up extra yoga classes, I advertised my boutique, I worked overtime… basically if I wasn’t making money, I was thinking of ways TO make money. I read Dan Miller’s Books, 48 Days To The Work You Love and No More Mondays, and even though I am not a reader, I was so encouraged by these books to find something I actually cared about and to find success in doing them. My husband worked overtime as it was allowed by his job and he sold a lot of items around the house that just weren’t needed anymore. Then, everything over the amount we needed for bills, food, and gas, went directly to pay down debt. And boy it was amazing to watch those credit card balances go down!
- We Set Goals – We had a goal date to pay things off. We broke that down monthly with what needed to be paid in order to meet that date. If we got off track, we made adjustments. Even if that meant adjusting the goal date, we would do that. We checked in monthly with our progress and made sure we were still on target. If the goal wasn’t hit, we didn’t discard the goal. We adjusted it. Meaning, we didn’t forget about it and say “oh well that didn’t happen… let’s order pizza.” Instead we adapted, and reset, and got back on track.
- We Stayed Focused. – Notice I say “we” a lot. This was not an individual effort by any means. My husband was 100% on the same page with me throughout the entire process. This is probably the main thing that made us successful. Dave Ramsey often says that finances are the #1 cause for divorce. I believe it. I’m so grateful to have a man that saw eye to eye with me and that we were able to power through. We did have times where we caved a bit and went to dinner or spent some money on some fun things, but we agreed on the extra expense and we went right back to work attacking debt. We did it together. And we were able to not only pay off $40,000 in debt, but also save $15,000 for a down payment on our first home. All in 18 months!
I think the biggest takeaway from Dave Ramsey’s teachings, for me anyway, is to tell your money where to go. You can’t throw money in your bank account and “hope” bills are paid with it. You have to consciously say “this money is for this,” and not allow the 2 year old inside you to ask for the new toy with that money instead.
For me, telling that 2 year old inside to hush wasn’t that hard. I’ve always been very money goal oriented. There’s a line from the movie Office Space where he says “if I could do anything I wanted and money didn’t matter, I would do nothing.” And that always resonated with me. I never had anything that I was passionate about enough to do if there wasn’t money in it. Thank goodness with HoopMama Designs, LLC, I have finally found something I would do even if there wasn’t any profit in it, (thank goodness there is.) But if you’re goal oriented like I am, you’ll be ready and willing to make sacrifices in order to see the rewards.
As Crafters, Here Are 6 Ideas You Can Try In Order To Start Your Debt Pay Down Journey.
- Monogram Sale – Find items from the Dollar Store that you can personalize with names or monograms for quick sales. Tote bags, cups, kitchen towels, plates… etc. Be creative and give incentives to get more items purchased at once. For example, offering a “5 item for $25 sale” may grab some interest and put some money in your bank account quickly.
- Sample Sales – Have extra bodysuits or other supplies laying around? Take some time and whip out some new items and offer them at a “Special Intro Price.” This also helps you build your inventory as well as grab a few customers. Don’t forget to take excellent pictures to add to your shop.
- Teach a Class – If you are skilled in your trade, maybe teach a class to school students. Obviously you may not want to teach people in your community how to be your competitor, but high school and college students may be a great market to target. Who knows, when you’re ready to hire an employee, you may be able to grab one from your graduating class!
- Host a Party – We’ve all seen the sign paint parties. These are easy enough to host yourself! If you have a cutting machine, you would just need to make some stencils, grab some paint, brushes and wood, and you’re set! If you’re an embroidery girl, you could supply scarves, legwarmers, totes, or other (cheap) items and set up a monogramming station and let them monogram their own items. All involving wine of course. This would make for a great girls night!
- Sell That Stuff – The stuff that’s been sitting there FOREVER that you SWORE you needed. I mean, you had that coupon, I know you had to get it. But it’s STILL sitting there. Sell it. De-cluttering helps with the creative process as well!
- Be Creative – Think outside the box. Don’t follow what your competitors are doing. Do something different. Something that makes you stand out and will bring in profit. Try not to buy MORE items to make things happen unless you can do it without going into debt because obviously the goal here is to try to eliminate debt.
Since paying off the first $40k, we have paid off the rest of our student loan debt ($75k), purchased several big box items with cash (furniture, tv’s, washer/dryer, embroidery machines, etc.,) have purchased land and are starting to build a new home. Trust me, I can’t count the times my husband and I will stop and just take note of how blessed we are. And it’s all because we worked hard to be here and told our money where to go..and obviously by the favor of God.
I won’t lie at all… when I say we worked…we really worked. We were tired. It was hard. But it was worth it to have freedom that enabled me to quit my day job and be home with my son. Even with my business now… I work harder than I ever have in my life. But when I look back and even when I look around now… I know it was all worth it. HoopDaddy has also been promoted 3 times in 6 years and is now a Vice President in his company. I know his hard work at the beginning of our marriage helped set that pace. Getting out of consumer debt helped shape our lives. I can honestly say that I am so excited about what the future holds. I will always encourage and pray for each of you in your journey of debt freedom as well!