Believe it or not, two-thirds of adults will have debt at some point in their lifetime! Even worse, some will never pay it off. If you’re in a similar situation and looking for advice, look no further than DJ and Dannie Vann. This couple managed to make it from living in an RV to owning a home, after paying more than $130,000 in debt!
Let’s Start From The Beginning…
Like many others, DJ and Dannie Vann, now 31 and 29, found themselves at a loss after college. Not only were they unaccustomed to budgeting like adults, but they also had the burdens of student loans. Meanwhile, the normal college bills had piled up the years and reckless spending took its toll. Soon enough, for the reasons that so many do, the Vanns found themselves not only married in real life, but also married in debt! In fact, at one point, they had to miss a family funeral because they could not afford a flight back home!
“We had no money, we were living paycheck to paycheck, just coasting through life. We were like, ‘What is it that is weighing us down that we can’t even fly home?’” Dannie said in a recent interview. So, with nothing else to do, the Vanns started where everyone should: a monthly budget. As it turned out, their spending and bills were even worse than they initially thought…
Making A Move
After calculating their spending, the Vanns realized they only had $128 left at the end of the month, not nearly enough to cover bills. So, what did DJ and Dannie do? “We looked at all the expenses – we got rid of our cable, a storage unit, a car, started cutting/styling our own hair, and we stopped eating out as much. These changes added up to an extra $652 at the end of the month,” DJ recalled.
Of course, once they started tracking everything, it became a lot easier! From there, the Vanns took the next best step: eliminating the biggest problems aka spending areas. First, they paid off credit card bills with high-interest rates, then their student loans. “Following a budget really helped. We used a spreadsheet and we used an app called Goodbudget, which has a digital-envelope system. That helped track everyday expenses because those are things that can throw you off if you don’t track them,” Donnie said.
It’s then that the couple moved into an RV, saving a whopping $1,700 a month on rent. Of course, while it wasn’t luxurious, it truly helped DJ and Donnie save for the house they wanted. “As soon as that money wasn’t going towards debt anymore, it started going back towards savings. We were able to buy a home in 2017,” DJ explained.
DJ and Dannie have a few tips for people who are stuck in debt and think they’ll never escape this burden. “High school students should try to do dual enrollment or take AP classes if they’re available. That’s why Dannie’s student loans were a little lower because she came in with almost a year’s worth of credit,” DJ said. Also, they advise looking into a useful major that won’t request too much in tuition. Scholarships are also important to earn some money, so learn about them on the Internet as much as possible.
And, as always, it’s important to learn as many tips as possible to pay off all loans and become debt-free sooner!