Joint Effort: How to Attack Debt as a Couple with Anna Runyan


Anna Runyan

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Why do you think it was so easy to fall into the debt trap?

I think it is really easy to fall into the debt trap because you want to keep up with everyone else buying a new house, cars and going on vacations. We thought that’s just what you did when you got married. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all of the things you want instead of being content with what you have.

What was the defining moment that made you realize that you needed to get out of debt?

Reading Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover finally made us take action. We knew we were out of control. We wanted to turn our lives around and not have debt control us anymore.

What obstacles did you have to overcome in paying off your debt?

The hardest part was that we would have to say no to nights out and vacations with friends because we were focused on our long term goal. Every debt we paid off motivated us to keep going. When we would go out with friends, we would eat beforehand and split a meal. At times we felt very cheap and sometimes people would make fun of us, but we really didn’t care. Another one of my obstacles was not buying clothes. I realized that if I just didn’t let myself go shopping, my clothing expenses decreased. So I stayed away from the stores and tried my best to wear what I already had in my closet. I wore the same dress to multiple weddings (and still do) and have learned not to care too much about wearing items over and over again. My husband now makes fun of me because I get holes in my favorite clothes that I wear over and over again.

How much total debt did you have?

80,000 (with my husband)

How long did it take to pay off your debt? (If still paying on it, list how much you’ve paid in what time)

18 months (with my husband)

What’s your best tip for someone finally want to get out of debt?

Make a commitment to yourself. Write down your goal and how much you want to pay off by a certain deadline. Make sure you make it a reasonable goal and tell your friends and family about your goal. When you can’t go out to dinner with them, you don’t want them pressuring you! You need their support to make this happen. Also be creative. When my husband and I were getting closer to paying off our debt, we really wanted to decrease our living costs but it was just something that we could not figure out how to move. So we decided to offer our spare bedroom to one of my best friends for a very affordable rent. This did two things. 1) It helped us get out of debt faster. 2) It helped her get out of debt. Win and win! Plus, who doesn’t want to hang out with their best friend everyday!

Check out Some of Anna’s Awesome Posts on Debt

15 Ways I Paid Off $80,000 of Debt in 18 months

CCG18 Podcast: How Debt Can Influence Your Career and How to Get Rid of Debt

You Aren’t Trapped: How I Changed My Work and Life To Make Me Happy

  • Tahnya Kristina

    Paying off your debt as a couple is so important. A lot of couples don’t know that their spouse’s credit score can either hurt or harm them. Great post.