Everyone makes mistakes while paying off debt. We have all been there!

Today's post is by my friend Charissa – enjoy!

I must admit something. I was not a shining example on how to best pay off debts! There were plenty of dumb mistakes I made while paying off debt. 

Regardless, the story ends well and I paid off $7,661 in total debt while putting my hubby through school!

So, what mistakes did I make? Here's a list of mistakes I made while paying off debt (so you don't have to).

Related: How to Make Extra Cash During the Holidays

Here were plenty of dumb mistakes I made while paying off debt. Regardless, the story ends well and I paid off $7,661 in total debt while putting my hubby through school!

12 mistakes I made while paying off debt

1. I did not follow a debt snowball.

A debt snowball takes the smallest debt and pays as much as possible until paid off, while paying minimum payments on the rest, then adding the first payment to the next debt.

I jumped around and did not pay off debts in order.

Paying off smaller debts first would have kept my motivation high.

This is one of several mistakes I made while paying off debt.

One helpful tool to learn more about the snowball method is Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover.


2. I forgot to include necessary categories, like car repairs, in my budget.

This lack of planning caused the 3rd mistake.


3. I kept charging on my credit card.

I added $1,000+ in charges before closing the card after paying everything else off.


4. I paid extra only on the car loan.

I had been paying more on my car loan before getting married and continued with the extra amount, but never increased the payments on other debts.

One method is to use a free Digit account when you have extra money. What I really like about Digit is that it analyzes my bank account and determines how much I can really save per week. Some weeks it might be $5 and other times it might be $20. You don’t have to worry about overdraft and can contribute less or more if you need to. As of now, I don’t know an easier way to save money! You can learn more about Digit here. 


5. I did not cut my lifestyle expenses much.

More mistakes I made while paying off debt were we took trips, ate out, and bought what we wanted. I fit monthly payments around lifestyle expenses.

One way to earn free money is using Ebates. If you have to do any shopping online, you earn cash back on every purchase. I have made over $700 in the past couple of years just from shopping on this site. This is free money that is put into your PayPal account.

Ibotta is another free cell phone app. You use it after you go grocery shopping and use your receipt. It's basically a rebate app, so you can earn anywhere from 50 cents to $5 off everything you buy.

My favorite part about this app is that it's not always brand specific, like a lot of coupons are. So you'll be able to scan “any brand of bread” for 50 cents off, etc. If you do coupon – you can STILL use Ibotta and get a rebate. For the diehard couponers out there, this will often result in getting an item for FREE. Crazy, right?

If you want to grab the Ibotta app and start making money off your grocery receipts, click here to get started. Here's a $10 cash bonus when you scan your first item that you can deposit into your PayPal account! 


6. I did not have a solid plan to attack my debt.

I tried to budget and pay off what I could, but did not detail a plan on how and when I wanted to pay everything off.


7. I never hustled to work more and bring in more income.

I did not want to work more hours than was comfortable and therefore stressed about money. I started hustling after becoming debt free. 

One way to earn more money is through the Side Hustle to Success Course.  There are over 40 different ways to earn extra income starting immediately!


TIP: Starting a blog is one of the best ways to make extra money. I made over $13,000 in six months of blogging. If you want to start a blog, Bluehost has the cheapest options to get started (that's who I use). Here's a list of ideas to blog about and a tutorial on how to get started.


8. My hubby and I did not work as a team to pay off our debt.

We were in agreement about getting out of debt; however we did not share the passion and hard work of paying everything off.


9. I was spotty about budgeting.

I hated budgeting and panicked, thinking a budget showed how I failed with money so I avoided budgeting. This was one of the biggest mistakes I made while paying off debt.


10. I did not apply my raise as extra payment amounts on my debt.

I received a raise in our two-year battle with debt, but only increased lifestyle and paying cash for hubby’s tuition.


11. I was not mad at my debt.

Hatred towards debt brings a willingness to do anything necessary to pay off debt.


12. I did not have a clear picture of why I wanted to be debt free.

I only wanted to see my husband graduate with no loans. But now being debt free, I have the freedom to save for the future, give to others, and enjoy the fruits of my labor with no regrets.

Looking back, I wallowed in debt longer than I should have done. Don't make the same mistakes I made while paying off debt! Set a plan, use a budget, hustle, sacrifice while being furious with debt and you will be able to clean up your debts quickly.

Tip: If you like to travel, try staying at an AirBnB instead of a hotel. This a fun and creative way to save money. If you want to be able to travel while paying off debt, this is one of the best ways to travel at a discount.

Over the past couple of years, I have stayed at a handful of AirBnB's and saved a ton of money. I've been able to rent an entire house, condo and apartment instead of a room at a hotel. If you want to stay at an AirBnb, here's a coupon for $30 off your first stay anywhere! 

Tip: One great way to earn extra income is to take surveys, especially because you can take them from anywhere. I have made thousands of dollars from taking surveys.

TIP: Here is a list of the best surveys to take to start making money and help you get out of debt.

What mistakes did you make paying off debt?



Author: Charissa Quade became debt free while cash flowing her hubby's education. She and her husband live in the beautiful Southwest desert of Arizona where Charissa uses her expertise in living debt free by following a shoestring budget to encourage others to take control of their finances. On her website, Cook With A Shoe, she shares tips on how to handle money well and takes the scary out of budgeting. Connect with Charissa on Face Book, Twitter, or Google +.


Kristin, is the creator behind Believe In A Budget. She teaches others how to start a blog and how to side hustle. Her course, Pinterest Presence, helps bloggers + businesses drive traffic to increase their website's profitability.