What if a friend told you they’d help you pay off your debt? No strings attached. You just had to contribute to 2 other families’ combined debt as well. You’d pay off debt much quicker by tackling the smallest amount first in an accelerated debt payoff. You’d commit to holding each other accountable to buckle down. Well, that’s exactly what is happening guys, and it’s super exciting!
NOTE: This post was originally published in 2012. I’ve since cleaned up some of the text and included links to our other posts about the debt payoff. You can read more in this series through the 2nd family debt-free, working on the final debt, and the debt payoff is finished!
What exactly is a combined debt pay-off you ask?? We are combining our debts and helping pay each other’s off.
This combined debt pay-off is definitely NOT conventional, but it hopefully encourages you how to think outside the box on how to eliminate your debt.
First, let me introduce you to the families and the debt…
- Mark & Julie ($9,500)
- Gordon & Sarah ($11,000)
- Jamie & Alicia ($40,000)
The debt above does not include mortgages…it is basically comprised of car and student loans.
The 3 families above want to be debt-free (who doesn’t??), so we decided to do something radical. We are paying off each other’s debts. Our debt is combined (just on paper) and we’re paying it off. Together. As you can see above, the debt between the 3 families totals about $60,000.
Credit for this idea goes to Gordon. Actually, I think Gordon stole the idea from Acts 2:44-45.
“And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”
How Our Smallest Amount Accelerated Debt Payoff Works
- Each family contributes $800/month to pay the debt.
- One family receives $2,400 monthly until their debt is paid off.
- The next family receives the $2,400 monthly until debt-free.
- And the last family receives the $2,400 until we are completely debt-free.
Pretty simple really. I just wanted to be clear.
We’re all familiar with Dave Ramsey and his debt snowball. It’s really so simple and ingenious!!
We started collectively paying this debt off in June, of this year. We paid down the debt in the order listed above.
How did we pick the order, you ask? Well, we discussed going after the lowest debt versus the highest interest rate first. Ultimately, we decided we’d all be more motivated if we saw families free from debt quicker. With that in mind, we tackled the smallest debt first and ours was the first to go.
Gordon and Sarah had $4,000 in savings that they contributed to our debt right away. Jamie, Alicia, and our family contributed extra money to our debt. As a result, our debt was gone within 2 months and far ahead of schedule.
Next, we went to Gordon & Sarah’s. At the time of this post, we are trackin’ to be done before the end of October.
Lastly, we will get rid of Jamie and Alicia’s debt.
So you might be saying, “Wow Jamie and Alicia are making out on this deal and the other families are getting hosed!”
Not so fast!!!
We All Benefit From This
For starters, Jamie and Alicia are working hard doing side work (he is in construction/remodeling) and they are contributing quite a chunk of extra cash above the agreed $800/month.
Next, by doing this together, we pay our debts off sooner. How? We are more disciplined to make the financial sacrifice because we’re in this together and accountable. (without this, we’d likely be making the minimum payments)
Plus, helping friends that we love is a blessing. Acts 20:35
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Is it hard to give $800 a month to someone else?
But not because we don’t trust each other. It is hard because we have to make sacrifices to afford to pay that amount of money (which we will go into at a later date to offer our take on budgeting)
We have known these 2 families for just over 2 years but are super close friends, love Jesus, and love each other enough to sacrifice for one another.
What we are doing is pretty out of the ordinary.
But we are ordinary people. We like to live comfortably, eat at nice restaurants, and buy stuff. If we can do something like this….imagine what extraordinary people could do!
If all goes as planned, we’ll all be debt-free by next summer. We’ll keep you updated on our progress along the way!
Grace and Peace!