How to Start Your Debt Repayment Journey | Sarah Niensteadt | Skillshare

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How to Start Your Debt Repayment Journey

teacher avatar Sarah Niensteadt, Debt Coach

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (13m)
    • 1. Intro To Living Debt Free

    • 2. Our Crudentials

    • 3. What is a Money Day

    • 4. Structure of Our Money Day

    • 5. Struggles of Money Day

    • 6. Money is a Hard Topic of Discussion

    • 7. A Few Things to Remember

    • 8. What you do on Money Day

    • 9. Homework

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About This Class

This personal finance class on debt will teach you how to beat debt by showing you how to make money more of a relationship than a burden. If you have debt, this class is for you. After taking this class, you will be able to set up a framework to talk about money on a weekly basis. Discussing and learning about money on a weekly basis can help you stick to your budget and reach your goals. The second  class in this series will help you organize your debt, which is the first thing you should do before creating your plan.

Prepare to learn about managing & eliminating debt by learning:

  • What is a money day
  • How to structure a successful discussion about money 
  • What types of topics you should be talking about
  • Pre-work that will help you get the most out of your day

As a class project you will be filling out a money day outline that you will use week to week to build up a successful list of how to better your financial situation. This was the first thing we did before organizing our debts that helped us pay off more than $84,000 in student loans. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Sarah Niensteadt

Debt Coach


Hello, I'm Sarah.

Being told you will have student loan payments forever was just something my Husband and I were not willing to accept. Student debt became a large stress point in our everyday lives. We started this journey 5 years ago after sitting down to develop a plan to change our life forever in just 52 weeks. Since the start of our journey, we have paid off over $84,000 in debt. Today, we can successfully say we no longer live paycheck to paycheck.

Take your organized debt and turn it into a plan with our 7 Day financial boot camp!

My mission is to provide structured courses that can help anyone improve their financial situation. 

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1. Intro To Living Debt Free: Hi, I'm Sara. And if you struggle like with debt like me, then my courses are for you. When my husband and I graduated from college, we had $84,000 in student loan debt and we were just completely overwhelmed. We were being told that we would have to have our student loan payments for the next 10 years of our lives, and it was just something that we couldn't accept. Living paycheck to paycheck is something that we didn't enjoy, nor did we want to do for the rest of our lives. And student loans and other consumer debt became a very large stress point in our lives. And so we decided to develop a plan that then successfully paid off all of our student loan debt. Our mission with these courses is to provide a structured program that can help anyone improve their financial situation. We are dedicated to educating people about basic financial topics that we wish someone would have taught. Tow us in college or before we want to elevate anyone's financial future by using our resource is to improve their knowledge and skills. We want to teach these courses because we want everyone to have the same financial freedom that we do 2. Our Crudentials: Hey, and welcome to the seven day financial boot camp. I am so excited that you decided to take this step and working on developing a strategy to pay off your debts now a little bit about myself. So I'm Sara and my husband is Lee, and we graduated with about $84,000 in student loan debt. We were just like any other millennials. We had recently gotten married, and we both recently graduated from college. And one night we sat down and we were going through all of our loans. We had a little bit of Nell met over here. We had a discover over here. But, you know, we had never sat down and actually put all of our loans together on a spreadsheet. So that's exactly what we did. We sat down and we looked up every single loan, and we decided to write them all down and together we realized it was about 84,000 with accrued interest, and we're both shocked Our minimum monthly payment was going to be $921 a month for the next 10 years. We're just absolutely shocked and overwhelmed. You know, we didn't want to pay $900 for the next 10 years. We thought we both just graduated college. We wanted to find really good jobs, and we didn't want the majority of our salaries going to paying off our debts. And so we went through the very extreme process of pay off all of our loans over the course of the next couple of years and had been recently married. The other thing we realized was that day care was going to be about $1000 a month, and we weren't exactly sure how we're gonna pay for both daycare and our student loans at the exact same time, let alone buy a bigger house. A different vehicle developed some savings accounts, and I know that a lot of people are in that exact same scenario that we were at that time. We had friends that were struggling financially. We had relatives, you know, our cousins that were going through college, and they were also struggling and saying, How are we supposed to do this? And so once we developed our plan and we paid off all of our loans, we had so many people asking us, how did you do it? Please teach me. Please show me what you did so that we can be successful as well. We see the life that you live today, and we really want to get there. And so that was exactly why we decided to put down all of our thoughts, strategies and tools into this program for you to see and learn so that you can develop your own and be successful and live a debt free lifestyle. 3. What is a Money Day : one of the first concepts that you will start with on Day one off the boot camp is going to be talking about your money day. So what exactly is a money day? Well, ah, Money Day is a dedicated day of the week than is set aside to talk about finances. Well, when we first started paying off our debt and having our money day discussions, my husband absolutely did not want to talk about finances. He hated knowing exactly how much money he did or didn't have. And he knew that as long as his bills were paid, he didn't have to have any more conversations. I, on the other hand, was the absolute opposite. I wanted to know how much expenses were going out, how much money was coming in, and I wanted to new. I know exactly how quickly we could pay off our our debt. So Money Day is exactly once per week, and we would sit down for about 30 to 60 minutes per day, 4. Structure of Our Money Day : my husband and I decided to pick Monday as our money day. Now why is this so important? Well, because Number one everybody doesn't like to talk about money between my husband and I. I enjoy discussing money and he absolutely hated it. And so this was a way for us to sit down and discuss a lot about our finances on a very routine basis. This was also time that we could really log in tow, are checking and savings account and talk about what was coming out and what was going in. We also could discuss what are plans were for coming up this week and how we were going to tackle those unexpected expenses or unexpected income, which was always a nice thing to have happen. And so Money Day is just that. It's a day, every single week that you sit down and talk about your finances. Sounds easy, right? Well, for us, it actually wasn't. But we've realised that this concept is super important to anybody who is getting ready to pay off their debts. So we struggled in the beginning, You know, my husband, he didn't enjoy talking about money ever. It was always like pulling teeth. I enjoyed talking about money. I was making spreadsheets. I was keeping track of our finances. I knew exactly how much money we had and you know, my husband. He was just happy to make sure that there was money in the bank account at the end of each month. We also had very, very different goals when it came to paying off debt. I would say that my husband was probably a little more open about paying our debts for a long period of time because he had the typical mindset that you just keep her student loans . You have him forever. You know, there is no way that you can possibly pay them off early. And it was This was a concept that I really wasn't so accepting about. When we realized that we wanted to have kids, I knew that we had to do something about our debt and just pushing the payment off for a period of time wasn't something that I was OK with. 5. Struggles of Money Day : and so over time we developed our money day. Now it wasn't perfect at first. We first started talking about money on Sundays, and it was working at first. But then, with a little bit of time, we realized that it wasn't has habitual as we wanted it to be. We would always, always, always take the dogs for a walk after work, and eventually it started to realize that those were the night that we really truly discussed money. And so we changed it, and it was just that simple. You can change your money day, you know, if there's a day of the week that works better for you, whether it's taking the dogs for a walk, whether it's after putting your kids to bed or maybe over dinner, as long as you both are open minded and willing to communicate about money than that day could be your money day just like us. It can be changed, or it can be adapted. But the thing you really need to make sure you do is commit to having a money day. Whether it changes or not, you still need to make sure that your designated about 30 minutes to an hour talking about finances every single week, 6. Money is a Hard Topic of Discussion: The other thing you need to remember is that money is a very hard concept to talk about. People hate it. It's not enjoyable, especially when you don't feel you have enough money, and that is something that we struggled with as well. We knew when our loans became due and we had to start making minimum payments. We knew that money was going to be tight and we absolutely hated that idea. And so money was a topic of conversation that usually or a lot of times could cause some, you know, frustration and our relationship, having a money day really, truly set the tone for the week because we knew that when we would sit down and go over our checking accounts are savings accounts, unexpected bills or anything. Likewise, we knew that we had to put the time and effort to make sure that our financial situation was being thoroughly gone through and that both of us were open minded and had clear goals of what we expected to have happen. With a little bit of time and effort, we both ended up being on the exact same page and wanting to truly take over our debt 7. A Few Things to Remember: so a few things to remember about your money day. You know, make sure that you both are willing to have open communication. That is number one. You can't have a money date and you can't fit. Fix your financial position if you are not willing to communicate. It's also hard to do if you're not willing to listen to the goals that the other person has and what they see for their future and what they want as a goal financially. Another thing to remember about your money day is to be transparent now. This is a lot harder when you have separate bank accounts, because sometimes people have accounts that they don't want their significant other to know about. Sometimes it's a savings account or a CD. Maybe it's an investment account, but it's really important. If you both have relatively similar goals to paying off debt and putting yourself on a financial trajectory, then it's important to be transparent about all the accounts that you have. You also need to be honest with your goals. If you say I want to pay off all of my debts in six months and it includes quite a bit, including your house, you might not be honest with yourself. You also need to be honest with your partner 8. What you do on Money Day: So what exactly do you do when you start your money day? Well, first thing we always did is we would sit down and open our checking accounts. We would open our savings accounts. You know, even if we were walking the dogs, we would log into our bank accounts or if we're at home, we would get a piece of paper and a no pad, and we would talk about everything that we had going on. Well, what exactly should you be doing? Number one sitting down or discussing anything that you have going on in your savings in your checking accounts, we need to discuss maybe some upcoming bills or really unexpected bills. Some examples for us were really our car registration because we always forgot about it. We never knew it was coming. I mean, we should have known it was coming, but we never knew it was there until it was in the mail sitting on our our desk. And so then we would say, Oh, we totally forgot about this. How are we going to pay this this month? Those are the types of conversations that you need to have before your car registration shows. up in the mail. Another idea would be talking about any extra income that you're going to earn for the month. You know, this is around tax season and taxis, and typically people get a large sum of money that they're not exactly sure what to do with . Ah, lot of people want to use it to enjoy life, travel by things for their kids or themselves. But, you know, this was really a time for us to discuss. How do we jump start paying off our debt or continue the motivation and use that money to really get one of the larger debts paid off? Once you talk about all of your bills or unexpected unexpected income or expenses, now is also a time to discuss your goals. It's really important that each of you develop a goal and stick with it or figure out ways that you are going to accomplish that goal. One of our goals that we started off talking about was paying off one of our lowest student loans, which is around $1000. And so in our money day we discussed how we were going to generate that $1000 or if we have the ability to pull that money out of our current jobs. Another thing that we talked about was whether we need to both get second jobs or if we have the ability to baby sit dog walk or something like that in order to generate additional money. 9. Homework: Okay. Congratulations. You made it through your first day. Your homework tonight includes sitting down and discussing which day is going to be your money day. Another thing maybe you need to discuss is what type of goals you want to start to think about and develop as you start having some of your money days. Congratulations. You did it. You made it through your first day of the seven day financial boot camp. So your homework tonight includes sitting down and discussing which day of the week is going to be your money day. Now, it doesn't have to be perfect, but I would definitely like you to have a conversation with your significant other and see which day you plan on prioritizing as your money day Tomorrow we're going to be going over the debt organizer and how we use this spreadsheet to keep track of all of our student loans and how you can use it to tally up all of your debts. And maybe we'll discuss which deaths you should be paying off first. See you tomorrow.