Introducing Well Kept Wallet
October is the first month of our official format change for the Money Master. Rather than highlighting a Money Master once a week, we’ll now highlight a Money Master once a month. Rather than just doing a text interview, we’ll do a combination of a text and Blab interview. The first Friday of the month will be our traditional text interview and midway through the month we’ll do our Blab interview.
We’re excited about this month’s Money Master, Deacon Hayes of Well Kept Wallet. We’ve wanted to feature Deacon for a while and had the good fortune to meet and get to know him better at FinCon. Deacon is a great guy with a great story, which is not all that dissimilar from ours.
1) What’s your story?
When my wife and I got married, we decided to combine our finances so that we could get a clear picture of our finances. After creating an Excel spreadsheet with all of our debts listed on it, we realized we had $52,000 in consumer debt. My wife was a brand new teacher and I was working in wood flooring sales at the time. To us, that was a ton of debt and we were just starting out in life.
Well, we set a goal to pay it off in 18 months and then we devised a plan to pay it all off during that time frame. I had recently purchased a brand new Nissan Altima with a push button start, and I quickly realized that the car needed to go. We were upside down, so we had to sell items on eBay to make up the difference. However, within the first few months we were able to sell the car which freed up about $400 per month to put toward tackling our debt.
We also slashed our expenses. We went through our budget and determined if each line item was necessary. If it wasn’t we got rid of it, if it was, we figured out ways to save money on that category.
Lastly, I ended up getting a second job at night delivering pizzas. We were so close to paying off our debt, that I knew I needed to increase my income so that we could hit the goal we set for ourselves.
Wouldn’t you know, after 18 months of hard work and sacrifice, we paid off all $52,000! It was a liberating feeling, although it took a couple months for it to really sink in. We were used to make debt payments for most of our adult life that it didn’t feel real right away. But soon enough we were noticing that our savings was growing and that we could do more in life. We love to travel, so we created a travel fund so that we could do international trips every two years. We were able to pay so much down on our mortgage as well, that when it came time to transition from a condo to a house, we had 20% to put down so that we could avoid private mortgage insurance and have a low mortgage payment.
Since then I have quit the corporate world and have been working for myself full-time for about two and a half years helping people achieve their financial goals in life as a Financial Expert. I now am a contributor for US News and World Report, Investopedia, and I also do local media appearances on a fairly regular basis.
2) What’s your point of view, as a personal finance blogger?
As a personal finance blogger, I love to provide practical tips that will help people get out of debt and begin a journey to financial independence. I am all about living a debt-free lifestyle and helping people understand the value of buying appreciating assets versus depreciating assets.
3) In one sentence, what’s one piece of sage advice from your personal finance background that you’d like to share with our readers?
If you want to achieve any financial goal, you need to understand WHY you are doing it and that will give the motivation to actually follow through and achieve it.
Visit Deacon’s website, Well Kept Wallet. Deacon also hosts a podcast and does financial training and teaching. If you need training or teaching, Deacon is happy to help.