3 Money Smart Strategies We Applied In Our 30’s To Erase Debt

money smart strategies we used in our 30s to erase debt



It’s still hard to believe that we managed to become debt free including our mortgage before the age of 40. We credit our success by applying simple money smart strategies in our 30’s that got us over the hump.

You don’t have to have a degree to become a money smart consumer especially when tackling debt is a matter of choice. You either do it, or you don’t but the end results will be in part the actions of your willingness to erase debt and get the hell out of the rat race.

Did you know that Canadians are world leaders in debt. Not something to be proud of really.

A report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that Canadian households are among the most indebted in the world. In fact, Canada tops the list of countries surveyed.


Debt never sleeps


If you’re one of those people who can’t sleep because you’ve got debt on the brain, you’re not alone. Debt freedom opening hours are all day every day especially when you’re dealing with your financial future.

You may sleep but your money does not which makes you accountable for every dollar you earn, save and invest. If you find that you are struggling with your debt and are unable to get it right seeking debt help might be the beginning of your journey to erase debt.

Not everyone wants to be rich or debt free but they certainly should strive for solvency because without that you will struggle day in and day out with your money. At the least you must be able to pay your bills and hopefully get rid of any consumer debt you are hanging on to.

Sometimes the only person you can rely on for help with debt is yourself and frankly if you’ve got yourself into a financial mess either you need to fix it or watch it crumble. The problem we were consistently seeing when we were approaching 30 years-old were friends of ours who couldn’t make ends meet.

Related: What we learned in 15 minutes about being house poor

Whether they chose to start a family early, buy into the real estate market, brand new vehicles or suffered job loss what eventually happened was that they struggled to get ahead. It was consumer debt that was rocking the boat and that’s because they went into situations that require money above and beyond just living expenses.


Erase Debt Early – Be Money Smart


How many of you know someone who bought a house and it wasn’t until after the fact that they realized that they got in over their heads? Well, we know plenty of people who have gone on to regret this and now they are faced with renting rooms in their house or their entire walk-out basement just to survive. It should be the other way around. The extra space offers them a faster route to mortgage freedom but sadly that’s not often the case.

Although up to the age of 30 Mrs. CBB and I both owned homes and were practically debt free apart from the rest of our mortgages, a $9000 OSAP loan and vehicle loan for $35,000. There were still your everyday living expenses we had to pay for on top of investing in our retirement funds.

Thankfully we both invested early in our 20’s which is something we both recommend doing if you can. By able I mean putting your retirement savings first over stuff you can do without.

When I moved to Canada I managed to erase debt by selling my house and car however I didn’t own anything. I had no vehicle, no house and not even an apartment. We rented a small room and that is really what fuelled our desire to get out debt free and start our journey to erase debt once again. This time we bought time by renting a room which gave us the ability to plan our attack before jumping in.

As we rolled into our 30’s (Mrs. CBB was there first, hah) we came up with money smart strategies that we would apply towards our future to erase debt as fast as possible. We really didn’t have a desire to have debt lingering under our name and we knew that the only way to crush it was to accept it and pay the money back fast.


Budget Wedding


Gone are the days where couples get married in their 20’s fresh out of College or University let alone having kids and buying a home. It’s just too damn expensive for anyone that most couples are waiting until their 30’s to squeeze life in.

We married for about $1000 and still to this day we don’t regret having an ultra small wedding. Not.One.Bit.

Related: If you can’t afford a wedding then don’t have one

I can bet each and every one of you reading this have been to an expensive wedding that a couple couldn’t afford. By this I mean budgeting or using frugal tactics before the wedding or they simple spent way over budget. For those who do and believe they will pay it off after the wedding sadly come to realize that all the toasters they returned still won’t pay the wedding costs.

Related: How to have a frugal wedding

This was something we didn’t want to do so we went the frugal route and got married in a beautiful, intimate ceremony followed by a private dinner party at a restaurant. My suit and tie were both from Value Village including the shoes and Mrs. CBB bought a seasonal $150 wedding dress from the Sears catalogue which was stunning.

All in the costs came to around $1000 for everything which we saved in full. This meant we started our journey as a married couple with very little debt. Mission accomplished!


Mortgage Down-payment


Purchasing our first house was a huge deal for us because I was new to Canada with my first job and Mrs. CBB had just changed jobs. Over the course of almost three years we managed to sock away a large chunk of money for our down-payment which included any savings we had from our 20’s.

While renting we realized how much time we had on our hands since we had no home ownership or parenting responsibilities. Most of our time together as a couple was spent exploring the city, taking photographs, road trips and walks in the park. On occasion we might have went to the movies but we were content finding things to do outdoors free or cheap. During the winter months we were both still studying so that kept us occupied.

It was during those cold months that we really started to save using coupons for groceries something we rarely did. This gave us a nice boost financially because we saved more than we thought we would have. We also bought second-hand anything we needed including clothes.

Our ultra frugal lifestyle had begun and we kept ourselves so busy we didn’t even notice that we weren’t spending money on things we couldn’t afford or that were out of our price range. I truly think that is the key to keeping boredom away from your bank account.

Thankfully we opted to buy our home on one income only just in case something were to happen. And it did.

Mrs. CBB went on to lose her job just a few months into our first mortgage which was a bummer but we were so thankful that we went into home ownership with our eyes wide open. For some reason it seemed easier for me when I was single to buy a home than it did as a married couple.

Our advice is to save as much as you can and running numbers including practice budgeting with a mortgage before you buy a house.


Budget For Life


The final straw to help us erase debt was changing our money mindset by using a budget. It wasn’t until after we bought our fist home that we started budgeting. It was then I decided to blog about our journey to debt freedom using a budget so everyone could see how we did it.

Related: Money Budget Jars Changed This Couples Life Forever

We didn’t realize how fast it would happen because realistically life can get in the way. Thankfully besides losing her job we were fortunate to have me working with regular salary increases. It was only eight months after we had our son that we managed to erase debt including our mortgage. That means it took us 5 years to shut the door on all debt in our name free and clear thanks to a budget.

Budgeting allowed us to ramp up our savings account, mortgage pay-off and investments for our future retirement. Budgeting is an umbrella that certainly covers everything money related however the earlier you can start the better it will be.

Obviously there is more to becoming debt free in such a small length of time starting with savings while you are young and continuing to do so over the years. The message we always like to convey is that you must start somewhere. Whether you are 20 or 50 and want to start budgeting if done right you WILL see a quicker return had you not used one.


Marriage, Down-payment and Budgeting for the win


So in our 30’s we really had to step up our savings game in order to get where we are today, the million dollar net worth mark in our early 40’s. Even though a million dollars doesn’t buy you much in terms of a house in the bigger cities it does give you peace of mind. Yes you can buy it but it takes hard work and a desire to erase debt once and for all.

Accept the life you can afford and embrace happiness because when all is said and done, no one cares if everything matches in your house or what brand your clothes are. Think about that for a moment. No.One.Cares.

If you are single and don’t plan to get married in your 30’s or if ever you have even more money power to put towards your dreams of home ownership, paying down debt and living the life you want to create. The idea is to apply your money and mindset together so they work in harmony.

You can’t erase debt when debt is constantly on the run. It’s perfectly fine to stop and smell the roses. We’ve chosen to plant them which means we’ve accepted the life we led on the income we have. Spend less than you earn, full-stop.

The choice is yours.

Discussion Question: What were some financial decisions you made in your 30’s that helped you erase debt or get to the next level in your financial game? Share your comments below to help others.


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