3 habits a couple used to save over $500,000 in 2 years
Liz Knueven - Business InsiderMar 17, 2021, 1:09 PM
• A Texas couple paid off $114,000 of debt and kept up the same money habits after it was paid.• They increased their income, and set aside time to talk about their goals to stay on track.• They saved and invested cash after paying off debt, building a portfolio worth over $500,000. • Consult with an advisor to make sure you are doing everything to grow your wealth in this challenging time.
Jhanilka and Anthony Hartzog, a therapist and IT professional, didn't just start saving one day — they had a significant amount of debt they needed to tackle first. Staring down $114,000 worth of student loans, car loans, and credit card debt, the couple did everything from dog sitting to working shifts at their gym to pay it down.
After 23 months, they reached their goal of becoming debt-free. But, rather than start to spend more, they decided to use the extra cash flow to build up a savings and investment portfolio worth over $500,000 — and they reached that goal in about two years. Said Jhanilka, "All the things we started during paying off our debt, we didn't necessarily cut it off once we paid off the debt." They relied on three habits to meet their first goal, then kept up those habits to reach their second.1. Instead of spending the money once their debt was paid off, they just routed the cash towards saving
When you meet a milestone as large as paying off $100,000 worth of debt, it can be tempting to quickly spend that freed-up cash in other ways. But the Hartzogs decided to save and invest it instead. "It could have ranged from $2,000 to $4,000 a month that we were putting towards debt. Once that freed up, we had that extra money we could put towards investments and put towards savings," Jhanilka said. 2. They focused on earning more instead of spending less
The Hartzogs didn't want to compromise on the things they enjoyed while paying off debt, nor while they were saving. "A lot of people just say to decrease what you're spending. But for us, we can do that to an extent," Jhanilka told Insider. "We live in Dallas, but we're from Brooklyn, New York. We wanted to still go back home, and we still wanted to be able to go out. We didn't want to just live like we weren't doing anything. So we were like, 'Let's increase our income so we can still have that balance.'" In addition to dog walking and shifts at their gym, the couple started a cleaning business, rented out their car on the app Turo, and Jhanilka started doing therapy online through an app in addition to her full-time job.3. They scheduled a monthly budget meeting as a couple
Jhanilka and Anthony say that getting on the same page about their money was a big reason they were able to meet their debt payoff goal. While they were paying off their debt, they met every month to discuss their progress, and they used the budgeting app EveryDollar to keep track of their spending.
"We track our expenses and our income pretty religiously," Anthony said. "We go through it at least once a week. Then, every month we have a budget meeting where we review our expenses and our income." Having these meetings helped them reach their initial debt payoff goal, so they kept up the habit as they saved and invested their way to a half-million dollar portfolio.