CLEVELAND — Student loan debt? Check.
Credit card debt? Check
Woody Garret has a heck of a nut to pay off. Which is actually better than most Ohioans.
But he's still stressed.
"We'll probably never be able to get out,” Woody chuckles. “I may have to rob a bank or something. Hit the lottery.”
His background is bringing the funk to the local R&B scene as keyboardist for The Benjaminz. However, the paycheck wasn't quite cutting it.
And his wife suffered a brain injury, so she can't work.
Financial coach Amanda Sharratt knows how tough this can be.
"What can happen is you get so overwhelmed,” she says,”That you just don't want to look at it and then it can get worse."
Woody was sick and tired of being sick and tired about his debt and agreed to speak with Amanda about his situation.
Amanda is a financial planner who knows a lot about debt.
She and her family got out of $140,000 worth in just three and a half years, following tips from finance guru Dave Ramsey, which she shared with Woody.
They started by using the app Every Dollar to do one of the scariest debt disruptors of all: Creating a budget.
Next, ask yourself: Do you have an emergency fund at all?
Well, you need one.
And that's the next debt disruptor
$1000 put aside, before you even tackle the debt.
"You want to have some money there,” Amanda explains to Woody. “A little bit of a cushion between you in life if you will, because of you're saying I'm not going to go into debt anymore and something happens, you need to have a little money to fall back on."
Debt disruptor number three: Pay off the smallest balances first.
Amanda says that’s because part of this is a mind game.
"You get the encouragement that this IS possible, you know? The sense that this is working," she says. And that's really where the magic happens, where you start making a difference in your personal finances."
Now, thirty days after Woody got his game plan, he admittedly hadn't started saving. He has been looking at his spending to see where he could scale back.
And there's been a life changer.
Woody landed a new job with a hefty pay increase.
Plus, he’s getting back in tune with a tax refund which he'll apply directly to his emergency fund.
"You know," he says, "the good ‘side hustle’ is music. So once I get this job under my belt, it might be time to get back into that. That's good extra money.”
Amanda says if Woody keeps on-track he could be out of debt in about two years.
What’s he going to do when that day comes?
"Throw a party and blow some money,” he laughs.
“Just kidding. I would probably fall on my knees and thank God."