My wife is an amazing person in many ways. Her ability to save money, live frugally, and enjoy life to the fullest is an everyday inspiration to me. She really exemplifies the simplest and most important rule of personal finance: earn more than you spend.
During this one year of high intensity debt repayment, my wife maximized her income, minimized her expenses, and saved, saved, saved! After I proposed to her, we decided that she would continue working (we didn’t live in the same state) until we got married.
At the time, she was working for a pharmaceutical company making around $60,000 a year. However, this income was supplemented by the fact that her company gave her a car, gas card, food allowance when travelling (she was away from her home 2 weeks a month), a laptop, and a cell phone. Additionally, she moved back with her parents in her old childhood room, so her housing costs dropped to zero. Because her costs dropped so low, she was able to save over 80% of her take home pay. She generally spent less than $300 a month for a year on clothes, going out to eat, and spending time with her family.
This intensity and focus on a financial goal cut our combined student debt in half, from $100,000 to $50,000 by the time we got married. She came into the marriage without a penny of debt to her name. I wish I could have done the same, but my expenses were higher and my income lower, so I’m still working on paying down my $60,000 worth of student loans I graduated with (now down to $40,000 after 2 years!).