They Did it and So Can You! 4 Real Life Budget Success Stories

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Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further

Once you find yourself in a financial hole, it’s hard to climb out of it.

In fact, you usually end up digging deeper and deeper when you do.

Where do you start? What do you focus on? And how do you avoid making things worse for yourself?

As difficult as transforming your financial situation can be, it’s not impossible.

Many have done it, and they didn’t need to make millions on the stock market or build a multi-billion dollar business to do so.

No, these are people just like us, with limited funds, no expert knowledge of the stock market, and a whole bunch of bills that need paying off.

Here are some awesome success stories that prove anybody, with a little hard work and preparation, can climb completely out of that hole, and fill it with dirt so they never fall into it again.

Krissy Schwab’s Experience with

Krissy Schwab was having trouble keeping track of her expenses; especially the part where every little swipe of her debit card meant another set of numbers to remember.

Keeping track of every receipt and entering every purchase into Excel got real tiresome, real fast.

Luckily for her, she discovered’s budget setup system, where all you need to do is enter your basic financial information (bank account, monthly bills, loans, income etc.), and the site configures the rest, telling you how much you should have left over at the end of each month, and offering helpful guides as to how your spending compares to others.

Thanks to Mint’s expert organization of her financial situation, Krissy ended up saving thousands of dollars, streamlining her spending so virtually all of her bills get paid off in one paycheck, leaving several more checks a month free to help her live a life, rather than simply pay for one.

How Carrie Rocha Paid Off a $50,000 Debt in Under 3 years

Carrie Rocha of Pocket Your Dollars was over $50,000 in debt. In two and a half years, she had paid her entire debt off, even while being laid off from her job.

Her secret weapon: coupons. She and her family meticulously clipped coupons, but not just any coupons.

Too often, people buy up everything that has a coupon attached, even if they don’t need it. And then they wonder why they aren’t saving any money.

Rocha instead focused on necessities, especially ones already on sale, and found herself saving a lot of money, very quickly.

The great thing is, even if you don’t buy a newspaper anymore (kids, ask your parents if the term “newspaper” confuses you), there are plenty of online coupons that you can take advantage of.

Just find the ones that help you most, print them out, and get to saving!

Geoff Lennon Learns the Middle Way Method of Saving Money

Geoff Lennon was having trouble balancing his budget and saving any money. He tried micromanaging every little penny and found it too confusing.

He then tried a laissez-faire approach, which was more lazy-faire than anything, as he stopped keeping track of anything he spent at all. Not shockingly, he lost control quite quickly.

Finally, Lennon discovered a happy medium: the Balanced Money Formula championed by the website Get Rich Slowly.

This middle-of-the-road approach doesn’t keep track of every last tiny thing you do with your money, but does structure your budget in such a way that, ideally, less than half of your money would go towards “needs” (bills, food, gas, etc.)

The remaining half would be split between things you want (toys, games, trips, music, electronics, etc.) and savings for the future.

Adhering to this method has helped Lennon finally cut down on expenses and start saving money, and it could very well work for you too.

Doug Nordman Knew Nothing of Finance, Still Retired Early

After having a child, former career military man Doug Nordman decided he needed to spend less time working and more time fathering. This would mean less income and more saving.

So, despite admitting to not having a lot of financial savvy, and making a ton of mistakes along the way, Nordman and his wife managed to save in every way imaginable.

They embraced any form of free entertainment, such as the beach or library, and cut out as much needless spending as they could. Any home improvement or maintenance project that they could handle themselves, they tackled.

Finally in 2002, after decades of scrimping and saving, as well as finally finding a portfolio that worked for him, Nordman took early retirement and has never looked back.

He fills his day with fun and, while he absolutely could take a job just about anywhere, he chooses not to. He’d rather have fun and, thanks to finding a financial solution that worked for him, he absolutely can.

These stories prove once and for all that, if you truly want to save money, balance your budget, climb out of debt, and possibly retire early, then you absolutely can.

It just takes a little work, a lot of focus, and a ton of dedication.

And while your story will ultimately be different than the ones you just read about, it’s very possible that one or more of their tricks could work for you.

So give it a shot; the thousands of extra dollars in your bank account will thank you.

Mary Hiers is a personal finance writer who helps people earn more and spend less.


Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further