In this episode, Brittany and Kelan discuss how they work as a team so they could turn their side hustle into a full-time online job for both of them AND pay off $25,000 in student loan debt in 5 months!
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Learn more about blogging: https://thesavvycouple.com/category/blogging/
Bloggin Secrets Course: https://thesavvycouple.teachable.com/p/bloggers-secrets
Paycheck Budget Spreadsheet https://www.budgetsmadeeasy.com/spreadsheet
Work Less Make More by James Schramko (aff link) https://amzn.to/3cCftj2
Lifestyle Builders, Bulid Your Business, Quit Your Job, And Live Your Ideal Lifestyle by Tom Sylvester (aff link) https://amzn.to/2UhD7uO
Welcome to the money mindset podcast, where you will find the inspiration and motivation. You need to manage your money better. So you can stress less and live the life you want. This is Ashley with budgets made easy in the money mindset podcast. Today, we are talking to Brittany and Kelan with The Savvy Couple and they help families learn how to budget their money, organize their lives, and find the freedom to do more of the things they love. They love to chat about paying off debt and helping others make their attacks. So today I'm going to talk to them about how they turn their side hustle into a full time income. For both of them, they're both able to stay at home and work on their online business.
They also give us some great tips about working as a team, not only in their business, but on their finances as well, and how they were able to transition that teamwork into paying off $25,000 in student loan debt in just five months. And so now they teach other people how to build an online business and how to blog and make money blogging and all the things. So we're going to dive right into all of their wonderful tips and get started.
But before we do that, don't forget to go get your budget spreadsheet at www.budgetsmadeeasy.com/spreadsheet, so that you can easily plan out your year and figure out how to pay off your debt and save money.
Here is the savvy couple. Hey, welcome Kelan and, and Brittany. And today we are going to talk about how you guys started your blog in order to pay off debt and just live the life you want. And so I'm so happy that you guys are here with me today.
Before we jump right, and can you just kind of tell us a little bit about, you know, how you guys started on this journey with, um, you know, today we're going to talk about starting your blog and how that helped you guys pay off a bunch of debt. So can you kind of just give us a quick background of how you guys kind of started your blog and how, you know, now you guys are making a full time income from it?
Sure. We're both high school sweethearts. We grew up probably within a quarter mile of each other. I went to college together and had our life all planned out. Brittany was going to be the teacher and I was going to be the law enforcement. It's an officer and we got done with school and we started, we had like $40,000 with the student loan debt and we started to get into our careers and we both realized quickly, especially for me, that law enforcement was not the right career path for me, just the hours, the stress, um, not being able to see Brittany all the time, working opposite shifts, just not the lifestyle that I wanted. So we kind of got to a point where sat down at the, at the dinner table and kind of talked out things like, okay, this is what we wanted our life to look like, but it's really not what we want it to be like.
So we kind of laid out a plan and, um, figured out that we needed to start a business together. Um, I definitely jumped around to probably six different jobs, after college and realized that I need to work for myself and kind of have my own freedom in life. So we we're at a crossroad. I was going to start a home inspection business and we decided to start an online business as a blog. And we just saw a bunch of other people that were doing really well with it. I was making money since I was 13 online selling stuff on eBay and Amazon. And so I knew that it was possible. But yeah, we kind of got inspired by other people and started our blog to help other people get better with their money and manage their money and kind of share our story and paying off debt, um, and just budgeting our money together. And that's kinda how it started.
That's awesome. And how long did it take for you guys to actually, you know, make some money online? Because you know, it gets advertised and pushed as a gift quick, get rich quick kind of scheme. Sometimes I feel like, and you know, it can take a little bit longer for some people is faster for others. So how long did it take you to actually make some money?
For sure. I think it definitely has the rap of being easy. And a lot of people see these success stories that happen. They seem to happen overnight. A lot of people see our story and they're like, wow, they did it overnight, but really it's been like a three year long hospital journey. But to answer your question, we started our blog in July, 2016 and we did not make our first bit of income until nine months into it.
Wow. That was $50,
$50. So basically the entire first year we were really not making any money. Yeah.
Yeah. That's how, I mean, that's how it was for me as well. So I like to just kind of share that side of it. Um, you know, some people do make it faster, but you know, what I have found is that those people usually have a lot more previous experience, um, and maybe more mentorship or help to kind of get them to go a little bit faster than just somebody trying to figure it out on their own. Like, you know, like me, at least
the learning curve for blogging is pretty, pretty heavy, but yeah, once you get that experience, I mean, we could probably start another blog and start making money a lot faster this time around. Yeah.
Oh yeah, definitely. Cause you guys are, are, you know, doing pretty well. And so what do you, what have you been able to do now that you're making a living from your blog like that you weren't able to do before?
I think it started with really growing an audience, um, and picking a certain type of ideal reader that we want to serve as our audience. Um, and kind of just picking our way into the personal finance niche and getting a good audience that people can relate to us and trust us, and we can share our story and kind of guide them on their journey to budget and pay off, um, the big things if you're talking like specifically with the blog and what helped it grow, um, was definitely focusing on our email list and using that as our primary way to communicate and build that relationship with our readers. Um, I think a lot of bloggers when they start off, they don't focus on the email list, which we didn't either. We, the first year we didn't even have an email list, um, which is probably why we didn't make any money.
Yeah, same here. It took me awhile to realize, Hey, I might want to do that. So what are some tips for someone that wants to start making some extra money with a blog?
I think the biggest thing in, sorry, Brittany kind of joined she's, she's always been part of the blog and, uh, especially like the first year or so, and then teach, she started teaching full time. So she kind of only did stuff here and there, but I am always a huge talker.
So yeah, if someone's starting, I think the biggest thing is taking first. You have to take the leap of faith. A lot of people get hung up on questioning themselves if they can make it happen and if it's right for them, I think the biggest thing that's helped us is we were always able to take action and understand that failure is part of the process and it's okay to fail. Um, you're not gonna know if you're going to be good at blogging unless you try it. Um, so it's really getting over that mental hurdle and just getting started, um, and knowing that it's gonna be a long process. So making sure that you have the right mindset going into it, that it's going to be a learning process for good year. Um, and it's going to be a project that is just passion project. So you got to pick a topic that you're really passionate about and you'll never get tired of talking about and working on.
So was this something that you both wanted to do together or was it your idea and you just dragged Brittany along?
Well, since I was a teacher over the summer, I was kind of getting bored and always looking for something to do. So we actually started it in July, like Killen said during, right during the summer months. So just trying to find like something as a hobby that we could both work on. And then as we started digging more into it and the fact that we saw that we could make money and had potential income, um, we definitely both got on board as turning it into a business.
Yeah, we definitely, definitely have always done it together when we were at that crossroads, if I was going to start the home inspection business or this, we kind of just thought to ourselves like, okay, what do we want our life to look like in five years from now? And with the home inspection business, that would have been me, you know, going out Monday through Friday, probably Saturdays and Sundays too, and working my butt off to make money and really be capped at a certain amount. So definitely pleased that we picked something to do together here.
Now, did you guys have any struggles with working together and now that you are both full time working together, um, or eat, you know, even with your blog or your finances in general, you know, I know you guys give other people of families advice as well. So if you have any advice for working together on your blog or with your finances.
Yeah, absolutely. So we were both smiling behind the mic here. You asked if it's hard to put stuff or to do it together. And it definitely is. Um, definitely not aligned. Yeah. Brittany, Brittany quit her job June this year. Yeah. So it's December, so about six months now. Wow. That flew by so yeah, it's definitely a learning curve having her come on full time and being together 24 seven.
I don't think I could do that.
It's a lot, but like I said, we've been high school sweethearts we're best friends. So we, we get along pretty well, obviously there's times that we don't and we've got to get out of the house or just separate, but yeah. Um, I think the biggest thing that helps couples get on the same page with stuff is a couple things. The first one is dreaming together. So we've always dreamed together a lot, even when we were in our teenage years, um, just what our life would look like. And we continue to dream often. And I think having that same vision and having those open conversations about what you want your life to look like and the steps that you're going to need to take to get there is just really important to both be on the same page.
if one of you is trying to either pay off debt or budget and the other person's doesn't want anything to do with it. Usually it's just a conversation that needs to be had, and it might be multiple conversations and it might be turning into an argument but it's, it's getting through those difficult conversations, getting on the same page, um, with the end goal in mind, that's better for both of you.
Absolutely. Do you have any tips or advice for, you know, somebody that their spouse isn't onboard with either, you know, starting a blog or doing the budget or, you know, whatever it may be to kind of get them to see the big picture? A lot of times I, when I deal with couples, it's, you know, one may be kind of shortsighted in there outlook on finances where they don't think that they even need to save or anything like that, where, you know, and the other one is wanting to, um, budget and save for things and they just can't seem to get on the same page, you know, and they, it turns into fights and everything else. So, yeah, it sounds like you two have done a really good job with, you know, working and finances and just being on the same page about everything it seems like. So do you have any tips or advice for kind of getting there?
It definitely took us a long time to understand that we're different people and that we're going to do things differently and just knowing what your spouse does and their spending habits, Kelan's the spender, I'm the saver. So just knowing that about each other, having that and budgeting budgeting for that really has helped in that fact.
Yeah. I think we also have been very intentional on learning each other's personalities and figuring out what makes Brittany tick, what makes me tick, what ticks us off, um, and kind of having, coming to marriage with the mindset of we are one unit and we, uh, teamwork makes the dream work. Is that saying that I say all the time and growing up, my dad always said that marriage is not 50 50, it's 60, 60. You always have to go above and beyond. So if your spouse is not onboard with budgeting or paying off debt, and I mean, we can even talk about our debt, pay off attorney Brittany wasn't 100% on board with paying it off so quickly. Um, but I think it's having those conversations and telling them how much it means to you and why it's important to you and why you need to make it happen and just kind of giving them overall picture and hopefully they can help it get started and listen to it.
I love that advice. So yes, let's jump into your debt path story. So how much did you guys pay off and kind of what, you know, what led up to you wanting to pay off your debt?
Sure, so we left college, um, with $40,000 in student loan debt and we kind of chipped away at it, um, minimum payment. Well, yeah, when we first got out, we were making the minimum payment and then once I landed a good job at, with law enforcement, we started making a little bit more like a hundred dollars, extra a month, nothing crazy. Um, and we got it down to 25,000 and this is when our blog started to take off. We were making, you know, significant income. It was $5,000 a month. And we started to get that possibility of what, if we could turn this into $10,000 a month and have Brittany come home and leave her job as well and kind of set that dream. So we sat down at a table and we talked about, okay, if we want you to come home, we need to minimize our risk as much as possible, just like we did when I quit my job.
So that means saving up a huge nest egg in case things went South, uh, it's making sure that we don't have this crazy amount of debt that we still have to pay off and that's hanging over our head. Um, so we kind of sat down and we agreed, like in order for you to come home, we need to make a certain amount for six months in a row and hopefully eliminate all of our debt. So the only debt we have left is our mortgage and that's when we kind of took it head on and used our blogging income is the first time that I took more than a thousand dollars a month from our blog. I kinda just let that money stack away to grow our business. And we started putting $5,000 a month towards our debt. We started our debt free journey on in June, um, over the summer. And then we were paid off. We had a goal of doing it within a year, the 25,000 and we were able to do it by December. So we did it in five months.
That's awesome. So, Brittany, what was your hesitation with not wanting to pay it off so fast? That's a great question. I don't still don't know internally. Why? I don't know. I think that just making the payments that we're making, I didn't see how I knew that eventually we'd pay it off, but I didn't see how that would benefit us. Like in that moment doing it so fast. But now obviously hindsight's always 20, 29. No, this is definitely the best move for me to be able to come home. It took some convincing for sure.
I think the big thing was just like $5,000 is a lot of money. Yeah. Like Holy smokes. And we were just like, not throwing away, obviously we're paying off our debt, but it seems like we're making it and we're putting all this money and time and effort into our blog and then we're just giving that money back away. But it's honestly the one move that really made us find our freedom and have the ability to continue to grow our blog and get Bernie home.
That's awesome. And I know with me, and I don't know if Brittany, if this is kind of maybe your mindset as well with being the saver is I always think, well, what if I need that money for something else? Especially if you're thinking about quitting your job and saying, Oh, it's like, well, what if we need that money in the future where we could just make the payment on the student loan?
Yeah. And we just had it where we had our baby two in August. So we were, we had a newborn and we were trying to pay off debt with having a newborn too. So I think it was just a lot going on.
Yeah, absolutely. So I can definitely see that mindset as well. I mean, I even had, um, just a small chunk, um, saved until like the very end when I could just pay off the rest of my student loans. And just in case, I mean, I didn't spend it or anything like that, but I just didn't want to let it go just in case I needed it. So, you know, maybe that was part of it. Now we did talk about building a blog and everything like that, and I know you guys help people do that as well. So, do you have any resources or free resources for somebody that is just wanting to get started on paying off debt by maybe making some extra money with a blog?
Yeah, so we have our flagship course called blogger secrets and we kind of walk people through taking their blog after the first couple of months of that learning curve and turning it into a thousand dollars a month business. So that's our course that we've had, uh, over 1500 people have taken it, through different bundles and purchasing it through us. Um, but yeah, that's kind of our, our baby that we put together and put in all of the stuff that we've learned along the journey to help people do the same thing that we did and then on our blog, we also have a blogging category that we have some really helpful posts and hopefully by the new year, we also are creating a blogging binder to help people organize and be time efficient with their, with their time to kind of grow and help their blog.
That's awesome. And do you guys have any last words of wisdom, whether it's about starting a blog or budgeting or, you know, whatever you want to talk about, any last pieces of advice?
I think the biggest thing that I'm a big proponent of is sit down with your spouse. If you don't, if you don't have one sit down with yourself or someone in your family and really write down what you want out of life, what you want your life to look like a year from now five years from now, 10 years from now, and then put those puzzle pieces together and, and make a roadmap, have a GPS of where you want your life to be. I think a lot of people end up going to college, going into a job, getting stuck because they're going into more and more debt and I think it's important to really take a step back and realize that we have one life. So managing your money and going after the things you want in life and going after what you are here on earth to do is really important.
That's awesome, Brittany, that was too good.
So I think that as long as if you are doing it with your spouse, cause this is what we do day in and day out, just making sure that you're having those important conversations. And if a blog is the way that you want to go together or another way to make income online, just have those conversations together, dream together, plan out your life together. And just everything will start to fall in place.
Teamwork makes the dream work.
I love that. Do you have that like on a decal, on like on your wall somewhere, you should, you should have that in your office or something. So, and I always ask people what their favorite nonfiction book is. So do you have any, um, favorite books for self-improvement, um, that you'd like to share?
Uh, so the book that absolutely changed my life and kind of got my mind set on the possibilities with the business and just having ultimate freedom over, over your time and money is work less, make more, um, and it's by, I can't pronounce his last name, but it's James [inaudible]. Um, but yeah, that book was totally a huge pillar in growing our business and doing it the right way and uh, just use of time really efficiently.
That's awesome. Brittany, do you have a favorite?
Yeah, it's a new book by Tom and Ariana Sylvester called lifestyle builders and it just makes you have that mindset change and gets you in the right mindset for creating similar to what we say is just creating that life in your plan and making sure that you're, you're building that lifestyle that you want the right way
now, where can people find you?
Uh, we are on all social media platforms at the savvy couple and our websites, www.thesavvycouple.com. Um, and we have a personal finance community that we call family finance freedom that we'd love for you guys to join that's on Facebook.
Good. Cool. Thanks. And you guys also have a free, um, blogging group on Facebook as well, correct?
Correct. That is called blogging with purpose.
All right. Well, thank you guys so much for being here with me today.
Absolutely. Thank you so much, Ashley,
having us. Thanks.
Thank you so much to Brittany and Keelan for being with us today and giving us some really great tips on working with your spouse on your money and on your business, and be sure to go check out their blogging course so that you can start making extra money and pay off your debt. And also do not forget to go get your budget, your paycheck, budget spreadsheet, but just made easy.com/spreadsheet. And I will talk to you guys soon.