Can you really pay off debt while raising kids?
If you don’t believe it’s possible, this episode is for you.
Today’s guest- Kilton McCracken- and his wife eliminated over $200,000 worth of debt while raising their two kids.
Check it out below:
How Kilton Paid Off Debt While Raising 2 Kids
Read The Transcript
Always wanted to make more money, which mean even now I want to make more money. Obviously, that's something people want to do. But it's not in making more money. It's how you manage the money that you're actually making. That's the key is, I gotta manage what I have.
Unknown Speaker 0:20
You're listening to the winning to wealth Podcast, where you'll hear real stories from real people who are on the path to building real wealth. These stories will show you how to earn more money, pay off debt, start investing, and make better money choices so you can build wealth for your future. Now, here's your host, Michael Lacy, what's up?
What's up? What's up teammates? This is Episode 32 of the winning to wealth podcast. And man, I am excited about this episode. And the reason I'm so excited this week is because I got the chance to interview someone I actually know in real life.
Life like someone from my hometown, who paid off a lot of debt. And that is Mr. Kelton McCracken. kilson and his wife kyndra hit a breaking point in their finances where they had to confront some of the limiting money beliefs they held. And in doing so they were able to accomplish something a lot of people only dream about and that is total debt freedom. And I just want to say that if you're struggling to get ahead financially right now, this episode is perfect for you kiloton shares, just so many practical tips and strategies and all of these things that he and his wife personally used, and they're simple enough that you can start implementing these things today. So if this is your first time tuning in to the winning to wealth podcast, I want to first say thank you and welcome. I also want to make sure that you're able to get notified every time a new episode releases
So to stay in the loop on all things winning to wealth, reach up and tap that subscribe button wherever you're listening to this right now. Also, if you're here and you're ready to start your own journey to debt freedom, be sure to download my free book which provides some clear step by step directions to get you from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow. You can find that in the episode description below, or by heading to winning to wealth comm slash playbook. But as I said, I'm super excited for this interview. So let's jump right in with Mr. Kelton McCracken. So today I'm joined by Mr. Kill Tim McCracken and the first question that I want to ask you because we kind of come from the same area we grew up in the same area. And so talk to me about what you learned about money as a kid.
I don't know if I learned too much about money as a kid. I think that was part of my problem. You know, just not really knowing the details of Say, I think part of my childhood, the biggest thing was have your credit, right? You know, you got to have good credit score, you got to have the credit score. And so it wasn't any specific details about how to manage money, it was just not about your credit at all about your credit. And so I found that as I've gotten older, there's much more to it than just having good credit. You know, I grew up with a single parent, I mean, we lived, we weren't, didn't starve anything. But you know, my mom, pretty much Leah from check, check. You know, she tried to make ends meet. And so that kind of, it's kind of motivating to me to want to get out of that. And to be able to have some financial stability to where one thing doesn't, you know, flip the ship over in a sense. And so, I didn't learn a lot about money as a as a young person, but I didn't want to let that hold me down either.
Yeah. Now you said something very interesting because it was a very similar experience to what I had where people focused on having a high credit score. versus having a high net worth. I mean, talk to me kind of about what you've discovered now as an adult, that kind of flips that on its head a little bit.
Yeah. Credit is not as all what is made out to be. Um, I'm not going to say that you don't need credit and good credit, because I think it's, it's a benefit. But I also know that you can work so hard to get good credit and not have any value. And so there's, I just believe there's a healthy balance. I mean, I'm practically debt free now. You know, and so for me, I've just learned that it's better to buy things we can, but we, I mean, every every week we go to the grocery store with cash, we, my wife, and I know you probably won't talk about, you know, how we dated or whatever. So I won't really go into that. But credit is overrated, in my opinion.
So kind of transition into your child that you talked about how you know, you didn't really have a lot of Those money conversations growing up, growing up. But how did that lack of conversation in your household affect those money habits as you became an adult?
Oh, drastically. I mean, you know, I had dead. You know, before I got married, I had some debt and it wasn't like, going out just spending lavishly, it was just not knowing how to manage money. And so, I mean, I worked at Walmart, you know, for years and became a manager pretty early. And so, you know, I was making some good money, but just didn't know how to manage it. I always thought I needed to make more. I remember the days of getting a check where it was about 900. I was like, man, if I can just get it to 1000 you know, I'll be I'll be doing okay. And then when I get it to 1000 man, if I can just get it to about 1200. So it was always, I always wanted to make more money, which I mean, even now, I want to make more money. Obviously that's something people want to do. But it's Not in making more money. It's how you manage the money that you're actually making. That's the key is I gotta manage what I have. Mm hmm.
And so, you know, one of the things you just said is that, you know, as you were growing in your career, and you were starting to make more money, you were finding yourself in debt. And so at the height of it all, do you recall how much debt you ended up with?
After I got married me, my wife, we had almost 200 grand. And that's when you know, we had a new house, we were paying on my truck. It was a few things that that called, but the bulk of it was my house. And the rental house that we were renting out had a tenant in it, it still had a mortgage on it as well. And so it was just it was basic stuff that nobody really would tell you or now said that that's bad debt. But it was because we were not we're not managing the debt well and managing our income well, so probably I'm almost 200 Almost 100 grand.
Yeah, no, I like that you said that, you know, because as a society we do talk about good debt versus bad debt. And you know, people put, oh, you have a mortgage. That's good. Yeah. But if you have a credit card, that's bad debt, and for me, it's kind of like it still at the end of the day, it's just bad. Like, right, like
something that you had seen, you know, justifiable saying it's still against God in a sense, you know, right.
Right. And so where did that desire come from to start living that debt free life? Was that you your wife or kind of where did that what about while you guys
Kendra McCracken, and my wife. We have both been pretty frugal people in our lives so we don't go out and buy a bunch of clothes and things like that. But my son was playing t ball and we had we had moved up we moved out of the other house and got a nice beautiful home and one day I got home and after his game and our kitchen was just a mess, you know, like, man, we don't even have time to put the dishes in the dishwasher is so I mean in the in the dishwasher just seems like everything is always busy. And we're in this rat race. And so she suggested at that time that we move back into our other house sailed out and just work on becoming debt free. And I was like, No, people move up. You know, that's the American dream. You wouldn't talk about it after that. And then it happened again, about a month or two after and I kind of went to her and say, Yeah, you're right. We we need to we need to move. And we did it. We sold the house for more than what we voted for. Move back into the house that we were using as a rental property. And our goal was to pay that house off in a year. And we did and we paid the house off and just the process of you know, my wife, she began to research all Dave Ramsey things. So, I mean, we can we can lead people through that Dave Ramsey. Playing just off of YouTube. She She, she did all our homework on it, took my debit card from my credit card from it started giving me like an allowance and really changed our whole lifestyle. And then within a year we became debt free. It's a blessing. You know, she's at home now. She's probably still going to eventually go back to work. I you know, I told her, it's up to her, but it's a good feeling.
Yeah, you know, I want to talk about that. Because, for me, in our household, it was different. I was the one who did all the research and kind of got the plan started and put everything in motion. And I remember when I started having those conversations with my wife about, Hey, you know, you can't do this now. You can't do that. And we got to cut back here and cut back there. She was like, Nah, bro. That's so yeah, talk to me kind of about you know if there was any of that from you and kind of what were some of those things that you were like, man, I don't know about this.
Yeah. So the minute you The first time when she mentioned it, I was like, No, we, we didn't even talk about it. I was like, no, we're not going to move back into the house. And so we tried to do some things at that current house, we cut our satellite off. That helped out a little bit. You could see you know, we're not spending money on this. I had a 2012 f150. Black was nice, and I got hit by a school bus. And so they total it got totaled out, which was a blessing in disguise, because I immediately was saying, I'm not going to go get something newer. And I went and found a truck that I could pay off in a year. And so the process was slow for us, but it was moving. So we found a 2009 f150 black people don't even realize it's a different truck and paid it off in less than a year. And after that, it was pretty much our house and we you know, our mortgage at the time at the rental house was like 576 maybe we were paying 2020 500 a month on it. And may have watching it go down was such a blessing and it motivated us and you know, we're going to buy another house eventually but whoever rents this house out is gonna pay our mortgage. And so we're doing whatever we pay is just going to be extra to have to pay it off much quicker and you know, our goal is we're not going to have that mortgage gonna be higher than what our rent will rent the house out for. So right
yeah, once you guys were, you know, you finally came on board. I mean, speaking strictly financially, what was some of those first steps that you guys took to start making that kind of progress? I mean, what are you guys doing some kind of budget How did you lay everything out? I mean, what what was kind of your what was kind of your habits.
My wife laid all the deals out on the bed one day and I come home and she's like, we need talking about all this. And I was like, I just got home, you know, but she wanted to talk about it. She had everything laid out, including whatever we had as far as debt but our regular bills and so she You wrote it down. And she said, This is what our expenses are for the month. And this is what you make with the church and with your job. She said, we can live off your income. And so everything she made, we will put on the house. And so it I mean, it was literally, you know, we knew what was going out every month. And we knew what was coming in. And so it was very detailed. We knew what we were spending on groceries. So every Friday, my wife would go to the bank, and she would get out I don't know how much probably about 300 and something dollars. And 120 of it was grocery, the that's the rest of it was spending money for us. And it became a meticulous thing. And we did it she did it every week. And we have the envelops for the car for you know other kind of repairs. And so like when I go get all change, she gives me the money out of the envelop that we're adding into every every week. In So, you know, people can say you know how you can stop doing that now, but we know if we stopped doing it, we'll be right back in the day. And so I just went got my wife's car and it's inspected, and she gave me 100 books out of there. So I got it inspected all change windshield wipers and gave the 20 back because I had 20 lipo gave back, she put it back in an envelope. And every week, you know, we just had my third year passed or anniversary. All the money we got from that went into those envelopes. And that way these next few months, she's not gonna have to go to the bank and get as much it's just gonna be grocery money that she's gonna have to get out. Because the other money that we've normally put in the envelops, should we build it up, you know? And so, this is being disciplined. I love Jordans. I mean, I want the elevens you know, but I have yet to go get them because, you know, it's just we don't, it's not a need for you know,
right, right. And so you said something interesting at the beginning. You were like People don't go backwards, they move forward. Mm hmm. Right. And so now that you're debt free, like how does that play a part now, because I just heard you say, you know, like you, you want to wear the Jays, but you haven't gotten them yet. And so you're still kind of having that mentality or maybe still wrestling with that a little bit, where you kind of still want to do some of those things, but you're having the discipline to not do those sorts of things. And so what's your thought process in those moments?
Hilton Jr, and Clarissa, my two kids, I want to make sure that we provide them a healthy lifestyle. And again, I could go out and buy those shoes. But what I think about is, is it necessary and so what I need to do is and I can do this myself, to spend the money that I get, I just save it, put some back and you know, I can do it. It's just, it's not something that I just have put my mind to, to get it. So if it's something that I want to use Then I have to not break the cycle that we're in to get it. And so however, that looks if it's putting money back, you know, then we'll do that. If I don't do that I just can't go out and buy that, you know, for myself like that, because it's not something that I want to live better when I retire. So if it if it causes me to have to live a certain way, now, that's fine, but when I retire, I'll probably drive a better vehicle do not drive right now. Because that money is gonna be steadily coming in. And it's not just gonna be social security, it's going to be money that I've put back in my 401k, and things like that.
Unknown Speaker 15:36
Yeah. And so in speaking of your kids, I mean, you know, me being a parent as well. You know, I think about now like how the financial decisions we make affect my daughter. And I also think forward like, okay, when she gets older, and she's wanting to play sports, and she's wanting to do all these things, and those things are expensive. How do we balance that with her future? And so how did you guys while paying off 200,000 dollars balance kids and their activities with prioritizing paying off debt.
We sit down and talk to our kids. And obviously my little girl she was when we moved, she was one and a half, almost two, I think. And my son was four. And so we talked to him and just say, hey, it's gonna be some life changes, you know, we're not gonna eat out as much. You know, because we used to eat out every day. And so we just got to talk to him, but he knows a little bit about why we do the things that we do. He still played baseball, and their lifestyle didn't change as much. The one thing that changed the most for them is we started eating at home. We didn't go to Burger King, every Wednesday, and so that was that was a big thing. But you know, he adjusted to that. And now it's more common. I mean, we still like this morning. I bought him, let him buy a doughnut. gave him the money. And we walked in and I let him you know, give the money to the to the lady. And so we still do things that are considered fun for them a lot, a lot of things, we, we plan them so we're not, you know, just breaking the breaking the bank for things that we want to do.
Right, right. And I know that, again speaking for myself on my journey, like my family loves to eat out as a family. So like they get these big old events together and all that kind of stuff. And we kind of had to say no to a lot of things. So, you know, was that your experience as well? And if so, how did your family and friends react to you guys going from like social events to being like, well, we got to scale back because we have different priorities and goals
now. I think we have like said no to things, but it was not just because of finances. It was just because you find a babysitter and all that. And so I'm gonna be honest with you, my friends, my circle and I love those Guys, I don't care. Matter of fact, when we moved from our other house, my wife was saying, Man, I wonder, you know, she she wasn't worried about what people but she said, I wonder, you know, how they feel about it? And and I remember talking to every one of my friends, you know, one thing they kept saying is, you know, we don't pay to visit your house and and I said yeah, and so they've all been supportive and they all got dead, you know, some form of debt some kind of way what is home please that good data in the sense you know, they got, you know, and I have some friends and pretty much my circle they are, you know, have have good jobs and things like that. And so, but they all have some form of debt. And so, I don't, and it's because we we downsized, and we scaled back a lot in we've never had to really say no to faith, like if there was some if there was some kind of event. You know, we get together it's not expensive at all. My wife would take money out of our, she has a envelop for things like that. And so if we had to bring something to the party or whatever, it wasn't, it wasn't that expensive. Like if somebody says, Hey, we're going to go to Colorado next month, y'all won't even know. We're not gonna be able to do it. I'm pretty direct when it comes to how I do things. And so they always hit me when I get direct, I might get booked, you know, I'm just gonna be like, Nah, I can't do it, because I'd rather I'd rather play it safe now. And and then later on, it's gonna be some people that I'm gonna be taking trips. And you're still gonna be working, you know? And so I like my chances in the future. I have to ask this question as well, because we talked about how growing up again, you didn't have the best financial example you didn't have the best money lessons or money conversations. And so as you're on this journey, what were some of those money beliefs that you had to overcome. And then what were some of the things you did to overcome some of those beliefs. They the main belief is that I had to make more money. And the way that I overcame that is I realized that I'm actually making pretty good money. You know, when my wife was working, I mean, we, we always owed money on our taxes, you know, and so I realized, like, we're middle class, you know, we're making decent money. But how do we use that to our benefit? And once I overcame that, I think the way I overcame that is I realized, when my wife showed me what I was making, what she was making, and what our expenses were our biggest expense was eating out. People do not realize how much money you spend when it as far as eating out. And we you know, we stopped doing that that was a big piece of learning to you know, we got to do this Something's a little bit different.
So then how did you manage that going from eating out all the time to now eating at home because that's a struggle that a lot of people have, like you said, and it's one of the first things when people get serious about their finances, they want to make that change, but they feel like oh, I don't have time to cook every day or I don't know how to do this or that. And so what were some of those practical steps that you guys took to make that change
we would obviously go grocery shopping weekly, but my wife started working part time and so she was getting home a little earlier. And so we would have, we would have enough time to eat and you know, it wasn't No, no full course meal every night. There may be nice where we just put some nuggets in the oven for the kids and so it wasn't slaving over the stove every day. But we knew when we got home, we don't find something this is kitchen eat and so there's times where I would cook something at nighttime. You know if it was going to be some steaks or something I put them in the oven cooking. So we got on the next day I got to do is warm them up. So those those kind of things, and even when we started this journey, I said, Look, we got to at least eat out on Sunday. Could you be tired after church because you, US and the kids, I don't preach, I'm not trying to cook when we get to the house. And so, we so we started eating out on Sundays, but then, after a while, we stopped eating, you know, Sunday, I we started going to the house and so, so I would even try to cook, you know, because I like to cook and so I would even try to do something like Saturday night or if I cook them on Saturday, he's gonna be a lot so we can have some extra for Sunday, just little things like that. And, you know, like Tonight, we're going to, we're going to make some cookies. We're going to do it at home, though. So, man, it's been a journey in you know, Dave Ramsey, obviously, we learned a lot through him, but we kind of made it into our own plan. Right. It's been a blessing. And, I mean, I'm one of the few people like yourself that can say that. I did. It. And it feels good.
Yeah. And so, a couple Another question I want to ask you is, how are you guys now safeguarding yourselves from going back into debt? And the reason I asked that question is because a lot of people do pay off their debt, but then they find themselves kind of slowly inching back. Maybe it's like, you know, you pay off your debt, and then you have a flat tire. So it's like, Well, okay, I gotta put, I'm gonna put that on the credit card. And then right after that, something else happens. And then you look up and you're like, dang, I'm right back where I started. Yeah. So how are you guys safeguarding against that for yourselves?
I think it's fairly easier for us now because my wife is not working. And so I don't even get an allowance now. Because I know, you know, where I work at, if I'm hungry. I don't live that far from where we work where I work. And so we've cut back even more, but I think we both have a healthy fear of not going back into debt again. And so again, my way was already frugal. So even when you're frugal, you can accumulate that. And so, we were already frugal now we're frugal, and we know it pays off. And so that motivates us. And, you know, another thing that motivates us is we want to buy another house. We almost bought some land for about 20 to 23,000. And was just the next day we're gonna go sign the paperwork, and we didn't go through with it, because my wife stopped working the day before. And so she was like, you know, what, we probably just need to wait on that. Because we bought this and and I'm not working, you know, it's gonna it's gonna feel different. And, and even though we possibly could have made the payment is just as Wait, you know, let's wait on that. And so just being particular about what we choose, and you know, not signing our name on things if we don't have to, and whenever we can buy things with cash.
Unknown Speaker 24:57
Yeah, yeah, I like that. So Now that you guys have freed up that cash flow every month, because you said you guys were putting an extra couple thousand dollars towards the debt, I mean, where does that money go now in terms of building wealth for yourselves as you move forward.
So we put money in our savings, we'd obviously now it would hurt not working, we're not having that much extra. But we are, you know, we're adding what we can to our savings account, because we're trying to get a down payment or the house or whatever we decide to do, where we are saving what we can, and there's not anything extra that we're trying to do right now. So the only thing we're doing if we have any extra money, it's going to go into our savings account.
Unknown Speaker 25:41
Gotcha. Gotcha. And you guys are planning to use that to purchase more real estate investments, right?
Yeah, well, a house for us to live in. So we want to we do want to get another house in pretty much that's probably going to be our last house to live in in so we'll use the house we're in as income would like to get, I would like to have two rental properties. If our playing goes like one or two will pay off the house, they will buy will pay it off. And then at that other house will still be income coming in. We could go and find another house and put it, put some money in it, fix it up a little bit, rent it out and allow it to be paid off, you know. And so it could look like that. That's kind of what we're looking at a little bit, but definitely with the one rental house will will help us out to just have some income coming in. That is true income after we pay off the house that we're going to eventually buy. Yeah.
And so as you build those plans to buy that that next house, I mean, what are some things that you're looking at so that you don't put a lot of pressure on yourself financially or don't create a situation where it's overwhelming for you? I guess like in our community, the black community I will say homeownership as a sign of wealth and a lot of times we can buy a house and it actually be to our detriment you know, yeah, what are you Doing to prevent against that
we're comfortable and knowing that we don't ever have to move again. If we stay where we are where we're good and so it I think that's kind of comforted us. We don't have to move if you don't want to, but we do want to move. And so right now we're just like chillin in not not putting extra pressure on our sails. And so our goal is when our daughter gets out of she goes to daycare at Grace and so when she gets out of daycare, which been about a year and a half, we were probably gonna you know, do something then because you know, daycare is expensive, and I mean, I could go she gets done I could be foolish to go get me a brand new truck, you know, with that money, but we're gonna we'll start putting that back in our savings and we're excited for the next couple years because we're gonna have some more freedom financially with would her been out of daycare,
you know, and you brought up Kids, I do want to ask this question. I mean, because, again, we talked about your childhood early on, what are you guys doing now to teach your kids about money so that they don't end up making some of those mistakes that you guys made?
Yeah, they are young. So it's kind of hard to communicate it, but with my son, particularly last year, I would give him like some $5 every week. And I told him, you know, you can spend it all on Monday, if you want to, you're not gonna get any more next week. Or you can spend $1 a day like he would go to this app school program, and he could use it in the machine. And I would just really talk to him about you know, try to save some of it. There was one particular time he wanted something from Walmart. And so I told you guys start saving somebody money I'm giving you and so he did, and we went to Walmart, he was able to buy, I think it was Spider Man or something. And so, little things like that. Um, I think that as as he gets older, we'll be able to teach him more But right now, you know, we're just teaching him to base like, he knows that we're, you know, we're saving money, he knows about that. And I tell him, you know, we can just go and buy stuff when you want to go buy it, you know, we got a, we got a budget for it. Now I take them grocery shop with me sometimes. And I know I've done it so long. I know, when my buggy gets to a certain, you know, height that I'm at my 120 mark. And so my kids will just grab stuff and I'll say, No, we didn't we didn't budget for that, you know, we got to get this and, you know, and so just conversation. We talked about it, and I think they can see it in the way that we live too.
Yeah, no, I like that. I like that. So if there if there's somebody listening right now who maybe they just woke up and realize like, man, okay, I got all this debt and I really don't know what to do or where to start. What can you say to that person to kind of give them some encouragement or maybe a practical thing. To get them started,
I would tell them initially face it, find out how much did you actually have? Whether you consider good or bad? Find out how much you have. Second thing I will tell them find out how much your expenses are per month, then what are you bringing in every month? If you if you face what you have in debt total? What are your expenses going out every month? And what are you? What are you bringing in every month? I think it paints a good picture of what you need to do. If you try to figure out what you need to do before you do that. You just got to be spinning the wheel. But if you find out what your complete complete debt is, and face it, you know face to face. The fact of it then how much are you spending every month? Go back and look at your bike record. How much are you spending on average every month? And then what are you bringing in? You know, I listen to Dave Ramsey. Sometimes he knows people making a $250,000 but they live in check the check because they don't know what's going on. went out there just relying on always gonna be replenished when I get this next check. And so when you see it, you'll you'll, you know, it'll help you out
kilter man that is a great, great, great tip. And man, I appreciate you coming on and sharing you and your wife's journey out of $200,000 worth of debt financed is not something that people want to talk about every day. And so again, I appreciate you helping me inspire other people. I'm proud of you, man. And I'm so excited to see what you guys accomplished from this point going forward. Now, as always, it's time for this week's win of the week, and that is to just stay open to new information. I love talking to kill Tim because we not only grew up in the same area, but it seems as if we got the same lessons and money and that lesson is simply what not to do. Right. So kiloton story proves that you don't have to make the same money mistakes that your parents did. Even if you've already made some mistakes, you can always turn it around by learning new ways of doing things. So shout out to kilotons wife kyndra for taking the initiative and bringing the info to kiloton and shout out to kill to him for being open to challenging what he thought he knew, accepting the new information and choosing to go in a different direction. So, what did you learn from this episode, I'd love to hear from you in my private Facebook community, which you can find at winning to wealth comm slash teammates. hop on over and let me know what you're planning to implement in your finances as a result of this week's episode. But that's all the time I have for this week. So until we talk again, keep racking up those wins one at a time. Take care.
Unknown Speaker 32:47
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