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Woman who paid off a £27k debt and now owns many properties, reveals her financial secrets

Julie has over 400,000 followers on TikTok after sharing some of her favourite financial secrets
Julie Haneline says a ‘no spend month’ each year helps her save (Picture: Jam Press/@juliehaneline)

The American woman who was deeply in debt due to student loans, credit cards, and excessive shopping has revealed how she got out of it – and why she now does a no-spend month every year, saving £1,200.

Julie Haneline, 36, of Greenville, South Carolina, began saving after taking a financial course in college.

She decided to set herself a challenge five years ago by not spending any money at all – aside from vital bills like rent – and was astounded by how much money she was wasting on trivial things.

Julie has repeated the exercise every year thereafter, accumulating between $1,300 and $1,700 USD (£950 and £1200) each time, amassing a savings account of roughly $8,500 (£6,000).

Although she chose January as her month because it is a time when many people are short on cash after the holidays and New Year's celebrations, she says any month will suffice.

Julie's journey to financial freedom began after she graduated from college in 2007, when she was in debt of roughly $37,000 (£27,200) due to school loans, credit card debt, and financing her automobile, according to Metro UK.

Julie said:

‘There was one point I had to start putting tuition and rent on my credit card in college because I wasn’t making enough money from my part-time job.

‘I also made poor shopping decisions. I loved buying new clothes. I didn’t have the self discipline in my early 20s that I have now!’

Julie began by focusing on paying off debt, but once she had done so in 2014, she continued to be economical — this time with the purpose of building a savings account.

Julie made numerous sacrifices to make a dent in her debt obligations, and she saved money by couch surfing and living with friends.

'Having a roommate wasn’t ideal in my late 20s,' she said, 'but I did what I had to do so I could pay off debt and save for my first home.'

Julie intended to use the money she had saved to buy a house after she had paid off her debt.

She added:

‘After buying my first house I knew one day I would rent out that property and start real estate investing.

‘I purchased a second home in 2019, moved into that one and rented out the first one.’

The frugal young woman acquired two more properties in the same year, which she rented out. Her sole obligation currently is the mortgage on her residences, but she earns a good living from them as well.

Julie rarely dips into her money, though she did take a cruise in 2019 to the Dominican Republic and the Turks & Caicos Islands.

Julie provides a few ways to keep you on track whether you're trying to cut back on spending or undertake a no-spend month.

Her best piece of advice? Simply say no.

She said:

‘So no eating out, no shopping, no alcohol, pause subscriptions and memberships that aren’t a necessity, such as gym memberships, beauty subscription boxes, apps etc.

‘And try to hold out on hair and nail maintenance, and only buy items at the grocery store that are for a recipe or healthy snacks.

‘There is no “I might need this later” allowed, items like extra bags of crisps or extra cans of beans etc.’

Those who aren't ready to go completely without spending can pick one category to avoid instead, as Julie suggests, as it's 'better than nothing.'

‘I don’t find it [the no-spend-month] that difficult,’ she commented, ‘because it’s only one out of the 12 months of the year and the reward is worth it.’

@juliehaneline Money Tip Monday????????Open an online savings account to get higher interest rates #moneytip #budgeting #moneytipmonday #moneymoves #savings ? one dance - shae

A fasting-style diet, such as Whole30 (which emphasizes eating nutritious, whole foods while excluding sweets, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy), also helps her succeed during a no-spend month.

Julie added:

‘With Whole30 you can’t really go out to eat anyway so it helps me not be tempted to get take out because of the food restrictions.

‘I’ve heard of people that go all out with no spend and don’t even buy gas so they’ll ride their bike everywhere once they’ve used all their gas – now I’m not that extreme but I think it’s awesome!’

Whether you adopt a new diet or not, another great idea is to plan your meals ahead of time and get creative with what you already have in your pantry.

Julie recommends downloading apps or going to websites that display your recipes based on what you have on hand, and she loves batch cooking chilis, soups, casseroles, and crockpot dishes.

Support will also help.

‘Get a friend of family member to do it with you to hold you accountable,’ said Julie. ‘I have eight people in a group chat doing it with me, and last year I had six.’

Julie has over 400,000 followers on TikTok after sharing some of her favourite financial secrets. One of her most popular videos is her advice to keep two separate bank accounts: one for 'fun money' like shopping, nights out, and gifts, and one for bills, gas, and debt.

She said:

‘I love using my platform to encourage people, help them and bring positive energy to others.”

‘No spend January makes me very happy because it saves me money and resets my spending intentions for the year!

‘It is also a great practice of self-discipline too which I think is a great quality in all aspects of life.’

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