Mom & Daughter Plan for Retirement & Pay Off Debt

Judy and Chelsea are a mom and daughter duo who are crushing their financial goals together. They have a beautiful blog where they alternate posting articles each week. Judy is focused on retirement plans whereas Chelsea is working on becoming debt free. They have been so gracious to tell me a bit more about their background and provide some actionable tips below!

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Judy is a wife and mom to two adult kids who is patiently waiting for grandchildren. She was a stay at home mom when her kids were little. When they grew older Judy went back to school and work full time. She's now planning and looking forward to retirement a few years down the road. Judy's mom was a child during the depression so she learned how to be thrifty from the best. Although Judy strayed from my frugal ways for a few years while working and going to school, she's now diving back into it as she nears retirement.

Wow, these are great tips to think about for retirement!

what are some of the steps you're taking to plan for retirement? 

  1. I’m fortunate to work for a company that has a good and stable retirement plan, so that will be a large part of my retirement income.
  2. My husband and I have a few investments. Beyond that, our main savings goal has to do with downsizing. We have a lot of fixed assets that we hope to sell eventually. We’d like to either buy or build a smaller house and cut our living expenses.
  3. My mother always told me not to put all of my eggs into one basket. In other words, diversify. My husband and I have always tried to find a variety of ways to invest.  I think it’s important to research and find your comfort zone, whether it be real estate, stocks, bonds, antiques or whatever.
  4. We are also both starting to consider part-time income opportunities doing things we enjoy to supplement our income.
  5. I am always looking for ways to reduce expenses. For example, see my article on reducing your grocery budget
Start earlier. Everyone says that and everyone is right. Money was tight when I was 30 and the kids were young, but I wish I would have found a way to save even 5 or 10 dollars a week.


How do you stay motivated?

The realization of how fast the years go by keeps me motivated. I’m approximately seven years away from retirement. When I think back on what I was doing 7 years ago, it’s hard to imagine where the time went. I also just try to enjoy where I’m at right now. Don’t think about it. I think it’s actually easier to save and stay focused now because I’m really content with what I have.

Excellent advice. Baby boomers, it's never too late to make a plan for retirement.

Any advice for other baby boomers who might be panicking about entering the next chapter of their lives and not feeling financially prepared?

  1. First of all, don’t panic. It won’t do you any good. It is what it is, so just start today.
  2. Make a plan. Cut expenses. Think about downsizing. If you are still supporting your adult children, stop. It’s time to worry about yourself.
  3. Find ways to make more money. Consider developing a skill you enjoy or expanding a hobby that you love that you can use to supplement your income when you do retire such as computer repair, tax returns, blogging or jewelry making. There are endless possibilities. That’s what retirement is to me, endless possibilities. 

BONUS: What's your favorite part about blogging with your daughter?

Everything! I had tried to start a blog a few years ago, but got very frustrated because I couldn’t figure out how to make my site look like I wanted it to look and my photography skills leave a lot to be desired.

When Chelsea suggested starting a blog, I jumped at the chance because I knew that our skills would complement each other. It’s fun to bounce ideas off of each other. When one of us hits a brick wall, the other throws a ladder. It’s really special when your daughter grows up to be your friend. It’s even more special when she’s your business partner too.



Chelsea is 26 years old and graduated with my bachelors degree in graphic design in 2013. She is a newlywed who recently bought her first home. Chelsea currently works for a corporate retail company doing photo editing and retouching. She started her debt free journey in September 2016 with about $36,000 of debt, the bulk of which was student loans.

Want to pay off your student loans? Learn 5 tips to pay off your student loans in less than a year to live debt free!

Congratulations on crushing your debt! $20,000 paid off in 5 months is so impressive. How did you do it?

Thank You! There are a few things:

  1. Dave Ramsey has been a huge inspiration through this whole thing so getting on his baby steps plan has been the biggest thing.
  2. Setting goals. And staying focused on those goals have been the keys to paying off my debt. Do some quick math to figure out how much money your bring home each month and what your expenses are. Whatever is left over you should be able to throw at your debt. This should give you an idea of how many months it will take you to become debt free.
  3. Getting on a budget. A budget shows you where all of your money is going every month. You’re probably doing a lot more mindless spending than you realize and once you’re on a budget, you can see areas where you can cut back.
  4. Making sacrifices. I think saying no to everything has been the hardest part. We had to turn down an all inclusive vacation to Punta Cana with my husbands family this summer. I get asked to go to the movies, dinner, lunch, get my nails done and other things with friends that I often have to say no to, which is hard. I feel like I'm missing out on a lot but I know it will all be worth it. 
  5. Having an accountability partner helps you to stay on track with your goals as well. 

RELATED: Reasons you're still in debt. 


Editor's note: If you have student loans and would like to learn how you could potentially lower your monthly payments and save thousands of dollars in interest, then take this FREE 3-minute questionnaire to find your lowest interest rate. It doesn't hurt your credit!  


What surprised you the most about this journey?

My husband and I have been together since we were 16, we're best friends and have always gotten along really well. I think the thing that has surprised me most is that this journey has brought us even closer together than we already were. Our relationship is now stronger than ever. 

Any advice for other millennials who might be feeling overwhelmed about their current debt situation?

I feel like as millennials we've been lead to believe that we can't be successful in today's standards. We've been told that the economy is terrible, that there aren't good paying jobs anymore, that the little man can't get ahead, that student loan debt is drowning us and there's nothing we can do about it. These were all notions that I was under before I started paying off my debt and I think just getting out of that mindset is extremely important.

We need to learn to live within or under our means because it’s become too common to just finance things that we can’t afford.
— Chelsea from

It's not easy, it takes hard work, sacrifice and dedication but I believe no matter what your situation is, getting out of debt and becoming financially successful can absolutely be done. 


Lastly, what are your goals for the future?

My biggest short term goal is obviously to become debt free. I have a car with about $15,000 left to pay. I'm hoping to have it paid off by October of this year. Long term goals, I've always wanted to be a mom so my ultimate dream is to be a stay at home mom and be able to make a full-time living blogging and doing graphic design. 


BONUS: What's your favorite part about blogging with your mom?

It's been really great quality time for us. We try to get together about once a week to discuss what's going on with the blog. She also makes up for a lot of my shortcoming, while she's more savvy in the writing and business side of the blog, I'm better with the design and technical side of things.

Be sure to follow these two on Instagram @thrifting.and.thriving and check out their blog Thrifting & Thrifting for more!

Related Articles:

How They Did It: Amy Paid Off $30k in Debt
How They Did It: Amanda Paid Off 60k in Debt
How They Did It: Sami Paid Off $157k in Debt
How They Did It: Alli Saved $35k
How They Did It: Grace is 100% Debt Free


Do you have an inspiring journey and would like to be featured in this series? Please send an email to or leave me a note in the comments below.