Transcript for One mom's 'credit card fast' led to her buying a home
- Now to the financial savings trend called a credit card fast. One single mom is sharing how it worked for her, helping her go from living paycheck to paycheck to buying a home. Chief business correspondent, Rebecca Jarvis, here with this story. Good morning, Rebecca.
- Good morning to you, George. And if you Google "what is a credit card fast?" you're going to get a bunch of ads about how to get a new credit card quickly. Well, this is the opposite of that. It is a tried-and-true method to putting all that debt behind you and becoming financially free. Credit card debt, it's easy to pile on but hard to pay off. But for Lisa Sam Elonis, it was the key to rebuild her life after divorce.
- It was very important for me to preserve some of that money so that I could put it down for a down payment, and also to preserve through the divorce to preserve my credit score so that I would be eligible for a mortgage.
REBECCA JARVIS: The New Jersey native says she had to adjust to living as a single mother of two on one income, so she decided to go on what she calls a credit card fast.
- Not using my credit card in the beginning was a key factor in that because when you're using cash or debit, you can see it. As soon as you don't have enough money, it's right there. It's having the awareness to know that you are actually spending more than you have.
REBECCA JARVIS: Now, the single mom owns her own home and is sharing her top three steps to becoming financially free. Step one, break down your finances.
- I just had a notebook and I wrote down a lot of my expenses, the ones that were most important at the top, like food and my mortgage or housing, and then down the list of things that were less important. By kind of breaking it down and really being honest, or getting real with myself, that actually gave me control as I went forward.
REBECCA JARVIS: Step two, if you must use a credit card use zero-based budgeting.
- When you use your credit card, you take money that you have in your account and you put it into a category, or you allocate it to what you've just spent.
REBECCA JARVIS: And finally, plan ahead.
- I started to plan much better. When unexpected expenses came up, either if it was things that were owed or if it was things that we wanted to do, I tried to plan ahead.
- And what's so great about Lisa's approach is that it's practical, but it also acknowledges the emotional part about money. One additional tip to that end, get family and friends to join you on your credit card fast. It is the same idea as weight loss, exercise, getting healthy. When you are surrounded by others who care, that camaraderie can help keep you on track. Guys, this is always the same thing teamwork. It works in so many different places--
- Makes the dream work.
- --including this. Always does. Thanks, guys.
- All right. Thank you, Rebecca, as always.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.