Money

The simple trick that helped a couple pay off over $200,000 in 2 years

After restructuring their lifestyle, Claudia and Garrett Pennington paid off $200,000 in only two years. They downsized to a tinier home, stopped eating out so often and picked up side hustles, all to minimize spending.

With these thrifty habits firmly established, they picked up one simple trick to ensure they never go over their budget.

"We actually pay our bill twice a month," Claudia tells CNBC Make It.

That means "twice a month we have an opportunity to look at our spending, and make sure that we're still spending in line with the budget that we set for the month," she says.

Credit experts recommend this strategy. Micropayments help ensure you will be able to pay off what you owe in full, and, if you find you are overspending midway through the month, you can make the necessary adjustments before it is too late.

Source: Two Cup House

The Penningtons learned the hard way. "We put ourselves in situations where we had revolving credit card debt," says Claudia.

As GOBankingRates reports, remodeling projects on their old 1,500- square-foot home took them $16,515 into debt. They also maxed out their cards repeatedly, including in 2015, when they bought a camper for $10,000 using a credit card cash-advance check.

Now that they've become debt-free, the couple uses this bimonthly payment trick to stay in the black. And they'll continue to do so with a new goal in mind: financial independence.

Source: Two Cup House

On the couple's blog, Two Cup House, where they share details of their financial situation, Claudia defines financial independence as the point "when our passive income exceeds our annual budget." They are looking to invest in real estate that will generate $30,000 annually.

The downsizing and cost cutting, backed by their reliable credit card payment system, makes that dream realistic. Plus, publicizing their choices on the blog has made it hard for them to cheat.

"I know that if we were to make a mistake I would end up writing about it," Claudia says, "and sharing that experience with others has absolutely kept us in line."

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Don't miss: How a tiny house helped a couple pay off more than $200,000 in debt

This story was originally uncovered by GOBankingRates.