We paid off $52,000 in debt in 18 months, but we are not the only people who have had this kind of success. There are countless others who have a similar story and now they have a platform to share it. In an effort to help motivate you on your journey toward becoming debt-free, I have created an ongoing series called “Debt Success Stories“.
These stories are from ordinary people who have paid off an extraordinary amount of debt in a relatively short period of time and many of them are completely debt free.
Stories of People Getting Out of Debt
Brief Intro: It felt quite normal since mortgage debt is pretty common. We figured it was just one of those debts you have that you don’t really pay off because it’s unlikely that we would stay in one house for 30 years. Plus 93K to 27-year-olds is a ton of money.
Brief Intro: I’m 27, my favorite color is green and I am debt free! I had $25,302 in student loans. I had a small amount in credit card debt in 2012 but paid it off in two months.
Brief Intro: At one point my debt had ballooned to over $100,000. I don’t think I ever wrote down the exact number or entered it into a spreadsheet out of shame and guilt, but I know looking back that my student loans were somewhere in the neighborhood of just below $60,000.
Brief Intro: My $30,000 in consumer debt consisted $5,000 for an unpaid tax bill I took out an unsecured personal loan to pay the tax bill and then added another $5,000 for a vacation. I then borrowed $20,000 via an unsecured personal loan with my husband to buy an investment property – for the deposit and refurbishment costs.
Brief Intro: We had $151,000 total at our worst, but $127,000 was our mortgage, so we were $24,000 in consumer debt. It was mostly credit cards with a couple vehicle payments, but fortunately our taste wasn’t that of the Joneses so we were okay having older vehicles. I would say about $18,000 was credit card debt and we simply acquired it by spending more money than we had.
Brief Intro: I battled with credit card debt throughout college and graduated with 10k when I left school in 2009. By late 2011, I was debt free and managed to remain so until I bought my first home in July 2013. I lumped the renovation in with the mortgage, but the renovation went crazy over budget (thanks to a crook of a contractor and my own negligence as a first time buyer!) and so I put the $8400 or so in renovation overages onto my credit cards.
Brief Intro: I had no concept of what money really meant – I only knew what I brought in per month and what I paid out per month. I had a very removed relationship with money, so being $10 in debt or a half million dollars in debt made no difference to me until the perfect storm of 2009 showed up.
Brief Intro: My first dollar of debt came in the form of a student loan. I borrowed to finance college but I wanted to live a good life. I opened my first credit card at the age of 18 and I began shopping and using the credit card to pay for everything I always wanted to have. For me, every impulsive ‘want’ was instantly a ‘need’ with my handy credit card.
Brief Intro: My $30k+ debt was all student loan debt. I was fortunate to receive some pretty substantial scholarships from my undergraduate university which kept my debt load low. I then foolishly borrowed a bunch of money to attend a fancy, “brand name” graduate school.
10. How One Guy Blasted Away $70,000 in Debt
Brief Intro: Before I started actually paying off my debt, I had nearly $70,000 in consumer debt. My debt consisted of over $50,000 in credit card debt, auto loans, and Jetski finance payments. The auto loan is pretty self-explanatory. I needed to have a car, so I bought it with a loan. The Jetski was a terrible purchase, which I still regret to this day.
Brief Intro: I created my debt, which was all credit card/unsecured debt, very mindlessly, one purchase at a time. I began using credit in my early twenties and spent over a decade accumulating debt before I finally dealt with my unhealthy money habits
Brief intro: Our debt was 100% a car loan. My wife, Mrs C., and I had always driven beater cars. Shortly after our son was born my wife wanted to buy a newer vehicle. She had her eyes on a 2004 Honda Odyssey, which cost roughly $15,000. I think we put down 20% on the car, but with the added fees, taxes, etc, we ended up owing about $13,000 on a 6 year loan. Our payment was just over $270 a month, and our insurance went up because we had to have full coverage.
Brief intro: I acquired my $40,000 in debt all from my student loans. I have three degrees – my undergraduate degrees are a B.S. in Business and a B.A. in Management. And then I also have a Finance MBA. I didn’t work on actively paying off my student loan debt because I just didn’t care. I was so dumb at the time! Instead, I spent my money on clothing and going out to eat.
Brief intro: My wife went to college during the credit crunch and picked a very demanding four-year degree, nursing. Due to the rigorous course load, Tori couldn’t work during school. She took out loans each semester to have enough money to make it until the next semester. Unfortunately, due to the circumstance she had to take out variable rate private loans at very high interest rates and they accrued interest until she graduated with over $80,000 in student loan debt.
Brief intro: In 2008 I somehow managed to convince this beautiful, smart, perfect girl to marry me. It was the best thing to ever happen to me, and to this day I marvel over it. What follows is a real life love story of sorts: no magical kingdoms, just two people getting a clear vision about how to beat the odds together.
Brief Intro: In June 2016, we had a big tragedy happen. We lost an income in our household. I was on summer vacation, and only making about $1,600 a month, and our rent was $1,400. All of a sudden, I found myself having to come up with our rent money within TWO WEEKS, when I had no money saved. I eventually had to move due to the insane cost of living.
I suppose it didn’t feel bad to have $86,000 in mortgage debt. I certainly could afford my $625 a month mortgage payment. In fact, I had a lot of money to spare at the end of the month.
My wife and I racked up $109,000 in credit card debt through thirteen years of constant over spending. That amount represents everything from food to throwing dinner parties, to trips to Hawaii and Mexico. We just simply didn’t have a budget, and supplemented our income with credit cards.
As of August 1, 2013, my husband Mike and I owed $319,689.13. Almost $40,000 of it was from our student loans, over $50,000 was from our home equity line of credit (HELOC), and the rest was our mortgage. For years, we had been paying the minimums on our student loans and mortgage and a little more than the minimum payment on the HELOC, but that was getting us nowhere.
A big part of why a disproportionate amount of my debt comes from my freshman year was because I was preparing for circumstances and expenses that never came to be. My first year of college was the first time – and the last time – since I was really young that I wasn’t going to work.
I acquired my debt by simply over spending and not having control over my finances. I would justify my spending as rewards for my hard work. I would over spend on my only child (at the time) out of guilt.