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. If you have a story that you would like to share, please click here to submit it and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
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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: Whenever we’d be invited somewhere or a birthday came up, we had to be very cheap or decline altogether because we didn’t have the money. We were on one income early in our marriage due to the birth of my daughter. I knew that we could not live paycheck-to-paycheck much longer, as we were one unexpected expense away from major financial disaster. It was stressful and made me prone to anxiety!
Brief Intro: We have had our fair share of debt since we’ve been married from car loans to couch loans and, at my worst point, a boat loan. We paid off the cars and furniture, sold the boat for exactly what we owed on it, and then downsized our house so that we could have a smaller mortgage.
Brief Intro: After having paid on the mortgage for 6 years, I bumped into a colleague who was unusually happy. Upon asking her why, she told me she had just paid off her mortgage. I was stunned and wanted to know how. After crunching some numbers I discovered that I had been paying roughly $1000/month for 6 years (ie: $72,000) but I still owed just over $100,000 on my actual mortgage! I wanted to know why I had only managed to pay off $20,000 of the mortgage given I had paid the bank $72,000.
Brief Intro: As a young married couple, we rushed head first into our idea of the American Dream: a two income household, one beautiful baby with another one on the way, and life with all the bells and whistles money can buy. We both became successful in our careers early on and so it became easy to justify our new found luxuries.
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: We acquired our unsecured debt of $102,200 debt very unconsciously at first. Debt has become so normalized in our culture that we didn’t blink as we took on debts for cars, furniture, some travel, meals out, a variety of consumer purchases, and a mortgage. We had no stress about our debts. We carried them well, paid off more than the minimum in terms of monthly payments, and almost never carried a balance on our credit cards.
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: I had a total of $50,000 in student loan debt that took me around nine years to pay off as I paid everything else. The big push was the last $28,000 that was paid off in 14 months.
Brief Intro: We got married in 2003 and each brought student loan debt into the marriage. Each of us attended private universities to obtain our degrees and that was a big chunk of our debt. We also had a car loan and some credit card debt. It added up to $115,000.
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: The debt came in bunches. The first $18,000 was student loan debt, which wasn’t all that bad considering this was both my wife’s and my debt combined. Another $70,000 was our home loan – a small amount compared to other homeowners, but we were smart and bought a foreclosure when the prices were at their all-time low. And, the final $20,000…I incurred when my wife left me for someone else and demanded half of our estate. It’s a little strange to talk about, but it’s my life’s reality, so there ya go.
Brief Intro: We got into debt from the very moment that we were legally allowed to obtain credit at age 18, quite simply because we wanted things that we couldn’t afford. Our debt gradually increased for many years before we finally buckled down and made real progress in paying it back.
Brief Intro: It felt like a huge burden to have that much debt. You feel like a slave and you feel like all of your hard work and time is spent trying to pay off your master – the lender. I compared it to someone who is trying to lose weight, the excess weight is your debt, and you have to carry around this burden until you decide to make a choice to change.
Brief Intro: My debt consisted of $50,784.35 in credit card debt, and an additional $28,756.17 in student loan debt that was a combination of my master’s degree and my daughters undergraduate degree. It felt like a huge, crushing burden that filled me with dread, worry, anxiety and fear. I hated opening the mail because I didn’t want to see the credit card balances and I hated answering the phone for fear it was a creditor on the line who would then pressure me into making a payment.
Brief Intro: I had a little less than $19,000 in student loan debt, all acquired during my graduate education (earlier I had loans from undergrad, but they’d been paid off already). Why did I have it? Non-frugality, mostly. I couldn’t tell you exactly what the $19K went on; living in a nicer apartment than I might have, going out to dinner more often, whatever…. The total consisted of three loans.
Brief Intro: When my husband and I got married in 2011, we were $22,000 in debt. It was left over from Dontae’s student loans with some of it being credit card debt. I had debt in the past (car loans, student loans, credit card), but at this point it was paid off.
Brief Intro: One moment I had a prime link to my website from a highly ranked article page on a major financial news site, in place for years and generating tons of highly qualified traffic. Then, in a flash the article was gone, scrubbed from the financial site and replaced with a newer article that didn’t feature my link. Result? A 30-40% drop in traffic overnight. Trouble.
Brief Intro: 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.
Brief Intro: I went through 8 years of college… so it was all student loans. The sad part is that I was in the Army, had my college/tuition paid for via the GI bill, yet I still took out debt…When I learned about compounding interest, I felt really dumb for having set myself back so far. I could have invested 10-15 years prior and had a nice nest egg already built up, instead I was 75k in the hole.
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: I graduated from college in 2011 with a degree in journalism I’ve worked for various newspapers, covered the Final Four and NBA Draft and worked for the AP. I was making $28,000 when I first graduated so my loan payments were about 20% of my total monthly take-home pay. That’s s huge amount for someone starting out with no savings and living alone in a new city.
Brief Intro: When I was in my twenties, I had a desire to make money through investing. A man that I considered a friend offered to invest $20,000 for me, assuring me that I would make a hefty profit on my investment. I took the money out via cash advances on my credit cards. The man didn’t invest the money, however: Instead, he took the money and was gone.
Brief Intro: We both went to school twice. Bryant has his Bachelors in Music Education and his Masters in Administration. Emily has a Bachelors in Child and Family Studies and went back to school for her teaching license. We took out student loans to pay for all the degrees. We also had some credit card debt, car loans, and a medical bill. The credit cards were just foolish spending before we got married that added up.
Brief Intro: When my husband and I first started dating, we had $7,500 in combined credit card debt, I had a car loan for $15,000 and he had a student loan for $18,000. That’s a total of $40,500 in debt!! No thank you! It felt like we were never going to get ahead, much less pay all of it off. I’m not going to lie – I had trouble sleeping most nights because of it.
Brief Intro: I had always planned to go back to school for an MBA. Rather than return to my alma mater in the west where I could have probably graduated debt free, we opted for a completely new and unique experience. We ended up moving to the Midwest for me to enroll in a respected program that aligned well with my goals and values, but it cost us an extra $65K, $45K of which we borrowed.
Brief Intro: I had a loan for a Honda Civic $19,300, a student loan on which I owed $3,400, a second student loan of $22,780, and a home equity loan totaling $24,560. [Being in debt was] constricting. I couldn’t make the choices I wanted to (like quitting my job!) because I had too many bills to pay.
Brief Intro: The primary source of my most significant debt was credit card debt, brought about by hyper-consumerism, buying more ‘stuff’ than I needed. The issue was compounded by a divorce….
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.
Brief Intro: As I have shared on my own blog, for almost a decade, I embraced lifestyle inflation while I tried to keep up with the Joneses. At the time, I rationalized that I did not have a spending problem because I always paid off my credit card debt. I may not have paid it off in full every month; however, I paid it off over time.
Brief Intro: Initially when we decided we wanted to become debt-free our total debt was $25,000, which consisted of a $10,000 student loan, $10,000 car payment and 2 credit cards that amounted to $5,000. Prior to really analyzing our finances we never considered ourselves in debt, because we had what seemed like “normal” debt.
Brief Intro: I got into about $30,000 in student loan debt after I graduated from college. It was half federal loans and half private loans. But it was all a complete surprise! I had no idea I had borrowed that much money each year that I was in college.
Brief Intro: At its height, I had just shy of $25,000 in credit card debt and nearly $20,000 in student loan debt. I was sitting at $45,000 total debt, and this was about 15 years ago. To say that it was overwhelming would be putting it lightly.
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: We were simply naive about money and budgets for a number of years. We continued to overspend, using credit cards to coverage shortages of cash. We used the philosophy of if we could manage the monthly minimum payment of the card we could afford it. I wish I could tell you what the debt was…
Brief Intro: I acquired my debt of $14,500 by simply overspending 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. I would eat out almost every day. I bought a car because I wanted a nice car and I “deserved it” but it came with payments of $400 a month.
Brief Intro: My wife and I racked up $109,000 in credit card debt through thirteen years of constant overspending. 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.
Brief Intro: The $30,000+ was all credit card debt. Living beyond our means and feeling entitled to buy whatever we wanted whether we could pay for it or not. We worked really hard and felt like we should be able to have new cars, new clothes, take trips, etc.
Brief intro: The $10,000 was all credit card debt. I got into it starting my sophomore year of college. It wasn’t because I was “bad” with money, but I had my first girlfriend and I had low self-esteem. I thought the only way to love her was to buy her love. So I took her to dinners and bought her things that I really couldn’t afford.
Brief intro: 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. With my savings account earning next to nothing, I chose to prepay the mortgage because I knew it would save me thousands of dollars in interest payments.
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: When my company abruptly cancelled their bonus program one year, we found ourselves in a heap of trouble. On top of that, we had some medical complications with the birth of our third child, which really pushed us over the top. A year later, our debt had climbed past $20,000 plateau, consisting of a combination of credit cards and medical bills.
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: While in school, I kept asking my Mom how much I had in student loans. And for one reason or another, we never got the answer. So, when I graduated, I got the tally in the mail: $72,000+. Now that I think about it, I also had $8,000 of debt for my car as well… $80,000 of debt to start off my journey in the real world! Woo-hoo!
Brief intro: We were not too far out of college when we got married at a Vineyard in the Texas hill country in July 2008. We each had car loans, credit cards, and student loan debt. If you think about $30,000 in student loans, a $20,000 car note, and $5,000 in credit card debt, it’s a pretty standard debt profile for someone in their mid 20′s. Multiply that by two and it’s easy to have over six figures in debt.
Brief intro: The debt consisted of $20,000 Student Loans, $42,000 in car loans, $12,000 in silly credit card spending (dinners, nights out, furniture, stuff we couldn’t afford and wanted airline miles for). The remaining debt was money we borrowed to sell our home and pay off the loan. The house was massively underwater as we had about $275,000 in debt and it sold for $217,500. We easily could have orchestrated a short sale but both my wife Alyssa, and I felt like this was breaking our commitment to the bank and what we signed up for. So we drained our savings and borrowed the rest unsecured to be able to pay off the mortgage after the house sold.
Have you paid off a ton of debt? If so, I want to hear about your it. Contact me today and let me know the details of your debt success story.