Today we share the story of how Candice Marie helped 10 people pay off $39,000 of debt In 11 weeks with her debt challenge.
We all dream of being debt free, but lets face it: paying off debt alone can be pretty boring. So I wanted to create a fun way to pay off debt.
The “Dump Your Debt” Challenge
I had the idea of putting together a debt challenge. I thought “What if we turned paying off debt into a game, and whoever paid off the most debt would win?” I wasn’t sure if anyone would sign up, but I decided to write a post and advertise the contest anyway.
The debt challenge required each player to pay $5 a week for 11 weeks ($55). At the end of the 11 weeks whoever put down the most money toward their debt of choice would win the money collected from the contest. Each week every person would send me a screenshot of the money they put towards their debt. I would compile the updates into a chart and share it with the group at the end of each week. The contestants were able to submit multiple debt payments. If the goal of the challenge was to pay off the most debt, I didn’t want to limit people who wanted to pay off more than one debt at a time.
The winner could use this money to pay off a large chunk of debt, throw it in their savings, or do whatever they pleased with the money.
There was a $1.00 fee each week so technically each player paid $66.00 total. I wanted this challenge to be more of a debt support group where a group of people could come together talk about their struggles and their victories in a safe place, without feeling embarrassed.
Everyone had a different reason for why they wanted to join the challenge. A few of the Contestant responses are listed below:
“I have a lingering consumer debt account that I’ve been trying to pay off for some time now. I believe this competition will provide me the necessary pressure to eliminate the debt sooner rather than later, thus freeing up capital to invest rather than spend.”
“I’ve made many attempts in the past to pay down various credit card debts. Normally I get pretty close, but life always inevitably interferes and I go right back into debt on my cards. I’m hoping that through this challenge I can get back on the right path of paying off my debt with the help of a support group of people who are all looking to do the same.”
“Need support paying off debt. I’ve been trying to do it on my own and continue to fall short.”
“I like competitions and I am already very committed to get rid of my student loans sooner rather than later. I am also curious if this approach actually helps to motivate people to get rid of their debt.“
Why my debt wasn’t moving quickly before the challenge?
Since it was my first time holding a debt challenge I wanted to keep the group small. I also decided to participate in the challenge, and although I couldn’t win I ended up paying off $4,111 of my own student loan debt.
In week one of the debt challenge I had $4,111 left to pay on one of my student loans. By week 9 I had $1,000 left to pay. I realized that before the challenge my debt wasn’t moving because I wasn’t really focused on paying it off. Sure I told myself that one of my goals was to pay it off, but I wasn’t really dedicated to it.
The competition factor also played a huge role in me stepping up my debt payment game. The first few weeks I was only paying a few hundred dollars, then I noticed people in the group were paying $1000 + and I felt as though I was slacking and had to pay off more.
Why Your Debt May Not be Moving
I had about 7 other money goals that I was trying to accomplish at once. My focus was split, so I was making very minimal progress.
If your debt isn’t moving it could be because you’re only paying the minimum amount. When you only pay the minimum amount it’s hard to see any progress. You could also have too many money goals that you’re trying to accomplish at once. So you’re trying to put a few drops of water over 7 different buckets instead of pouring a whole gallon of water over 1-2 buckets at a time.
Another reason your debt may not be moving is because of a high interest rate. Refinancing high interest debt with a company like SoFi can help you make more progress in less time and save money on interest.
When Life Happens
Some weeks of the challenge were better than others. As you know life happens and we may not always be able to put as much money towards our debt as we planned, but that doesn’t mean we have to lose sight of our goal. Baby steps are still steps in the right direction.
Becoming Debt Free
One person in the group even became debt free.
“OMG! I am so happy to have that monkey off my back. Thank you SO MUCH for the extra motivation! It’s kinda like cleaning my apartment: I get more done in the 30 minutes before my guests arrive than if I had all day to clean. Now it’s time to work on my 3-6 month emergency fund! In other news, our office received bonuses this week. For the first time I didn’t have to plead, negotiate,or bribe myself. You know, ‘Okay, Bianca, you can have $100 to play with but the rest has to go to VISA.’ It feels great! Emergency fund, here we come! And a tropical (but budget-friendly) vacation. Because I freaking deserve it! And can actually afford it for a change.”
In the beginning I was nervous about starting this debt challenge. I didn’t know who would join me. I didn’t even know someone would end up debt free. So happy I could help motivate people to pay off their debt. If it takes a village to raise a child, maybe it also takes a village to pay off debt.
Get rid of your debt this year!
Since completing my 11-week debt challenge, I learned a few things that helped me pay off one of my student loan debts. If you’re interested in dumping your debt this year, you can receive my FREE Slay Your Debt Workbook. Happy debt busting!
You can learn more about Candace Marie by visiting her website, http://youngyetwise.com/