How We Paid Off $52,000 in Debt in 18 Months

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Deacon Hayes, and wife, Kim Hayes at Disneyland

I have often been asked how this was possible. Did we make a lot of money? Did we know something that most people didn’t know? The short answer is “no”. We just saw our situation as it really was, a mess. We had bought into to all the cultural lies of buying everything that we could to make us happy, financed a new car so we didn’t have to worry about maintenance, went to college in order to get a good job, the list goes on and on.

The Real Story

We didn’t own our stuff, our stuff owned us. Not only did we have the $52,000 in debt we also had 2 mortgage payments as well. It was slavery. Get up, go to work, get a check, pay the lender. Get up, go to work, get a check, pay the lender. I could only take so much of this until I finally had it. My wife & I decided to get our act together and started making better choices with our finances.

We Got Intense

We sold EVERYTHING! (Well, it seemed like everything). We sold my brand new Nissan Altima within less than a year of purchasing the car and we even lost $6,000 in the process. However, it was worth it because we were in line to lose much more than that in the coming years. Ebay and Craigslist were on my PC speed-dial and it seemed like every day I was mailing out something that I sold online or I was meeting up with someone from Craigslist to get rid of our stuff. It was a liberating feeling. For the first time in my adult life, I felt like I was getting control of my finances.

We Trimmed Our Monthly Expenses

This was a huge part of our success. We cut the cable, my gym membership, chiropractor visits, massage therapy, eating out, and I am sure there was more. The idea was that we only had two options: increase our income or decrease our expenses. So the latter became the momentum we needed to make some serious headway.

We Refinanced Our High-Interest Debt

Between Kim and I, we had a few credit cards that we were paying over 13% interest on. My grandma was kind enough to loan us the money at a much lower interest rate which helped us pay off our debt even faster. If you don’t have a grandma to help you refinance your debt, there is a company called SoFi that I absolutely love that does this all day long. They can get you rates as low as 6.574%, so definitely worth checking out if you have multiple credit cards that have a high-interest rate.

The Bottom Line

Interest compounding against you will be your financial demise. Albert Einstein said once that compounding interest is the eighth wonder of the world because of how powerful it is.

Wouldn’t you rather have interest work for you than against you? 

Our problem was that we had credit cards at over 13% interest, a mortgage over 8% interest, school loans at about 6% interest, and a car loan at about 4% interest…It makes me sick just thinking about it. What I realized is this one simple fact: I wanted interest to be working in my favor, not against me.

As I write this article, we have no debt but our primary residence. We pay interest to only one lender and we have a plan to pay that off in 10 years. The interest that we made in investments far surpassed that which we paid in 2010. We are now heading in the right direction.

Take Action

If you really want to get out of debt, you need to take action. To help you on your journey to be debt free, I took everything that we learned while paying off our debt and created an online course to teach you how to eliminate your debt in a short period of time. It is called Debt Free in 18 Months!

You Can Do it Too

As corny as it sounds, you have to know that this is true. Debt is not a way of life, it is a product that has been sold to us and that we bought, hook, line, and sinker. You have the ability to get out of debt and YOU CAN DO IT!


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11 COMMENTS

11 responses to “How We Paid Off $52,000 in Debt in 18 Months”

  1. Carrie Smith says:

    This is an awesome story Deacon! I especially like the part about finding “common sense”. I came to this realization myself before I became debt free. I also agree with you about wanting interest to work in your favor instead of against you. Interest payments can be brutal, and I’m so glad I’m free of them. Congratulations on your accomplishment! Way to go!

  2. Jenine says:

    So, what I would like to know is: After you sold your car, how did you get around? Did you buy a used car off Craigslist? With both of you working, did you drop each other off at work with a used car or a motorcycle?

    • Deacon says:

      Hi Jenine, we ended up selling my wife’s car as well for $5,000 and then bought two cars with that money. The cars definitely weren’t as nice but they were reliable and got us where we need to go.

  3. Greg says:

    This is a great story and I hope to replicate your success. Reading your story is inspirational and i can’t wait until I can say I’m debt free!

  4. Gen Y Finance Guy says:

    Congrats!

    You have an awesome TV spot, by the way. I’m looking forward to checking in on your journey periodically.

    We are debt free besides the mortgages we have on our primary residence and investment condo. We just initiated a strategy I devised to kill the mortgage in 7 years, which will be right before we turn 35.

    Cheers!

    • Deacon Hayes says:

      Thanks! That is great to hear about you planning to pay your mortgage off early. It sounds like we have a lot in common. 🙂

  5. kara says:

    It seems like great advice for people who already have resources. But what if you have no possessions or cars to sell, no spouse to help, 3 kids, 2 jobs, $15K in credit card debt at 20% interest, and the best personal loan you can get is $3K at 30% APR?

    • Deacon Hayes says:

      You make a good point. Everyone’s resources are different. However, I have interviewed over 50 people who have paid off debt. One lady paid off debt while she was getting treated for cancer. Another paid off debt on a small income. You can read more of those debt success stories on our website.

  6. Andy Hill says:

    This is an excellent article, Deacon! I know what you mean with the “PC Speed-Dial for eBay and Craigslist”. I don’t think people consider how much money and freedom you can receive from selling stuff around the house that you don’t even use!

    Keep up the good work in crushing debt!

    • Deacon Hayes says:

      Thanks, Andy! Even after paying off our debt I’m still selling stuff on Craigslist. However, I recently heard of OfferUp and have something listed on there right now!

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