How This Couple Paid Off $55,000 Worth of Debt in Less Than 2 Years
Today we have a fun Q&A by my friend, Amy. A couple of weeks ago, Amy posted that she and her husband had paid off $55,000 worth of loans and were officially debt free! (I can’t help but smile when writing that sentence). I was so impressed, excited, and intrigued by how she did it that I asked if she would like to share her get-out-of-debt story here on the blog and she graciously accepted! If you’re looking for some inspiration to pay off your debt, check out the interview below!
How much debt did you start out with? What was it made up of (ie- student loans, car loan, etc)?
When Mike and I decided to officially take our debt head on, we had about $55,000 in debt. We had more debt before then, as we graduated in 2011 and 2012, and had been paying loans off for some time. I’m not entirely sure how much we had before September 2015, but it certainly was a lot!
Did you ever have a turning point where you wanted to get rid of your debt so badly that you started making drastic changes to your life style? If yes, can you describe?
Mike and I never felt so completely overwhelmed by debt that we made drastic changes to our lifestyle. The only thing I would say is that I started couponing more! Not like those crazy couponers you see on TV. Just actually taking the time to clip out coupons and apply digital coupons to our loyalty card at the local grocery store.
What was the most helpful resource you used to pay off your debt?
The most helpful resource for Mike and I was Dave Ramsey’s book, Total Money Makeover. We’ve recommended it to so many people!
Did you get an additional job or jobs to pay off your debt more quickly?
In March 2016, Mike and I moved to Raleigh for his job. In April, I quickly got work as a front desk associate for a local barre studio, but was unable to find full-time work until the end of October 2016. Additionally, I was working part-time remote for our old church (my former place of employment) and for my father-in-law. Work wasn’t full time, but it was something and it helped us to keep on schedule with our goals. Once I got the full-time job, I stayed working for the barre studio so that we could add a couple extra bucks towards debt each month.
What was the biggest sacrifice you made in order to get out of debt quickly?
For me the biggest sacrifice was cutting back on FOOD! I love to eat out and that was one of the first things we cut out right away. We also cut back on our grocery bill so I had to be more creative with our dinners. This was especially hard since our friends here LOVE to go out to eat. They do it almost every Sunday after church, and we became “those people” that would eat lunch at home and then come hang out at the restaurant without ordering anything. Again, I LOVE eating out so this was (and still is) truly hard for me.
Looking back, would you have changed anything so you didn’t incur so much debt?
Oftentimes I think that I should have gone to an in-state university instead of a private out-of-state school, but I certainly valued my time there so I don’t regret the debt incurred, but I would have considered more in-state low-cost universities and colleges. Perhaps, do two years at a community college and transfer after that. I did buy my car used (which I was proud of myself for that), but maybe do more research first!
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with debt?
CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE! That’s definitely the first thing you need to do. Dave Ramsey mentions this in his book, Total Money Makeover, but as a society we’ve decided that debt is a totally normal thing! Being in debt is NOT COOL and not something to brag about. Before you can get out of debt, you need to readjust how you are looking at it. When you think of it as something normal, you don’t have any sort of urgency in you to deal with it. Once you view it as something to get rid of, it’s a lot easier to make sacrifices to get rid of it.
What are your future goals now that you’re debt free?
One of our future goals is to buy a house! We are currently in the process of saving up enough for a hefty down payment. Additionally, we want to start saving a lot more for retirement and then eventually saving up college funds for our future kids.
Mike and I were lucky enough to be DINKs (Dual Income No Kids). Our budget was based entirely on Mike’s paychecks. All my paychecks would go towards loans. He’d get two paychecks a month and one would pretty much cover rent and utilities, and our monthly giving. The other is what we used to pay our minimum payment toward loans and pay for food, gas, etc. Anything leftover would be put toward debt!
Additionally, we were able to pay off this debt without cutting out our monthly giving. We give monthly to The Summit Church (our church), Young Life, InterVarsity, Serge, Compassion, and Mercy Ships. We didn’t want to stop funding any of our friends on the mission field or our church, so we made sure to plan our budget around still being able to give.
In the end, it was pretty addicting to see the number on our loans go down! As soon as I would get a paycheck, we’d throw it at our loans. We never wanted it to sit too long in our bank account and give us the false impression that we had lots of money to spend.
We’re so thankful to be able to post Mike and Amy’s story on our blog. If anyone else has an amazing debt-free story please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to make a post about it!