I have another inspiring story for you today about George’s debt free journey. He paid off $65,000 in 3 years and 2 months living in NYC while also traveling the world.
Paying off debt doesn’t have to be a miserable process. No, you don’t have to live off rice and beans while trying to get debt free. Sure, paying off debt may not happen overnight but you can certainly get there, just like George has.
George, 34 years old, has worked in the financial industry and came to a point when he wanted to quit his job due to changes around the office.
It was then he realized he couldn’t quit. He was financially strapped with a looming $65,000 worth of debt holding him down.
It was then he decided enough’s enough, it was time to take control over his life and money. Let’s learn about what he did to get debt free all within 3 years and 2 months.
How much debt did you have to start with? How long did it take to pay off?
Around $65K. It took 3 years and 2 months. I became debt free in late May 2020.
What triggered you to start your debt payoff process?
In 2016, my employer laid off my direct manager and I did not agree with it. I wanted to quit, but when I did the math, I realized I was living way above my means with $7,000 in an emergency fund.
I was broke and needed to do something about it.
In December 2016, I got an offer for a Financial Reporting position in the same company, which came with a lot of overtime. I took it and as soon as I switched teams in April, 2017, I started paying off my debt.
What was your debt consisted of?
$26K car loan, the rest was owed on credit cards.
What was your income range throughout the debt free journey?
2017 – $83K
2018 – $84K
2019 – $66K
2020 – $45K as of 7/31/2020.
Are there any specific things or tools you did/use to help pay down debt?
One day while I was looking for debt paying strategies, I stumbled upon Dave Ramsey.
There was, this Evangelical Christian guy telling me that borrowing was dumb. I agreed.
I used the Everydollar app for budgeting and it was enough for me. It is easy, available for free, and it helps me track my spending. I still use it today.
I’m drinking the Ramsey Kool-Aid because it works for getting out of debt.
Did you use any debt payoff strategies? ex: snowball, avalanche, others?
Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps. $1K emergency fund first, then pay off debt using the snowball method.
How did you stay motivated throughout your debt free journey?
I kept motivated by the support I received from my girlfriend, the desire to be able to leave an employer at a moment’s notice, rewarding myself after every debt I paid off, newfound belief that consumer debt (excluding mortgage) is extremely dumb, and the Dave Ramsey’s debt free screams (that was future me), even when I realized the show is extremely repetitive.
I rewarded myself in various ways, after each debt I paid off, I would buy something for myself, including trips abroad as long as they were paid in cash.
How has your life changed from before and after paying off debt?
My life changed when I started using cash/debit, instead of credit. I was able to manage my money better.
The end result was becoming debt free and being able to be more generous.
I’m able to tip more, I have given money to friends in need without the need for them to pay it back, and I experienced a weird boost in confidence when I realized that every purchase I make, I do not owe anyone anything and I can enjoy it.
Were there any setbacks?
I did experience setbacks, where I had to use my credit cards for a car repair which was above my emergency fund.
I handled it by paying the minimum on my credit cards while I replenished my $1k emergency fund, then I focused on paying off the debt.
Everyone should expect setbacks.
And if the $1K emergency fund is not enough for them, they should increase it, but no more than $3K.
Currently, I live in NYC, where the cost of living is extremely high and I was able to manage with $1K emergency fund.
Was there anything you wish you did differently during the debt free journey?
I’m not sure. I could have been more focused, living on rice and beans, for a year and a half, however I would have been extremely miserable.
I did it in 3 years, while having fun. I left a job I despised and I was able to take a pay cut, travel and still stay on target. At the end, it worked out for me.
During my debt free journey I got to travel to India, Spain, Tenerife, Mexico and the Dominican Republic and it was so much fun.
I wanted to do more of that, which put even more determination that I want to be debt free.
How does it feel to be debt free or close to?
Amazing. Nobody can tell me nothing.
Would you like to offer any words of encouragement to other readers?
“Learn to live within your means.” & “The light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train.” – Dave Ramsey (both). Everyone has setbacks, stay on course.
We’ve all been at a point in our lives where we couldn’t stand our job but felt stuck because money just felt tight. It could be from never ending bills to living paycheck to paycheck. It doesn’t have to be that way.
George’s debt free journey shows us that we can all take control of our lives. By becoming debt free, it gives you room to finally do what you want. You can leave that job you hate because you don’t have to worry so much about paying a mountain of bills. Not having debt gives us choices in life.
We can also learn from George that starting your own debt free journey doesn’t have to be miserable. You don’t have to eat rice and beans every single day or never travel. It’s important to find the balance to be able to succeed in being debt free while enjoying life.
Thank you George for sharing your inspirational story with us, it goes to show that by using the right tools like budgeting or using the snowball method, it can help to pay off debt.
Paying off debt is a journey, it’s important to celebrate small victories along the way, treat yourself once in a while, and enjoy life.
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Are you ready to start your own debt free journey? Get started by grabbing this free Debt Thermometer and join us in the free 5-Day Debt Free Bootcamp to pay off $500 worth of debt in your first month.