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February 2020 $72,060 Debt Payoff Journey

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It’s been 17 months so far into this $116,000 debt journey. We are more than half way done as of February 2020 as we paid $72,060 so far! There are a lot of factors that got my husband and I to this point. One day, we decided that enough was enough and set our goals to be debt free one day. This whole process is actually not as hard as I thought it was going to be. I had this preconceived notion that we were going to be sacrificing a great deal, it actually doesn’t feel like we have. There are plenty of factors that we’ve implemented to help us get to this point and will continue to use to reach our goal. I hope these tips can also help anyone else that wants to get out of debt too.

September of 2018 we had all this debt:

8 Credit Cards
1 Car Loan
2 Medical Loans
2 Student Loans
1 Personal Loan and 1 Personal Loan from family
Total $116,000

February 2020 we have:

1 Student Loan
1 Personal Loan from family
Total $43,940

We have a combined total income of about $120,000-$130,000 a year. Basically, we had almost a year’s salary worth of debt. How crazy is that? One day we decided to follow a plan to help get us out of debt because what we were doing definitely wasn’t working. Find out how we paid off $50,000 in the first 10 months of this journey.

Related: How To Get Out Of Debt With These 5 Tips

Tips To Get Out Of Debt

If you implement a few strategies, you can also be on your way to be debt free. It’s all about finding the right tools and tips to help save you money and manage it properly.

1 | Write down your list of debt

Create a list of your debt from the smallest balance on top of the list to the largest balance on the bottom of the list. It will give you an idea of what you’re working with. Don’t be discouraged when you see all the debt you have. You can get through this! If we muddled more than half way through $116,000 then you sure can too!

2 | Create a monthly budget

It which will help you take control of your finances and draw out your map to financial success. I use the Zero Based Budget which has been extremely successful in helping us manage our money. If you want to use an app that tracks your spending automatically then use Personal Capital which is also a free app.

Zero Based Budget MyFinancialHill

Related: How To Budget Your Money For Beginners

3 | Save for an Emergency Fund

Unless you’re a psychic, you will never know what tomorrow will bring. You don’t want to be stuck in a position where you spent all your extra money paying off debt while not having anything saved up during an emergency like a job loss, medical emergency, and more. It’s so important to save a good 2-6 month portion for emergencies before throwing every extra money you have at debt. You can still pay debt while saving for your emergency fund but make sure you don’t forget this category in your budget.

4 | Use the Snowball Method to pay off debt

Snowball Method to Pay Debt - How To Get Out Of Debt With These 5 Tips - MyFinancialHill

5 | Make extra money if you can

  • Put money into a high yield savings account to earn money passively
  • Work extra shifts or over time
  • Drive for UBER  or Lyft
  • Be a babysitter or caretaker on Care / Petsit on Rover
  • Sell your clothes/furniture/toys/electronics on Ebay, Mercari, Letgo, or Nextdoor
  • Take online surveys for money Get your $10 sign up bonus today with Swagbucks
  • Be a freelancer on Fiverr and sell your skills including being a graphic designer, virtual assistant, photo editing, writing/editing/proofreading content, marketing, programming, SEO optimization, programming, transcription, other social media services
  • Make money losing weight on HealthyWage and other apps like Dietbet and Stickk. People make hundreds to thousands of dollars by challenging themselves to lose weight which creates a financial incentive.
  • Rent out a room by charging a fee on Airbnb. That can easily bring in extra hundreds of dollars each month.

Check out other ways to make extra money every month


6 | Second guess your purchases

Before you buy anything from a $5 to $1,000 item, ask yourself if you really need it. We stopped spending money frivolously just by purchasing things we actually really need rather than want.

7 | Stop comparing your lives to others

Truth of the matter is you don’t have to spend tons of money on cars, travel, clothes, etc. to keep up with the Jones’. It’s your life and not theirs. Other people probably are up to their necks in debt trying to live lavishly so there is no point in trying to keep up with others. It’s best to focus on your financial goal and be content with what you have.

8 | Personal loans can help tremendously

As a matter of fact, we took one out years ago to move out of an expensive city. We used a portion of that loan to put away in our emergency fund, applied for a down payment on our home, and applied it for our debt. In a matter of 10 months, we also paid off that personal loan off too. Check to see if you qualify for one at Credible to help you consolidate debt.

9 | Find Savings

Food costs was huge expense for us. We spent almost $800-$1,000 a month on food. That included groceries and take out food. You’d be surprised when you track all your transactions and find out how much you’re actually spending. To cut costs on groceries I used Ibotta to get cash back when grocery shopping.


Sign up for free and use the code YDIGCFJ get your $20 welcome bonus.

Cooking more at home will help prevent the need to buy take out food. Making large batches of food is easy with the Instant Pot like soups, stews, tender meat, and so much more. Using the Instant Pot will help you save time and money plus you can freeze any left overs.

I used Rakuten  to get cash back when booking travel, hotels, car rentals, online shopping and more.

Sign up today with Rakuten to get $10 in a welcome bonus and be on your way to start earning cash back for online purchases. Don’t miss out on FREE MONEY!

If I was looking for spa treatment, oil change, restaurants, or activities, I went on Groupon to get the cheapest deals.

Sign up for free here at Groupon to start getting your MEGA savings.

Cut your cellphone bill in half by switching to Cricket Wireless, they even have free smartphones available. We pay $80 flat with all taxes included for 2 phones and unlimited data.

Get cheaper quotes by switching your insurance companies for the car, home, apartment, etc.

Do some DIY repair work for your home/condo/apartment by doing some research online and getting parts at Home Depot, or Lowes.

Read More: 95 Best Money Saving Tips to Start Now

10 | Travel For Free

We didn’t want to sacrifice our travel while on this journey to pay off debt. We made it work by using travel card points to cover our travel expenses. By implementing the budgeting and snowball method, we quickly paid off all our consumer debt which in turn raised our credit scores. We qualified for travel cards that offer an equivalent of $500-$700 or more worth of points. We used those points to pay for our Carnival Cruise, Flight for Las Vegas, and so much more. Also, when we search for flights we use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights possible.

End of Month

At the end of this month, I found $867 in overage from budgeting. What gave us that overage was an increase of income from me working extra temporary jobs on my days off and from my husband getting a bonus. We then took that extra amount and combined it with our monthly debt snowball amount of $1669 to throw it at my student loan. We paid a total of $2,536 towards the student debt. We now have a total debt remaining balance of $43,940. We paid off $72,760 so far in 17 months. Slowly but surely, we’re chipping away!

Paying off debt doesn’t have to be the hardest thing in the world. Actually, I don’t think my life has changed all that dramatically. Once we got the ball rolling on paying off our debt our credit scores rose to the 800’s and now we qualify for awesome travel cards which we use to take trips and vacations. We don’t spend money unnecessarily and always try to find savings where we can and make extra money when we can. Some of these tips will help you keep some money in your pockets and pay off debt easily too.

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.

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