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  • Writer's picturePatricia Campbell

How We Got Out of $165K of Debt!

Where do I begin?

Do I start fresh out of college, at that time I was at least $60,000 in student loan debt. I had my Federal loans and 3 private loans. I was lucky enough that my sister paid my Capital One credit card while I was in college and had a $0 balance once I graduated.

Since then, I had accumulated a US Airway Credit Card, put money on the Capital One Card, and we ended up getting a timeshare. I didn’t know what my husband (then boyfriend) had going on at the time but I was always upfront about my debt. I was working on getting myself out of debt.

He put a ring on it in 2007 and we were on our way to the alter. We started marriage counseling and the week we were going to talk about finances he had a confession to make. He broke down and told me all of his debt. I already had my spreadsheet with my budget and how I was handling my debt (MyFondi's One Paycheck at a Time philosophy). Now I knew what he had going on. Once we got to marriage counseling , we talked about combined bank accounts which I was totally against. They told us to just try it and I was the one to manage the money (I am an accountant after all).

That was the best decision we could have made. It alleviated some of the pressure off of him and we were able to tackle our debt. By this time, we both had our student loan debt $100K combined, 2 car loans - $40k, timeshare - $5K, wholesaler warehouse loan - $5K, and combined credit card debt of $20K.

So what did we do,

1) Document all of our debt and determine our plan of action (decided to tackle small balance first regardless of interest rates)

2) Create the budget using both of our incomes

3) Start his debt on split payments

How long did it take us to get out of $165K worth of debt.....................9 years!

(Note: since that time period, we added another timeshare - $8K, another car note $30K, a small personal loan for the wedding $3K, less what we still owe in Federal Loans will get you to the grand debt total).

Now you are wondering how we did it right?

1) Took advantage of the 1st time home buyer credit (we paid off credit cards but ended up using them again)

2) When we could, we would take advantage of the 0% interest on our empty cards (would not use other cards if it was a $0 balance)

3) Any extra money we had would go towards paying off a debt.

4) By using the split payment method, we were able to pay off our personal and student loans a little bit faster than normal.

5) When we sold our house 9 years later, we use part of the profits to pay off the remainder of our debt.

At the end of 2018, we were:

1) Credit card free

2) Paid off 3 auto loans

3) Paid off 2 timeshare loans

4) Paid off 1 wholesaler loan

5) Paid off 4 private student loans

6) Paid off the personal loan

We paid everything off well before there end date and the only thing we had left was our federal student loans. Can you say it was a relief!

We were doing great until we made the move down to Florida and we racked up a little bit of debt. But we are working on paying that off as we speak. But it feels so good to be able to use our credit card for items within our budget and pay it off at the end of the month. I have to get my points and credits!

I hope this inspires you to tackle your debt. It is not an easy ride but once you get to the end, you will feel the weight of the world come off of your shoulders. This is why we say to take that huge goal and break them down into small goals. This way you can reward yourself when you reach one of your milestones.

Now when I say reward, don’t go crazy!

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