How I’ve Paid Off $10k in Debt: The Wrap Up

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Welcome to the final day of the $10k Mini-Series!

For those of you just joining me, here are the previous sections:

  • Part 1Why I’m Anti-Snowballs
  • Part 2Maximizing Your Tax Refund
  • Part 3Developing Additional Income Streams
  • Part 4Making Credit Work for You
  • Part 5Identify Why You Buy

Now onto the final step regarding how I’ve paid off over $10,000 of my debt since January…

(Re)Define Your Budget!

It’s not enough to make broad goals like “I want to lose weight” or “I will be financially independent”. It’s great to use these as a part of your affirmations but as goals? No.

You must be specific, B-E specific!

You should create and define clear goals that will build towards that momentous success of living a better life on a budget.

Instead of “I will stop using my credit card and pay it off!” Come up with a plan to pay off that card in X number of months. Figure out exactly what’s causing you to use the card now and how you’re going to stop those behaviors.

If physically cutting up the card gives you anxiety, consider freezing it – literally. Put it in a bowl of water and stick it in the freezer. It won’t eliminate your access to it but it’ll certainly give you time to think about whether or not you really need it to make that purchase.

Once you’ve set your goals, take a look at your budget and figure out your plan of action. I recommend starting by immediately cutting your budget by 5%.

Impossible, you say?

Work with me and I guarantee we can make the cuts without causing any pain.

When I started this journey in January, I was able to take our $2,500/month income and trim it up by an additional 8%. I too thought it impossible at first until I took the time to develop an action plan.

After evaluating your financial budget, take an honest look at how you’re spending your time. Just as small purchases add up – a $3 cup of coffee doesn’t seem so bad…until you realize a canister of coffee at home would only cost you $10 for at least two weeks of coffee… – so do the “time sucks.”

Sure, maybe you only spend an hour watching TV each night but what if in that hour you could be earning $20? That’s over $7,000/year (nearly $9,000 if that $7k is on an unpaid credit card with 22% APR!)

I’m not suggesting you use every minute of every day to work towards paying down your debt. You must take the time for self-care in more than one way and if that means watching a bit of TV, then go for it! The important part is making sure you’re not wasting hours now that you may not have later.

So there you have it.

In two months, I was able to pay down my debt by over $10,000 by:

  • Paying based on interest rates
  • Putting my tax return to use
  • Developing additional income streams
  • Making credit work for me instead of against me
  • Identifying and breaking the habits that lead to wanting more
  • Redefining the way I budget my life

Our debt, while still quite high, now looks like this:

  • Lowes Credit Card: $0
  • Furniture Row Credit Card: $0
  • Private student loan #1: $24,747.14
  • Private student loan #2: $9,757.43
  • Private student loan #3: $0
  • Federal student loan #1: $16,787.36
  • Private student loan #4: $56,089.08
  • Federal student loan #2: $29,306.81
  • House: $42,800
  • Car: $17,816

Total: $198,303.82

Difference of $10,588.67

I can’t say this has been an easy road, nor will it get any easier any time soon, but there is not a doubt in my mind that this is the best path towards a better, healthier, happier life.

If you’ve liked what you read through the $10K Series and you want more, I highly recommend enrolling in my Life on a Budget e-course.

I only have 12 spots still available at the time of this posting so I encourage you to act quickly!

If you end up on the waiting list or if you’re interested in more one-on-one time, I do offer individual coaching sessions, provided I think we’d make a good fit. Please check out my service page for more information.

Don’t forget to opt-in to my weekly e-mails as well so you never miss out on a giveaway or budgeting freebie!

Before we wrap up, I’d love for you to tell me:

what is your biggest struggle when it comes to budgeting your life?



More on the 10K Series:




This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. It’s wonderful that you’ve been able to do this all on your own. Well done!

    1. Well I do have a very supportive partner who helps me, which makes a world of difference, but thank you! 🙂

  2. No more credit card debt! Congrats! I am a bit jealous of your mortgage balance. I still have $130k and am aggressively paying it down!

    1. Haha don’t be jealous of the mortgage, our house is 130 years old and a HUGE fixer-upper. Fortunately it’s most cosmetic work but still…

    1. Well please let me know if you need any help coming up with a game plan!

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