It Took Us 5 Years to Payoff $42,124 of Debt

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It Took Us 5 Years to Payoff $42,124 of Debt

It Took Us 5 Years to Payoff Debt

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There are so many unbelievable debt payoff stories out there! You heard of the couple that took 1 year to pay off $100,000 of debt and of course the single parent that paid off $30,000 in 3 months! While these stories can be true and motivational it is nothing like our debt free story. There is nothing special about our debt free journey. We took more of a tortoise approach to paying off debt versus the “gazelle intense” that you hear about from Dave Ramsey and his followers. Every debt free journey is different. It doesn’t matter now you get there, just get there. We did…eventually.

It Took Us 5 Years to Payoff Our Debt

How We Got Into Debt

Many of you have already read my story about How I Got Into Debt. As I was being intense about paying off my debt, I met and married my husband. We have different views about money. He is the spender, I am the saver. At first, we kept our finances separate but a year after we got married we decided to combine our finances including our debt.

We both came into the marriage with debt. I had the most debt. We both had car payments and credit card debt. To add to our mountain of debt, we bought a house and of course a new house needs new things!  I knew in the back of my mind that our debt was climbing but I liked embracing this “spending” lifestyle. I figured I would worry about it later after we made the decision to combine a finances, which was not an easy decision but I will talk about that in another post.

Although, I was aggressively paying off my debt, there is something about being married to a free spirit that paying off debt took a backseat. I mean, we NEEDED nice expensive furniture for our new house. Plus we were newly married, we NEEDED to travel.

After the whirlwind of the new-ness wore off, we had to start adulating again. We totaled our combined debt. When we combined our finances, our debt total was $42,124. The sight of the debt total was enough to scare me and to start to take action towards paying it off.

How We Got Out of Debt

Being debt free was always a top priority about it wasn’t our #1 priority. We enjoyed traveling and being a couple. Since he was a spender and I was a saver, we had to compromise on a debt payoff strategy. Although, I would rather eat beans and rice until we are debt free, he would rather have debt and keep spending money on a lavish life. Here were our compromises during our debt payoff journey:

No big purchases – We didn’t make any big purchases and we still drove our old cars during our debt payoff journey. We still spent money on dining out and nice date nights. What can I say, we were young and wanted to have fun.

Must combine finances – Combining finances was probably the biggest factor in paying off our debt. Two incomes are better than one. This helped the debt payoff go a little faster.

10% to 20% of total income went towards debt – Since we didn’t have kids when we started our debt free journey (and we had really good jobs), it was easy for us to put 20% of our income towards debt. By the time our daughter was born (2 years into our debt free journey) we had most of our debt paid off so we dropped our debt contribution down to 10%.

We Are Debt Free!

…except for our mortgage. I must say, being debt free feels great! We have fewer bills to pay, more money in our budget, and less financial worry. We were able to pay cash for two “new-to-us” cars! Could we have paid off our debt a lot sooner? Yes, but the speed we chose worked best for us and our family.

My Final Thoughts on Debt Free Journeys

  1. It doesn’t matter how much debt you have, get started now. Adding an extra $10 on your debt whenever you can is a great start.
  2. It’s not a race, you are not being graded, and there is no need to keep up with the Jones’s.
  3. Chose a debt payoff pace that works with your family and your budget.

Where are you on your debt free journey?



  1. Jazzzie says:

    I’m always motivated by rent-free stories. I too am the saver and he’s definitely the spender. We just inherented a nice home and plan on paying our debt down with the $800 that we were spending on rent.

    Should take only a year as he has no debt. And I don’t have much.
    Thanks for sharing

  2. Tasheena says:

    I love the idea of allocating a certain percentage to just getting out of debt. My marriage is like yours: I’m the saver, he’s the spender. I’m really good at holding onto money, but we need to start focusing more toward our debt. Great advice!

  3. Randie says:

    Thank you for this! We also combined our finances and expenses and found that this works best for us. We’re slowly but surely getting out of our own debt as well!

  4. JB says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! Great advice on tackling debt!

  5. Annie Butler says:

    This is so AWESOME!! Very encouraged by the preserverance and patience. Also working on the excess baggage of credit card debit. To be debit free with an exception of mortgage / insurance / utilities is our goal for our personal life. Discipline is a MUST. THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY.

  6. Congrats on getting rid of the debt, Nicole!

  7. My favorite part of this post is this quote “Chose a debt payoff pace that works with your family and your budget.” It’s not a race. You should come up with a plan to accomplish your goals and stick to it. You don’t have to pay off $100K a year or save 75% of your income.

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