This is the fifth post in the blog series called “How I Got Out of Debt” where I interview real people who have paid off their debt and lived to tell about it 🙂 All of this to show you that it is possible to pay off your debts sooner than you think. You can find the other interviews here, here, here. and here.
I hope you find this story as inspirational as I did!
Name: Deacon Hayes
City: Phoenix, AZ
Debt Paid Off: $52,000
The Time it Took: 18 months
Bio: Deacon is a Financial Expert and the founder of Well Kept Wallet, a financial education company that provides personal finance curriculum around the world.
How much debt did you pay off and what kinds of debt did that consist of?
We had $52,000 in consumer debt and it consisted of credit cards, student loans and a car loan.
How long did it take to pay all of your debt off?
It took us 18 months to pay it all off.
What made you decide to start focusing on getting out of debt?
Getting married was the catalyst to wanting to get out of debt. My wife and I came from different backgrounds when it came to handling money and we knew that we had to get on the same page.
Did you put together a specific plan to pay everything off?
We set a goal of 18 months and we decided to use the debt snowball method to tackle our debt.
What kind of mistakes did you make along the way?
Cant recall any mistakes when it came to paying off debt, it was the getting into debt that was a mistake :).
Did you do anything outlandish or crazy to save money?
We just went through each line of our budget and tried to make that number smaller. Many times we just eliminated items we didnt use much like cable, gym membership, etc.
While you were paying off debt, were you also setting aside money for retirement or in a savings account?
I was not contributing to retirement however, my wife has a pension and we had no control over those contributions. If we did, we would have stopped those as well while we were paying off our debt.
Did you reward yourself at mini-milestones along the way (every $10k or so)?
When we finished paying off our debt, we celebrated by going to Disneyland.
What do you think was the key to succeeding at paying it all off?
Having a strong “why.” You need to know WHY you are getting out of debt to stay motivated. For us, it was that we want to have more freedom in life, travel and become financially independent. Those are all very motivating reasons to stick with it while paying off debt,
How does it feel to no longer be in debt?
It is a liberating feeling. We have been able to travel abroad and do things we never could have while we were in debt.
What did you start spending money on again once you paid everything off?
We started spending money on eating out and travel. For our first international trip after we paid off our debt, we went to Hong Kong and Singapore. Then last year we went to Paris and London. The trips are pricey but now that we dont have debt, we can swing it.
Will you ever put yourself into debt again?
What is the one or two pieces of advice you would give to those who are still feeling like they are stuck in debt with no way out?
It is possible. We have interviewed close to 50 people that have paid off debt and many of them had more debt than we did. Create a plan and stick to it. Lastly, if you are looking to pay it off quickly, I highly recommend using the debt snowball method when eliminating your debts.
Thanks again to Deacon for sharing his story with the us! It’s really inspiring to hear how quickly Deacon and his wife were able to get out of debt! Great job!
Check out Deacon at WellKeptWallet.com or on Twitter @DeaconHayes
If you would like to share your story about paying off your student loans, please contact me and we can get your story out there to help others! How awesome would that be?!