My Debt Free Story: How Armand Paid Off $62,000 in 27 Months
My debt free story is a OneSavvyDollar series where we interview millennials who have successfully paid off any major debt i.e. student loans, car loans, credit cards.
Please note: If you’re currently unemployed and facing so much uncertainty with your finances, it’s best to save as much as you can right now. If you’re still employed and carrying on with your financial plans and debt free journey then read on…..
The aim is to inspire, encourage, and motivate you to take hold of your personal finance because “financial fitness is not a pipe dream or a state of mind. It is a reality if you’re willing to pursue it and embrace it.” – Will Robinson
Can you tell us a bit about you?
I am a high school dropout and never finished college. I am originally from the west coast, but I relocated to the east coast after being laid off from my first career job in 2009. I left to pursue new opportunities and the love of my life.
I worked several entry-level jobs until I was rehired back at my previous employer, where I am in management. I work for a telecommunications company in the Fortune 500.
My overall passion is for personal finance and helping people change their financial futures.
What and when was your “sick and tired” of debt moment?
During my early career, I chased every get rich quick program and never made any money to show for it.
After I got married, we joined our incomes and debts, then my wife and I decided for her to stay home when we had our first child. We lived paycheck-to-paycheck, until the birth of our second child.
I remember looking over all our debts and seeing we were only paying towards interest on student loans for the past six years and none to the principal. That’s when we decided to make changes and get serious about our debt.
How did you acquire the debt and do you regret doing so?
I liked everything new, I always wanted to buy things new, so I did. Two brand new leased cars, new phones, and a new house.
And I had all the other debt to go with it, credit cards, medical bills, student loans, and a time-share. I regret not learning how to be content with “new to me” items earlier in life.
How much debt did you pay off in total? How much money in interest and time did you save in total?
We had a combined total debt of over $62,000 which we were able to pay that off in 27 months.
How much income were you earning when you accomplished this?
We were on a single income making from $60,000 to $75,000 in those years.
Can you describe the specific choices you had to make to become debt free?
We made sacrifices during our debt-free journey. I signed up for special assignments at work that had me away from home 3 to 5 weeks at a time.
I worked a second job on the weekends when I was not out of town. We got on a zero-based budget and cut down all extra spending.
We used a coupon or BOGO for almost everything at the grocery store. And we ended up giving back one of the cars then went down to only one.
Was there any time during your journey where your friends and or family challenged your plans to become debt free?
Family and friends did not truly understand what we were doing at the time until we became debt-free.
Were any resources such as blogs, books, podcasts particularly helpful to you in staying on track with your debt free journey?
I started off listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio and reading some of his books. Seeing the debts continually get paid off and remembering my why kept me motivated.
How did you feel when you made that final payment?
It was a surreal moment, all the sacrifices had paid off, I did not have to worry about not being able to make a payment anymore.
What steps are you taking to ensure that you stay debt-free now?
Staying on a budget and saying no to something when it is not in the budget. An emergency fund and planning ahead with sinking funds have helped to avoid the inconveniences that pop up.
If you could go back in time and advise your 18-year-old self, what advice would you give him?
I would tell myself, be content with what you have, you do not need everything new, pay cash for everything, and start investing now.
What advice would you give anyone who has debt and seeking encouragement?
If you follow a good fitness plan you get healthy, then you should follow a good financial plan you get wealthy. Know your vision and why then stick to the plan.
How can our readers keep in touch with you?
You can find me on Instagram (thefinancialfish)
Congratulations, Armand! Here’s wishing you much success on your financial journey.