My Debt Free Story: How Krystal Paid Off $52,000 in 6 Months
My debt free story is a OneSavvyDollar series where we interview people who have successfully paid off any major debt i.e. student loans, car loans, credit cards etc.
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?
My name is Krystal. I grew up with parents that struggled with money but worked very hard. I worked my way through college using a combination of work-study, grants, scholarships, and loans.
I became a teacher and eventually became a teacher-coach. When I met my husband, we both had debt (especially student loans) but we each were practical and focused on paying down debt.
We bought our first home and got married in the backyard 3 years ago. Since then, we have learned a lot about working on all kinds of goals as partners.
What and when was your “sick and tired” of debt moment?
The government shut down at the start of 2019 was a wake-up call for us.
My husband is a government employee and suddenly realizing we were down to one salary and didn’t know how long it would last made us realize how important it was to become debt-free. Without debt, if one of us lost our jobs, all our expenses would be paid. That’s when we got serious.
How did you acquire the debt and do you regret doing so?
Before I met my husband, I had racked up all kinds of consumer debt including credit cards but by the time we met, I had paid all that off and learned that if I couldn’t manage my spending, I shouldn’t be trusted with credit cards.
When we paid off our debt together, it was mostly student loans, personal loans, and car loans.
How much debt did you pay off in total? How much money in interest and time did you save in total?
We were always paying debt slowly but when we had our awakening moment, we paid $52,000 in 6 months.
That might sound impossible but we went from paying down the highest interest rate loans first to making the decision to sell our first home. This decision allowed us to take out our debt in one hit.
How much income were you earning when you accomplished this?
We were earning $108,000 a year in our combined salary.
Can you describe the specific choices you had to make to become debt-free?
We had to cut our expenses initially to find income to pay the debt and then we made the decision to sell our home to take out debt out.
Was there any time during your journey where your friends and or family challenged your plans to become debt free?
No. We worked together and never shared this with anyone until we completed the goal.
Were any resources such as blogs, books, podcasts particularly helpful to you in staying on track? Or where did you find your inspiration to stay on track through your journey?
Following the #debtfreecommunity on Instagram really helped support us along the way.
I have read many books but the two that influenced me at that time were Think and Grow Rich and The Millionaire Next Door. I also worked with a financial coach and that helped me get organized, focused, and clear about what to do with our money once we were debt-free.
What steps are you taking to ensure that you stay debt free now?
We budget and track our spending using EveryDollar app which is really the key for us so we can pay attention to what comes in and what goes out.
If you could go back in time and advise your 18-year-old self, what advice would you give her?
Don’t take out more student loans than you need. Wait to get credit cards until you understand how they work.
What advice would you give anyone who has debt and seeking encouragement?
We have gone from a negative net worth to a net worth of over $130,000.
The only way to start to build positive net worth is to get out of the negative hole of interest. The sooner you get out of that pit, the sooner you can build a more secure, stable future.
How can our readers keep in touch with you?
I am on Instagram sharing our journey and what we learn along the way at krystal_financial_friend. I am also on Facebook at Down to Earth Wealth (page).
I have a special group just for women wealth builders to connect, support, and grow on Facebook at Real Women Build Wealth.
Congratulations, Krystal! Here’s wishing you much success on your financial journey!