My Debt Pay Off Story: How Ja’Net Paid Off $50,000 Debt in Two Years
My Debt Pay off 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.
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 Ja’Net Adams and I am an International Speaker as well as the author of two books. Over the last eight years, I have spoken to over 80,000 people around the world about my story of paying off $50,000 of debt in two years.
Before starting my business I worked in corporate America for ten years. I am the mother of two awesome children and a wife. I absolutely love financial literacy as I eat, sleep, and breathe it!
What and when was your “sick and tired” of debt moment?
When I was laid off from a company I worked for over eight years. After the phone call telling me they no longer needed my services I found out I was $50,000 in debt.
At that point, I came to realize that no company cares about you and what you have going on in your life. They will lay you off one day and then have your job posted by the next day.
This sick and tired moment helped me to jumpstart my financial journey to becoming debt-free and although I did not know it at the time it laid the groundwork of me becoming an entrepreneur.
How did you acquire the debt and do you regret doing so?
It was only two debts. When I got married I did not know he had $25,000 in student loans from one year of college.
I graduated debt-free and thought he did the same because he went to college on a basketball scholarship.
It was not until we got married that both of us found out that he had $25K in student loan debt because the bill had been going to his mother’s home.
The second debt was a $25,000 car I convinced him to get. I regret not fixing the car he already had and paying that balance off instead of buying a whole new car!
We could have easily kept his current car for a few more years and saved up to buy a used car for cash.
How much debt did you pay off in total? How much money in interest and time did you save in total?
I paid off $50,000 of debt in two years. I know I saved at least eight years on the student loan, but I never was focused on the interest or the time because I knew it was all about paying extra on it.
The student loan company would send emails telling me that I didn’t have to make another payment for five years because I was so far ahead. After every one of those emails, I would make another payment and add any extra money to the principal.
How much income were you earning when you accomplished this?
At the time $65,000 a year between both of us. Also, we would use tax refunds as well to put towards the debt.
Can you describe the specific choices you had to make to pay off your debt?
We did not eat out, go on vacation, and one got a gift for two years. Those were the biggest choices we made that most people are surprised by, but there were others.
That first summer, we had a yard sale each Saturday and we made between $300-400 each time. One Saturday, we made $800 because we sold our lawnmower after learning that my husband was severely allergic to grass.
We looked at our spending plan and cut back or cut out on a lot of things that we did not need. We cut back on eating out, cable, as well as our cell phones and that alone brought in more than $300 a month that we used to pay extra on the debt.
Many people would look at all of this and think that we did not live, but it was quite the opposite. We were more intentional.
We found free cooking classes at the local YMCA that would have us cook dinner together, eat, and then send us home with all the ingredients so that we could practice at home. These classes were our monthly date night. It is always about being intentional with your money.
Was there any time during your journey where your friends and or family challenged your plans to pay off your debt?
Yes, people made fun of me that I wasn’t going out to eat anymore or on trips, but once I became debt-free they started asking for tips.
Those that used to ask for money did not get money during this time and they were not happy, but I knew that I needed to make sure my household was good before anyone else’s.
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?
So I have a thing called “Dream Sheet”. My dream sheet consists of the things I wanted most out of life, but in order to reach the majority of them, I would need to be debt-free.
I would watch the Suze Orman Show, read David Bach, Kiyosaki, pretty much anything around money because I wanted to learn all that I could and to see all points of view.
What steps are you taking to ensure that you stay debt-free now?
I don’t borrow money and don’t lend money to people. I’ve ran my business of the last nine years debt-free and I am trying to pay my house off now.
Occasionally, I will give them a gift of money, but never will I loan money to someone anymore. I am also teaching my children the advantages of not having debt so that they carry this knowledge and discipline for the rest of their lives.
They are starting to understand that life is about experiences and not stuff. Generational wealth and not debt is what I want my legacy to be.
If you could go back in time and advise your 18-year-old self, what advice would you give her?
Although you are on a tennis scholarship see if you can get other scholarships and use that money to invest. Invest that money for retirement and also using some of it to save for a rental property.
Also don’t care about what other people think. You don’t need to spend your money on clothes to impress anyone.
What advice would you give anyone who has debt and seeking encouragement?
The only way it is going to work is that you have something to look forward to. What are your dreams?
What do you want most out of life? Write it down and put it up in front of you where you can see it every day.
No one is going to care more about your money than you and so it is up to you to make your financial freedom happen for yourself.
How can our readers keep in touch with you?
Congratulations, Ja’Net! Here’s wishing you much success on your financial journey.
Have you paid off your student loan debt or any major debt? Would you like to be featured? The quickest way to contact us is via Instagram DM. We will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible.