My Debt Payoff Story: How Tancy Paid off $105,000
My Debt Payoff 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?
My name is Tancy. I am a SAHM (stay at home mum) of 8 years and a military spouse. I graduated from the University of North Florida with a degree in Community Health and a Masters from Florida International University in Public Health.
I am 34, I have two kiddos and I’m jumping into the personal finance waters as a financial coach and speaker.
What and when was your “sick and tired” of debt moment?
I don’t ever think I got sick and tired of debt. There was a moment when I realized I did not want to leave my child in someone else’s hands and I decided that I would not be going to work.
From there we knew we would have to change our finances drastically and therefore begin clearing out the debt.
How did you acquire the debt and do you regret doing so?
We acquired much of our debt by buying cars and financial loans. So I will say most of the debt was accrued by me. I don’t regret it because education is very important to me and I feel like there is a return on the investment, however, I do regret not finding more ways to fund college instead of just taking out student loans.
How much debt did you pay off in total? How much money in interest and time did you save in total?
Over an extended period, the total was about $105,000k Ughhhh! I wish I could tell you I was detail-oriented and kept up with the interest paid and the time saved but I was too busy looking for pennies to send to Sallie Mae. Lool!
How much income were you earning when you accomplished this?
It varied greatly. My husband has since had 3 promotions and we have moved to 2 twice in 5 years to different states. This matters because depending on the area you live in you can get paid more. But I would say from the time we started paying debt its been 48k to 88k.
Can you describe the specific choices you had to make to pay off your debt?
Our sacrifices varied from time to time, but I’ll say the biggest sacrifice made was moving in with my mother-in-law in for a year so that I could take on what I’d like to call a side hustle. I was a substitute teacher for about a year and a half, picking up assignments when available to pay to add extra to the loan.
Was there any time during your journey where your friends and or family challenged your plans to pay off your debt?
I didn’t make it a super public thing. I would tell some friends about my journey and they would just nod uncomfortably hoping I wouldn’t try to entice them.
I did have one friend who told me I would always be in debt to someone. That kind of lit a fire under my bum and today, I’m still grateful to her for that comment.
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?
My start began with Dave Ramsey. Total Money Makeover was and is my favorite personal finance book.
I read through and highlighted everything. In addition to that listening to the debt-free screams on the Dave Ramsey podcasts was totally inspiring. How individuals with one income and 5 kids could pay off so much debt in such little time, made me leave my excuses at the door.
I was hooked.
What steps are you taking to ensure that you stay debt-free now?
We will soon start saving for a cash car. I find that if there was a chance of us ever getting back into debt it would be through the purchase of a car. While my husband enjoys being debt-free, he dreams of one day have a brand new Ford F150.
He is still a work in progress; I want to make sure that we are prepared to buy a car in cash one day.
If you could go back in time and advise your 18-year-old self, what advice would you give her?
I would tell her to begin saving money. Even if only 20 bucks every two weeks. I would also tell her to invest it immediately to reap the long term benefits.
What advice would you give anyone who has debt and seeking encouragement?
If you have debt I would tell them to start with their why? Why do you want to be debt-free?
Is it to be able to travel, to set an example for your children, to help others? Then join a group of people who think like you to encourage you. The debt-free community is a great place for this.
How can our readers keep in touch with you?
I’m always super active on Instagram sharing my personal budget and money goals as well as tips on how to become debt free. My handle is @herwellspentlife. There is also website launch happening very soon herwellspentlife.com
Congratulations, Tancy! We wish you much success on your financial journey.