Getting Out of Debt

It’s easy to get into debt and hard to get out of it. Debt ties us down. It can take away our freedom to make changes in our lives. Getting out of debt, and staying out of debt, is essential to simplifying life and escaping the rat race.

I’ve seen a lot of advice for how to get out of debt. All the advice was well-intentioned but some of it isn’t the best, in my opinion. For what it’s worth, and for the benefit of anyone going through the struggle we once faced, I thought I’d share how we did it.

When we got married we bought a house. I had student loans, a car payment, some credit card debt, and essentially no savings. Cherie had a car payment and a little savings. We used her savings as the down payment on our house and borrowed the rest (95% of the purchase price). So we started our life together in a deep debt hole, fairly typical of young families today.

About a year later she was pregnant and I knew I had to get serious about getting out of debt if I ever wanted the freedom to leave my job and do something more satisfying. We were living frugally, but we had very little money left over at the end of each month after we paid our bills. I was about 30 years old. I resolved to be debt free and financially independent in 20 years.

I know that Dave Ramsey (and probably others) recommends paying off the smallest debts first. I don’t think that’s necessarily the best way to proceed. It makes more sense to me to rank the debts according to the interest rate being charged, and to pay off the highest interest debts first. That’s what we did.

Then we made a commitment not only to live frugally but to take any money that was left over after paying our bills and apply it entirely to paying off debt. That meant no savings, and no spending except on absolutely necessary stuff. I’ve seen lots of advice that people should build up a savings balance of at least two months living expenses as soon as they can. But I don’t think that’s the best plan for someone under the burden of high-interest debt. I would recommend applying all your efforts to eliminating that debt before starting to save. Simply put, the interest you’ll be paying on the debt will likely be greater than the interest you’re earning on the savings. For a person whose employer offers a matching 401k program, I’d make an exception to take advantage of that. We devised a savings strategy too, but that’s an entirely different blog post.

Once all debt except the mortgage was paid off (it took 9 years in our case), then we started dividing up any money left over after paying bills each month into thirds. One third would go to savings, one third to spending on things we needed/wanted, and one third toward paying down our mortgage.

Working off the mortgage that way requires discipline and a long-view. Including an extra hundred dollars (for example) in a mortgage payment, when the debt was six figures, seemed a tiny drop in the bucket and it was tempting to spend that money instead. And I can recall a friend who knew about our practice ridiculing it. Why not put that money in the stock market and earn 10% plus on it, rather than paying down a 5% mortgage, he asked. The answer of course was that we wanted to OWN our house. Meanwhile he seemed to be making lots of money buying tech stocks. But when the dotcom bubble popped, I’m sure he wished he’d been paying off his mortgage instead.

It took a long time and there were plenty of days when I wondered if we’d ever achieve our goal. I wondered whether it was worth it to live that way rather than just borrow and spend like most people. But we stayed the course.

Eventually we paid off the mortgage. At that point we started dividing our “extra” money into halves. One half went into savings and one half we were free to spend. But at that point in life we usually didn’t have any need or desire to spend half of the “leftovers,” so we added it to savings and at that point we were able to move rapidly to financial independence.

So that’s how we did it.

I know it won’t work for everyone. Everyone has a unique situation. We had some ups and downs along the way, as everyone will, and we adjusted our goals as necessary. The key to us was making a plan and sticking with it.

Best wishes to all who are on the journey. I know how frustrating it can be to miserable and working for something that seems so distant. I can only offer my experience in response. Hang in there. Someday you’ll be at the finish line.

 

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46 comments on “Getting Out of Debt

  1. Scott says:

    You know my stance on the subject, Bill… I wrote a long comment but I didn’t post it for fear of bragging. That’s not my intent though. I just want to reiterate your points that it’s important and life changing to be out of debt, and that it is possible.
    The other thing is, it’s a team effort when you’re married or have a long term partner.  Both have to WANT it and WORK for it. I think you mentioned “we made a commitment” but I think it’s a bigger deal than one sentence. Having a common goal is so important. It can’t be, “my wife wants us on a budget, so… Happy wife happy life…”
    Like you say, Bill, it’s hard work but man is it worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wrote a long comment and hope no one sees it as bragging. I was hoping by sharing real life examples and showing it was doable would help those who might feel stuck. I hope you change your mind and share your example.
      And you are soooo right about both partners being on the same page with this! One person in a partnership cannot be solely responsible for this or they will end up being resentful – and resented by the other.

      Liked by 5 people

    • Bill says:

      Amen Scott. I should have emphasized that. Cherie and I have often talked about the fact that we never could have achieved our goal without us both being on the same page. If one of us was a spendthrift, or addicted to luxuries, or anxious to impress others, etc. we couldn’t have done it. That very possibly would have ruined our marriage too.

      I’m sorry you didn’t post the original comment. I worry that some might interpret posts like this as bragging or as judgmental but I’ve been thinking lately that sharing these kinds of stories is important. I can remember those dark miserable times when I wanted to escape so badly. It was easy to find blogs that made me want to homestead immediately (and therefore made me feel worse), but very very difficult to find any that encouraged me to be patient, work hard, stay the course. It was also very difficult to find any that dealt with the practical realities, like getting out of debt or making ends meet as a homesteader. So for what it’s worth I plan to share more details of our journey sometimes. Some people may be put off by it, but I hope it will help others. You have an inspirational story. In my humble opinion, you shouldn’t hesitate to share it. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      • Scott says:

        OK, Bill, a week out from your post and I finally found time to respond… sorry… Our debt-free journey, condensed. Still very long, my apologies… (My wife and I are both 30, to put things in perspective)
        I was very fortunate that my mom had the foresight to work for a university where one of the benefits to the job was tuition remission for dependents. So I basically got tuition paid if I kept my grades up. But I paid for everything else by working during school. My wife also got school paid for by a local hospital who gave a scholarship in exchange for a certain number of years worked after school (so a guaranteed job!). She also worked during school.
        We dated from high school through college and were quite ready to marry after college. We were debt free until we bought a house, but that was our only debt. We slowly racked up about $5000 in credit card debt, and I got a $4800 car loan. We knew enough to keep about 4-5 months of expenditures in a separate savings account though. After a couple missed payments (just forgot to pay), we both got mad enough at the debt that we paid off all the cards and the car over the next year and a half or so. We were starting to get on the same page financially at that point, so it took longer than it should have. I think that was about the time of our first child, too. We decided to move to a big historic house on 8 acres (it was a great bargain) and about broke even selling the first house.
        After our second child could not go to daycare or grandma’s so my wife could work, she quit her job and stayed home full time. I got to looking at our current savings rate and my retirement date and decided I didn’t want to keep going to work every day when my kids were growing up seemingly without me. So after weighing many options (some crazier than others) I decided that I could build our home with my two hands, with cash. We knew we stood to make some cash upon the sale of our historic home, so we sold the house, moved to 28 acres and a cheap, very used RV trailer, and I got to work on our house.
        It is far from done, but I have done all the work heretofore by myself, alone. (except for a few days of having an extra hand, and the excavation, concrete work, and septic system were hired out) I still work full-time with an hour commute one way. I work on the house on nights and weekends and my vacation time. We did get a loan to buy the land but the house is being paid in cash. I’m able to build it myself, with cash, to my own design (oh, yeah, I designed the house too) because the loan for the land did not hinge on any collateral or the house being built in the future. The land loan stands alone, so there is no bank dictating my progress on the house.
        It’s required a definite choice to have lower expectations for quality of life, although we do just fine, thank you. But we choose to be happy, and it’s easy since our goals are materializing before our eyes.
        The end goal is to have a little ol’ dirt farm, with dairy, meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and wild foragings. We should be able to feed ourselves, and maybe sell some, we’ll see. By changing our expectations and habits, we have and will continue to reduce our need for income. In a few years, we should have the land loan paid off and we will have lots of options as far as where and how to work to generate income. Our goal is for me to quit working full-time at least, and spend most of my time with the family.
        In summary, for us, the key thoughts or processes were: First of all, throw out the word “deserve”. Completely. You don’t deserve a season tickets, a new car or tv. That word will get you in more trouble. You do deserve to eat, but not at a steakhouse once a week, to drink but not fancy bottled water, and to be entertained (sic), but not at the movies. Better yet, pay attention and decide not to NEED to be entertained. There is so much awe to be had from the natural world that people don’t pay attention to. Find a shade tree.
        Second thing is to be completely on the same path as your spouse or partner. Have a big goal and work toward it. Combine your finances and talk about all spending. This should be first priority.
        Third thing (coming from a mechanic) is to buy used things, everything except underwear, and fix things when they break instead of “upgrading” them. Craigslist is your friend.
        Oh and keep an emergency fund. You’re not going to get out of debt by running to the credit card when a tire blows on the freeway.
        Good luck to anyone on the debt free path. You don’t have to get as crazy as we have, but you do have to be mindful of your spending and think with the end goal in mind. It is possible!

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      • Scott says:

        I hate to be off-putting (sry if I was) in the tail end of my long comment, but my opinion on debt is you have to get passionate, fired up, cut deep, make big changes in order to make the big change that is getting out of debt.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bill says:

        A great an inspiring story Scott. Thanks for sharing it. Maybe someday, when you have a little more time on your hands, you should write a book about your journey. Our society would be so much better if your way was the norm, as it once was. As I’ve told you many times, I greatly admire people who build their own homes and pay as they go. I have friends who did that. AV and others who follow this blog have done it or are doing it. It’s how nearly everyone got a home of their own back in the day, and extremely rare now. In my case it made more sense for me to pedal hard at work a few more years and pay someone else to build our house. I just don’t have the skills to do it myself. I have a cousin who recently finished building his house, entirely by himself as you are doing, and I honestly envy him for having a home with that history. I concur with all of your excellent advice. All best wishes as you near the finish line!

        Like

      • Scott says:

        Thanks, you’re too kind. I wish I was approaching the finish line… 😉

        Like

  2. Great advice Bill. Debt can be crippling and make you feel like you will never get out from under it. Both M and I were married before and each stuck in debt. Our respective divorces forced us to pay everything off. When the two of us eventually met, we were both pretty debt-adverse. We have stayed debt free to this date with the exception of our mortgage. We do not carry any credit card balances, own our vehicles and although it’s taking us awhile to get our farm built, it is completely debt free too. When we sell our house (assuming this market holds until it is sold) we should make enough off of it to build our new home at the farm, leaving the savings we have set aside for it to be our “safety net” at the farm. When M quits his job and we are full-time farmers, we will not have to worry about a mortgage or tractor payments, etc…. and that is what helps me sleep at night.
    We also max out M’s 401(k) contributions to take full advantage of his employer’s match. We have one credit card and use it to purchase everything we can (groceries, gas, building materials, etc) but pay the balance off each month so we also take full advantage of the points earned on our purchases – they turn into dollars that are automatically deposited into a money market account each month, and because we pay no annual fee or interest- it is literally free money.
    So we agree whole-heartedly with your advice – do whatever it takes to stay out of debt because it will set you free to pursue whatever it is you want out of life. Being stuck in debt makes it harder to think outside of the box because you end up feeling stuck – in your debt, your “soul-sucking” job, your life. Living debt free is possible and not really that hard once you set your mind to it. You just need some discipline and the ability to see that light at the end of the tunnel.

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    • Bill says:

      Well said. Thanks. Our path was different from yours, but the journey was the same. We haven’t paid a dime in interest in 13 years, and it’s been much longer than that since we paid any interest that wasn’t tax deductible. We just resolved to live debt-free and that we would not borrow money. Of course we would have done so if we had an emergency to respond to or something like that. But we made the decision not to buy anything we couldn’t pay for, and having the discipline (and good fortune) to stick with that decision brought us to our finish line.

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  3. I don;t know why finance seems like such a taboo subject to so many people. Wish more would share their journey, Thank you for the essay. My wife and I had a similar journey out of the rat race and to a farm. What made that possible was living on one salary and paying down/paying off the mortgage with the second salary. Neither of us had any consumer or auto loans. I still remember sending in the mortgage payoff check. Its almost like an anniversary. I don’t think retirement is ever possible with a mortgage. Thank you again Steven Martin Church View Farm Romney WV

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Thanks for this comment Steven. You’re right. Back when I used to spend a lot of my spare time researching homesteading and simple living I could find hundreds of posts and articles about canning peaches, crop rotations, pictures of baby goats, poems about simple living, etc. but next to nothing about the financial realities. I remember searching in vain, for a long time, trying to find anything on the basic subject of how much money it took to live the lifestyle.

      It’s understandable that we’re reluctant to share financial details, but like you I wish more people had done it.

      I remember that last mortgage payment too. Such a liberating feeling.

      Like

  4. avwalters says:

    I see that both of our outlooks were framed, in part, by the high interest rates of the early 80s. I graduated in ’82, with some staggering levels of student loan debt–and soon, thereafter, a high interest (but only 10 year) mortgage. Employment options were grim; I’ve heard that those of us coming into the early 80s job market (like now) never recovered the losses occasioned by lost opportunities. My credit wasn’t great, too young and not enough history–so debt became my enemy and I (we) endeavored to pay everything off as quickly as we could. The early years were spare, but we made our own entertainments.

    I stayed out of debt then, until the marriage failed. A long separation–with no settlement, combined with a bad economy to throw me back into debt. Now clear of it, we are determined to live within our means. Few would be comfortable with our decisions; we live very frugally, but no bank gets a say in our life plans. That’s a kind of freedom and security that few have today.

    I don’t know what I’d say to young people today. Education, once the pre-requisite to getting ahead, has become prohibitively expensive. How does one get a start in a rigged economy?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bill says:

      I graduated in ’85. Even though I had no money, I made it through undergrad with very little debt (thanks to grants and work-study jobs). But in law school I borrowed $8k/year. So I came out with over 24k in debt and it seemed staggering to me. The economy had improved so I got a job, but I started at 30k/year and had zero money. I had to borrow my first month’s rent from my parents and I rented the (minimal) furniture I started with. That didn’t feel like a great start in life, but compared to the debt and poor job market young people have today, I guess I had it pretty good.

      You’re right about the interest rates. When I formulated a savings plan (in the late 80s), I assumed conservatively that I would get an 8% return on my savings. Imagine getting 8% without taking great risk nowadays!

      Like

      • avwalters says:

        You’re a little behind me, but otherwise, everything lines up about the same. I also survived undergrad with plenty of side jobs, and little debt. It was law school that racked up the debt. Afterwards, there were no jobs. I free-lanced for a couple of years, finally landing a full-time associate position for a whopping 24K–I’d made that before law school, doing custodial work.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Annie says:

    I’ve preached this to my children since they were young. Just hope they listened well but, just in case, I’ll forward your posting along to all four of them…

    Like

  6. NebraskaDave says:

    Bill, all great advice. My path was much different than yours and it still continues. My first loan was for a new car in 1967. I haven’t been out of debt since. During the middle 80s there was a guy named Larry Burkett who was a precursor to the modern day Dave Ramsey. As I dragged my wife along through the course to debt freedom, it took 7 long years of disharmony in the financial part of marriage. When the debt was down to less than $1,000, the 25 year old central air quit on the hottest day of the summer. Since my wife had medical issues, it was necessary to replace it immediately, then the car went and couldn’t be repaired. After that the TV, microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator, and hot water heater all couldn’t be repaired but had to be replaced. When the smoke cleared after seven long years we were right back where we started. I didn’t have the heart to continue. Support from a spouse is absolutely key in debt elimination. As my wife’s medical conditions spiraled up, we began pulling equity out of the house every three to four years to pay for the bills. She’s been gone for 15 years but the mortgage lingers on even though I’ve been in my house for 30 years. If it goes full term which I expect it will, I’ll be 93 when it’s paid off.

    Being retired and living on a pension plus social security, makes the funds tight but the bills are paid and the debt is being reduced. I’ve come to the conclusion that after the career is over and in retirement there are more important things in life than being debt. free. Like taking a grandson to the zoo or celebrating birthdays. I’m not saying be crazy with spending but memory building into a young boy will last a life time. Taking care of a aging (90) mother in law, helping a daughter get started in life, are all more important to me than being debt free. I know it sounds like I’m making excuses. I’m about 10 years away from being 80 years old and I don’t really want those ten years to be known as a penny pinching old man.

    So I’ve chosen a different path to financial freedom. It’s a slower and much longer path that may never be accomplished but still worth the effort. I would still encourage those young enough to have seven to ten years to clean up the financial debt to do it. The commitment to debt reduction is similar to healthy eating. It’s a life time commitment and not some thing just to eliminate debt.

    Sorry this is so long but I just thought it might be encouraging to some that are in debt with things that are out of their control. I would say to those folks not to give up but continue to move forward even if it’s just a little bit every month. Don’t be discouraged when negative financial things happen. It may take more than 10 years but it can be done. I’m living proof of that.

    Have a great debt free day.

    Liked by 3 people

    • valbjerke says:

      Thankyou for sharing that – you make an excellent point – not everybody in the debt boat is there for the same reasons.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Thanks for sharing that Dave. There are plenty of good and valid reasons to be in debt and any of them could have happened to us. Could still happen for that matter. I’m not criticizing people who are in debt or trying to claim we have it figured out. I just thought it might be helpful to people who are struggling with it to hear from someone who’s been through it and was able to get free.

      Liked by 2 people

      • NebraskaDave says:

        Bill, it does encourage those that are struggling and I still think that being out of debt is the best way to live. I haven’t given up hope of getting there. I’ve learned to just keep trudging forward and the break through will come.

        I celebrate those that have made a decision to be debt free and have made the goal. It’s the best decision.

        Have a great debt free day.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Laurie Graves says:

    An important subject. Thanks so much for sharing. It gives encouragement to those who are on what is often a long and discouraging debt-free journey.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. valbjerke says:

    It’s nice you’ve opened the door on a generally taboo subject. Twelve years ago when we moved here we were debt free. Both recently divorced – and having known each other for twenty years, decided we would make a good team and succeed at this farming thing. Two things – I had not considered I would end up becoming a full time step-mom (it didn’t occur to me their mom would pack the kids off to live with us the minute we got a place) so ching ching- you can’t make a home for kids and expect them to sleep on the floor or have no running water. The second thing was the idea we could make money production farming (pigs/meat birds/goats)…..twelve years ago it seemed very do-able. We’re not swimming in debt – but darn close. Hindsight being 20/20, there are many things we could have done differently, but dwelling on that doesn’t change the present situation. Because we’ve been debt free in the past – I have confidence we will be again – but certainly not in the immediate future.

    Liked by 2 people

    • NebraskaDave says:

      Valbjerke, yes, those unforeseen things in life can be financially discouraging. Kids do up the monthly expense and time commitment. I have a daughter and grandson that live with me. The important thing is to move forward inch by inch. For me it’s been up and down but I refuse to give in. I don’t live a life of luxury but the lights are on, the showers are hot, and the toilets flush. In some countries, that would be considered luxury.

      Have a great day on the homestead.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Bill says:

      Thanks for sharing this Val. And you’ve touched upon another nearly taboo subject: the truth that it’s very very difficult to make any money doing this. As I was dreaming about making the transition I saw hundreds of posts about how great the lifestyle was, but hardly any about how hard and financially difficult it can be. I’m reluctant to post about that too, because I don’t want to rain on anybody’s dream. But we do need more honest posts, based on reality. Your last two posts were excellent examples of what we need to see more of.

      The easy thing to do is stay away from the touchy and difficult topics, and I generally do that. But I think we ought to share our experiences too, for the benefit of each other and those on the journey.

      As I’ve said before, I really admire what you all are doing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • valbjerke says:

        You’ve made another good point – I think we all try not to rain on anybody’s parade – but I tend to only divulge the ‘dark’ side if I’m asked directly. Even when blogging – I’ve generally stayed away from anything too negative – but as time goes on I’ve become more comfortable in the blogging community and am more inclined to tell things straight. 🙂
        I think I’ve mentioned before – you start some excellent discussions.

        Liked by 3 people

      • “Land rich and cash poor” lol, some things never change… There may not be much hard currency involved, but a farm family will never starve; )

        Liked by 2 people

  9. I watched in dismay as young people bought houses far beyond their incomes during the housing boom, Bill. And then watched sadly as their worlds fell apart during the crash. And I cursed the financial institutions that encouraged their behavior. Peggy had teachers on $50,000 salaries buying $500,000 dollar homes. As you noted, it is a lot easier to get into debt than it is to get out of it. –Curt

    Like

    • Bill says:

      I saw it too Curt. I well remember a person of modest income buying houses to “flip.” To her there was no risk at all. As she told me, “Houses never go down.” She soon learned how wrong she was. Even before the crash I had friends earning very high incomes who were so debt-strapped that they couldn’t afford to miss a single paycheck. Some filed bankruptcy. Some will be chained to their desks all their lives, because they didn’t have the discipline to stay out of debt. These are not people whose life circumstances forced them into debt, They’re people who couldn’t resist the temptation of “buy now, pay later.”

      Like

      • We heard the same thing from Peggy’s teachers, Bill. The market was going to continue to skyrocket forever. They couldn’t help but make fabulous profits. A knowledge of history would have certainly helped them… –Curt

        Like

  10. Selka says:

    Paying off smallest debt first? What a notion! I’ve never heard of such a concept. What you arrived at almost exactly matches Suze Orman’s dictums – pay highest interest rate first, pay debt before saving, and once you pay off one creditor, redirect that portion into the other streams (don’t take it to the mall). You should’ve been a financial advisor guru.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Well it isn’t rocket science is it? Hearing that advice from Dave Ramsey is one of the things that prompted me to write this post. I suppose his thinking is that paying off a debt will be encouraging, but it just makes no sense to me to prioritize debts by amount rather than by what the debt is actually costing you!

      Like

  11. Yes Bill our Mortgage was our biggest debt. Thankfully now paid up in full..
    And we have always saved to pay for things outright and if we hadn’t enough we went without until we could afford it.. Even when we got married I didn’t have a fridge for a year… And made do with second hand washing machine,, No carpets and minimal furniture 🙂
    Today it is geared up for people to easily get into debt…. And the young today can not wait to save they have to have things now.. Sad how we have become a world living on credit.. xxx

    Like

    • Bill says:

      We hung sheets over the picture window in the living room of our first house until we had the money to buy curtains. 🙂 Meanwhile I had friends earning less than us who were having their kitchens remodeled, on credit I assume.

      It is way too easy to get credit nowadays imho. I can still remember when credit cards were invented. Back in those days people still had things like “Christmas clubs” and “layaway.”

      But now I’m showing my age…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I remember also the invention of credit cards.. And when we got pay packets 🙂 My first weeks wage was £4-two shillings and sixpence. 🙂 And yes we didn’t get a stair carpet for several years until we could afford one 🙂 I agree its far to easy to get into debt these days.. 🙂 and if you are showing your age, I am showing mine lol 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  12. viczye23 says:

    Im glad to have read this. Having worked out my debt tonight, after struggling for so long, i decided to blog about it. Writing it down to help me plan how to get myself out of debt and how long it will take me.
    Like you i agree about paying off the high interest rate debts as quickly as possible, afterall its the high interest rate debts that will keep you in debt for longer.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Wishing you all the best on your journey to being debt free. I remember feeling like the finish line was so far in the distance that I would never be there. I remember wondering if it was worth it to hold the course. But trust me, the day will arrive and you’ll be thrilled with the freedom that will come with being debt free!

      Like

  13. Adelia Tim says:

    Brilliant article Bill. Thank you for sharing your story. I really wish more people would do exactly what you have done! You did what was right not only for your family but overall for the economy. If more people would take responsibility of their spending and take control we would be in a better world.

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  14. Hi Bill. Thanks so much for sharing your strategy! We also agree with the strategy of paying down the highest interest debt first even though there are many out there that would argue in favor of paying the smallest debt. It’s inspiring to read posts from others that are or have worked to being debt-free.

    I especially loved reading about what you did with the money after the debt was paid off. That was something we hadn’t considered… the afterwards. Fantqastic ideas! Thank you again for sharing!

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Thanks and even though I was reluctant to post this all the great feedback on it makes me glad I did. I can remember feeling like the finish line was so far away we’d never reach it. But we stayed disciplined and eventually we reached it. It’s such a liberating feeling to finally be debt-free. My hope was just to offer some encouragement to those on the journey. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. ekdickerson says:

    We are currently working Dave’s steps, as far as the interest rate thing I agree and disagree. In the beginning paying off a few medical bills, and small credit card really built up our confidence and ability to keep trucking along. I do think that if you have something at a 20% interest rate vrs. 3% interest rate, you should pay the 20 % off asap. But if the numbers are close, for us, the smallest first has worked.
    We are currently in our last year of paying off consumer debt, started with 81,000, and are down to about 30,000. Love getting encouragement and advice from other bloggers!

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Congrats on your accomplishments so far! Sending all best wishes for a successful completion of your journey!

      For us it made sense to rank the debts according to what they were costing us to keep them, but I realize others will choose to tackle the problem differently.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. thedoffer says:

    I always love to read other success stories on getting out of debt. I truly believe that watching and seeing other real people do it can be so much better than just advice from an anonymous website. We are real people with a real story to tell.

    Like

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