How We Paid Off $30,000 Of Loan And Credit Card Debt
Updated: Feb 6
Does the thought of having a lot of debt frighten you? Do you look at the debt you have currently and think, “How will I ever get this paid off?” If so, that’s where we were not long ago.
Having a lot of debt can be very straining on your soul, and marriage if you don't take control of it. According to Dave Ramsey, "Nearly two-thirds of all marriages start off in debt... The larger a couple’s debt, the more likely they were to say money is one of the top issues they fight about."
Ariel has always been the good one with money. I (Tyler) have always been the spender. I racked up a lot of debt with my credit cards and in student loans. I’ll be honest, my credit card debt was not as high as a lot of people may have or had. I Had around $5,000.00 in credit card debt alone. I also had almost $25,000.00 in student loan debt.
I don’t know about you, but I viewed that as a mountain that I was climbing, and then rolling back down and not even making any progress. I would pay down a few hundred dollars on my credit cards, and then black Friday rolled around and I spent more than I paid off.
Our Loan Payoff Success Story
The Turning Point
I got to the point where Ariel and I started thinking about getting married. I knew that I was not able to provide for Ariel with my debt. So, I made the decision to pay this debt off as soon as I could. Minimum payments were not an option.
I wanted to climb this mountain and claim victory over my debt. And guess what? I did it! I paid off about $30,000.00 in about 2.5 years. And I want to share with you how I did it and how you can too.
Pay off the smallest accounts first
In my situation, the accounts with the smallest debt were my credit cards. I had about 3-4 different credit cards. I had a discover card, a JC Penny card, a Citi Bank card, and a Kohls card. I never got carried away with the Kohls card.
However, my Discover was maxed out most of the time and my Citi Bank card had around $3600.00 that was used to purchase a computer.
When you are in a similar situation, where you have smaller loan accounts and some bigger, than it is a great idea to pay the smaller balances off first. The reason for this is so you don’t get discouraged.
You will see one by one get paid off, and this will encourage you to keep going.
Make a plan to pay off the smaller loan balances first, and gradually move further to tackle the bigger balances. If you don’t know how to pay off credit card debt, you have to look at your budget as a whole and drop unnecessary expenses. Any streaming services or subscriptions that you don’t need to live, get rid of it.
Try consolidating your debt
If you have multiple credit cards with balances on each, try taking one card consolidating each into one loan. Consider getting a loan if you’re able and paying off the credit cards.
However, paying off the cards is not enough. The temptation is still there. You will want to cut up the cards. You heard me right! Cut up all cards except for one so you can use it for day to day purchases.
But until you pay off your credit card debt, you need to cut up the cards. Eliminate the temptation to use credit cards. We know that it is very tempting.
Will consolidating my debt hurt my credit score?
Consolidating your debt can be beneficial in the sense that, it helps you to manage the multiple debts you have. It will help you save money in the long run if you are consolidating credit card debt because a consolidation loan may have a lower interest rate.
Consult with local banks or other financial institutions to find one with the lowest interest rate.
If you have utilized most of your available credit, this will depreciate your credit score. By consolidating, it may not immediately lower your credit score. Your credit score will start to climb as you make payments on the consolidation loan. Even if you don’t consolidate any debt, you have to make more than just the minimum payment if you want this to help improve the credit score.
Whether or not you consolidate your debt, make sure to keep it organized and make more than just the minimum. My credit score was around 650 and I raised it to almost 800 by paying off my debt in bigger chunks. By making more than just the minimum payment due, it helps to improve your credit score and lower the amount of debt you have utilized.
Try saving, then paying
So, Ariel and I didn’t pay off all our debt all at once or even in big chunks alone. We did make the minimum and bigger chunks on our debt, but we also built up our savings balance, and then took what we didn’t need and made one big payment on my student loans.
I already had my credit card debt paid off by the time that Ariel and I were finally married. But I used the same strategy for my cards. I would pay a little bit more than the minimum due, and then in my savings account I was putting back as much as I could. After about a month or two, I would have about $2,500.00 or so and I would take about half and apply it to my credit cards.
I didn’t just spread that out over the credit cards necessarily. However, I made smaller payments on other cards, and then paid one big payment and eventually pay off one credit card that I was focusing my time and effort on. Once that debt was paid off, I would move to the next bigger debt. It was kind of like we took one small step and gradually increased our strides.
Paying off debt like this was not easy, but it was the easiest way for us to climb up the mountain in front of us.
Reward yourself every now and then
When you have a lot of debt that needs to be paid off, it’s easy to get discouraged. To keep from feeling this way, try splurging a little.
I want to emphasize the word, a little! Don’t pay off a lot or some of your debt, and then spend half of that back. Try treating yourself with night out, or with a present.
Having debt in your marriage can be a huge burden. The weight of debt is a leading factor to divorce in a lot of marriages. No one wants to live with a weight on their shoulders, and we want to help you to live better, and to live free of the financial burden.
If you want a happy life, or happy marriage, and to live a life more freeing, then pay off your debt. Don’t wait and stop letting it hold you back. Too much debt can depreciate your credit score, which can lead to you not getting a mortgage, which can put you in a smaller and not so nice house.
There is a snowball effect when you have too much debt. But the opposite is true as well. Pay off your debt now. And remember that you will be one step closer to living more, and living free!