Welcome to our third debt success story! Today we’re featuring Brian from Debt Discipline. Brian and his family paid off nearly $110k in revolving debt (yes, you read that right) in less than five years. If Brian can do it, you can too!
Fruclassity: Tell us about your debt situation and how it started.
Brian: We just thought we were living like everyone else: using credit cards to pay for things we didn’t have the cash for. This worked for us for many years because we were able to manage the minimum payments. Not knowing any better, we just continued to spend beyond our means and had no real plan for our money.
Fruclassity: When did you realize your debt had become a problem?
Brian: We had our rock bottom moment in the summer of 2010, 11 years into our marriage. We looked up and were in $109,000 worth of debt. I was trying to plan our summer vacation for that year and realized we had no cash and no available credit to finance it. After trying to get a credit extension and getting denied, I had an “ah-ha” moment. There had to be a better way. We made too much money to be living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Fruclassity: What’s your debt payoff goal date, or have you already reached it?
Brian: We became debt free in September of 2014 after 50 months. We averaged a $2k per month debt repayment over that time.
Fruclassity: What resources have helped you to be successful in your debt payoff efforts?
Brian: The first resources I found were Dave Ramsey and a blog called “Punch Debt in the Face.” Once I knew we had to make a change I hit the internet looking for the “get out of debt quick” answers. What I found instead were these resources and a lot of common sense strategies that helped us change our behaviors with our money.
Fruclassity: What challenges have tempted you to give up on your goal of debt freedom?
Brian: There are always low points or bad days along the way when trying to achieve a goal. Murphy visited us often during those 50 months of debt repayment, but we were better prepared each time. Having a modest $1k emergency fund in place covered those unexpected things life can throw at you. The biggest motivator for us was the end goal: What would our life be like when we were debt free? If we could just get there, all would be well.
Fruclassity: How has your debt affected your relationships with your spouse/family?
Brian: Since getting our financial act together our family is so much stronger. My wife and I communicate better. We talk money all the time, whereas this was something we would seldom talk about or only fight about before. We involved our children in the process right away and have taught them so much more about money than we were ever taught at their age. They are much better prepared to begin their financial lives and we have developed an environment in our home where it’s okay to talk about money.
Fruclassity: What jobs have you held during your debt payoff process?
Brian: I’ve had the same IT job for the last 20 years, and during our debt repayment my wife returned to work to increase our income. She continues to work in retail today. We also used e-bay and yard sales to bring in extra income.
Fruclassity: After such great success in paying off your credit card debt, what will be your next steps towards financial fitness?
Brian: We have now moved on to building wealth. We have established a larger emergency fund, increased our retirement savings and just recently opened 529 accounts for our 3 children.
Fruclassity: What words of encouragement do you have for those who want to become debt free?
Brian: No matter what your situation, level of debt, or level of income, you can make a change with your money. It may mean some sacrifice, changing behaviors, and giving up some luxury items, but it’s all worth it in the end. The best part of it all is that there is a large community out there that is willing to help you.
To read all of our debt success stories, go to our Debt Success stories page here. To share your own debt success story on Fruclassity, see the “Contact Us” page.