How a Single Mom Paid off $25,000 in 14 Months!
I have shared my debt-free story and love hearing others stories. My next story is how a 28 yr old single mother paid off $25,000 in 14 months! She works as a CNA and didn’t do anything “crazy” to pay off her debt. She made a budget and stuck to it. If she can do it, you can too. Imagine the freedom of not having any debt payments, paying for things in cash, funding your retirement or even putting your children through college.
Our society makes us think that we need debt to survive, that it’s “normal”. Well it is normal, but it shouldn’t be. Just because it is normal, doesn’t make it right. It all starts with believing that you can do it and wanting it bad enough to do it.
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Here is Sadie’s story:
I am a 28 year old female. I live in Charleston, South Carolina. At the time of my debt free journey I had a “live out” boyfriend that I had been dating for a few years. I was ultimately a single mom of a 10 year old son and my father lived with me as well. He contributed $500 a month toward living expenses but I was in responsible for everything beyond that. I work in the medical field- hospice. I am an administrative assistant and CNA supervisor. I also own a small home business selling on eBay.
How much debt did you have when you started your debt-free journey?
When I officially started my debt free journey Jan 2016 I had $25,000 in debt. This consisted of medical bills, credit cards, student loan and an auto loan.
How long did it take you to pay off?
It took me 14 months to pay off my debt.
Did you do anything extreme to pay off debt?
The only extreme or extra thing I did do was clean vacation beach homes every Saturday during the summer to earn some extra money to toss at my debt!
What kind of comments did you get from others while paying off debt?
Most of my friends and family were very supportive and often asked questions because they saw my success. One person did tell me I would never be debt free and that it wasn’t really possible to live a debt free life. This was an older woman in her 80s. I think to myself, wouldn’t her life be different if she listened to Dave Ramsey at 28 (if he had been around 🙂 )
Do you still have a mortgage?
I do still have a mortgage! But, hopefully I can get that paid off early!
Do you follow Dave Ramsey and if so, why and how long?
YES! I started listening to Dave Ramsey in November 2015 at work on my computer. I listened for about a month and became addicted to the debt free screams! In December 2015 I signed up for FPU which started in Jan 2016. I listened Monday-Friday9-5 until my debt was paid off. Today, I still listen from time to time to get re-motivated, encouraged and anytime I am feeling stressed (money related or not!) The show itself WILL change your life if you listen to what is being said!
Have you ever bought a brand new car? If so, would you again?
Hm. I have leased a brand new car. NEVER ever again will I do that! That was a couple thousand dollars in mile overage lesson I had to learn. The car I drive currently was a year old when I purchased it. It is paid for now, but, the plan would be to drive it until it couldn’t drive it anymore, or until my son can drive it, and pay for my next car in cash!
What can you do now that you couldn’t when you had debt?
FOLLOW a budget! I NEVER did a budget before starting my journey. I would just pay the bills and whatever I had left over was a free for all. Sometimes it would get saved in the bank or saved toward something, but for the most part it was spent. And on what, sometimes I couldn’t even tell you! So, I love that I know where all my money goes now. On the financial end of it, just being able to afford what I really need and plan ahead. I am getting married soon and we set a budget for our wedding and honeymoon originally $10,000- we managed to pay for it all with $6,000 CASH. It is a good feeling to know that we stuck to our budget (well, less!!) and that after our wedding is done the debt from it doesn’t follow us for years to come!
What are your current financial goals?
My current financial goals are to continue saving, bump up my 401k, open a ROTH and max it out each year, and start aggressively saving for my sons college.
What piece of advice would you give someone who is currently in debt and/or working to pay it off?
Start. NOW! It will be a slow start. It will be hard. It was will require sacrifice, but it is worth it! And start a budget. Not just start it but FOLLOW it! The budget will be what gets you through this if you follow it! Also, be hard on yourself, but DON’T overdo it. You should know your own boundaries and what will make this be a long-term success for yourself. If going out to dinner every other month means you will stick to this, GO TO DINNER! There are many people who will tell you to skip the restaurant or other certain “treats” until you are out of baby step 2 but, I feel that each of us have our own boundaries. Don’t take advantage of it though. You still need to be hard on yourself to get this done in a reasonable amount of time.
Anything else you want to share to inspire others to be “weird”?
Listen to debt free screams! Feel the emotion these families put into their stories. These are REAL stories of people making it happen! Listen to Dave Ramsey’s millionaire hour when NORMAL people share their stories on how they are now millionaires.. not flaunting their life styles but living a comfortable and secure life. TEACH THIS ALL TO YOUR CHILDREN! Believe it or not they are watching and they are listening! I was open with my son during this entire process because I wanted him to see the sacrifice and pain that debt caused me. I continue be open with him about this journey as I start new paths along the way. I want to change my family tree. I want my son to start on the right foot in life!
To start your journey to financial independence, download my FREE budget worksheet. The road starts with a written zero-based budget. To learn more about how to create a budget, check out my post: How to Make a Budget and Stick to It!
To learn more about the plan that started our debt-free journey, check out Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover.