Part 2: The Ultimate Guide to How I Paid Off My Debt and Celebrated in Hawaii

If you haven’t yet read part 1, go back to get the foundation for how I paid off my debt ($30,000 !!) in just 10 months. If you have, you’re ready for the tools to my success.Step 3: The tools
Paying off debt is not an easy task. A plan isn’t enough. Working two jobs isn’t enough. Sacrificing isn’t enough. You need to have the right tools under your belt.

Don’t underestimate the importance of creating an effective budget. Creating a budget is nice and even easy to do …but creating an effective budget–that’s a different story.

Fortunately, I learned some extremely valuable tips to creating a budget that works. Effective budgeting makes your money start working for you. It takes into consideration paying off debt, building up an oh sh*t emergency fund, saving for retirement, and even sneaky expenses like holidays and birthdays. (Pro-tip: using the app can make all of this even easier.)

Trick to saving hundreds in student loan debt

One trick to how I paid off my debt is by paying principal only. Your payment is composed of two main pieces: principle and interest.When you make a payment, the amount paid is divided into interest and principal. Paying principal only means that your money is going toward the amount borrowed only–and NOT to the banks pockets.

But did you know you can’t pay principal-only on student loans?
Don’t worry; I learned a secret workaround for this. This secret literally saved me hundreds of dollars. I put my findings in this handy cheat sheet and added a couple more tips in the cheat sheet as well. It’s free, so download it, print it off and keep it handy as you go through your process of paying off student debt.

(Another fun trick? Use the free Debt Repayment calculator inside the money app.)

Stay motivated throughout the process

Getting out of debt isn’t easy. You have to keep going back to your “why” to stay motivated and on track. Ask yourself these questions:
  • Why are you getting out of debt?
  • What are the feelings you felt that led to you wanting to make this change?
  • Are you embarrassed? Did you overdraft your checking account?
  • Did you not have enough money in your account to buy groceries?
Reminding yourself of your story and your “why” will keep you motivated throughout this process. That’s how I paid off my debt.
Step 4: Living a Debt-Free Life
Do you know how nice it is to have the freedom to travel whenever you want, spend $500 on a shopping trip guilt-free, and purchase luxury items? It’s not out of your reach.

You can do it.

In May 2014, I went to Kauai. Kauai is a beautiful, beautiful island. I hiked along the Napali Coast, some of the most rugged and gorgeous terrain; snorkeled with tropical fish and turtles; watched endangered monk seals snooze; rode in a helicopter around the island; drank Mai Tais, relaxed while reading on the beach; and my favorite memory–got caught hiking in a tropical rainstorm.

But the best part of livin’ the debt free life…When I return home, I have only the memories with me–and not the credit card bill.
I also could start my own business without the financial stresses that go with it. As an entrepreneur, living a very low-risk life is important to me and keeping my monthly expenses to a minimum makes a huge difference in business growth versus business flop.
Imagine what you could do if you were debt-free?
I really hope this post has helped you gain some insights around what I did to pay off my debt. I am a very normal, average, person. If I can do, anyone can do it. Go forth, and conquer your debt, Nav.igators!
If you’re interested in connecting with Whitney Hansen for one-on-one coaching, reach out here. If you want to hear more from her, check out this episode featuring Whitney on the podcast.

We’re changing the narrative around money but change can’t happen with a one-sided conversation. That’s why we’re excited to bring different voices and experts to share their wisdom. Send us an email and let us know what you think. And remember the money app offers you free tools for checking in and managing your money moves.

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