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25 Real (and AWESOME) Get Out of Debt Stories

Getting out of debt might often seem impossible, but it really isn’t. Many people across the world have found ways to climb out of their debt so they can breathe a little easier. Read the stories we have listed below to find some hope and inspiration.

1.  Leo Babauta

After making the decision to get out of debt, Leo was able to do it within 2 years while supporting a family of 8! Small things like cutting up credit cards, and getting rid of non-essentials (like cable television) and other extras, he was able to create a reasonable budget and pay off what he owed.

2.  J.D. Roth

With over $35k in debt, J.D. added to that by purchasing a new home – a dream home! The cost of everything started to overwhelm him and so he researched all kinds of ways to get out of debt. He has written a book about his journey and ended up being debt free except for his mortgage in about three years.

3.  Amanda Grossman

As with many Americans, Amanda graduated from college and then had to find a way to pay her $36k in student loan debt. To this day, Amanda and her husband who also had college debt have vowed to pay cash for everything.

4.  Joan Otto

With close to $100,000 in debt, Joan and her husband were finally tired of it. They have paid of over $24k in the last several years and are sticking to their plan to be debt free by 2016. Joan has chronicled her journey on

5.  Adam Baker

His story is what prompted Joan Otto to make the change and start paying off debt. Adam and his wife had about $72k in debt when they decided to sell everything they owned and go traveling. Only 11 months in, they had eliminated credit card debt, as well as their car loans, and saved $17,000 for their trips.

6.  Meadow DeVor

With some of the highest personal debt that we have seen, $571,817.68 to be exact, Meadow was drowning. She worked hard, sold personal items, and had 3 jobs at one time, but was able to reach her money goals. As of 2011, she has enjoyed being debt free.

7.  Jaime Tardy

As with many typical families, Jaime and her husband had student loans, cars, and a home equity loan.  Their plan of attack was eliminating all the excesses and downgrading their vehicle to something more affordable. They have managed to pay off debt and build a savings as well.

8.  JoAnneh Nagler

JoAnneh started accruing debt in her early 20’s and had over $80,000 in credit card debt alone! While researching as much as she could, she decided to create her own Debt Free Spending Plan which instructs people to find 5 minutes per day of living debt free.

9.  Carrie Smith

Luckily, Carrie only had about $14,000 in debt which can be much easier to pay off than three or four times that number. Like many here, she cut back on non-essentials like dining out, gym memberships, etc. She worked hard and paid off things a little bit every single month.

10.  Eric and Erika

When these two got married, they realized their combined debt was over $40k. Even facing some life setbacks, they have been able to pay down several thousand in the last few years. If life comes at you out of nowhere, have faith that debt freedom is still attainable.

11.  Stephanie Benedetti

With close to $100k in debt, Stephanie decided to move in with a roommate to cut down on living costs, she got rid of non-essentials and took as many odd jobs as she could find to add to her debt repayment plan. She was even featured on the Katie Couric talk show for her efforts.

12.  Kim Parr

When Kim had family who experienced a foreclosure, she and her husband decided to evaluate what they owed. After figuring that they had $70,000 in debt, they knew they needed to get serious. They sold possessions, cut back on expenses and did what they could to increase their income.

13.  Jordann Brown

After totaling a car and dealing with student loans, Jordann and her husband decided to take action to get rid of their debt. About two years after making that decision, they reached their financial goal of being debt free.

14.  Joe Mihalic

Going to Harvard is no cheap trick. With $101,000 in student loans, Joe was struggling to pay them off. He was making $1,057 payments every month! For a short time, he stopped contributing to his 401K, sold items, and cut back on entertainment like movies and dinners out. He took on roommates and increased his income where he could.

15.  Krystal Yee

With student loans and credit card debt, Krystal started paying $1,000 every month to her credit cards. She was lucky to have few expenses and a good job, but instead of saving or spending her lovely excess income, she buckled down with big payments.

16.  Johnny and Joanna

Even moving to different cities a few times over, these two were able to pay their debt off by sticking to the plan they set forth with from the beginning. It was hard, but they were able to do it without finding excuses.

17.  Philip Taylor

Philip found himself victim to low interest rates and would buy big ticket items because of it. Philip and his wife have paid off all debt except their mortgage and are enjoying their lives much more now. They also reduced non-essential items and found ways to increase their incomes.

18.  Travis Pizel

Travis also had over $100k in debt and he was feeling the pressure. He and his wife actually decided to enroll into a debt management program which helped them lower their interest rates and pay over $2,000 per month to their debt.

19.  Brad Chaffee

Brad and his family were caught in the cycle of charging up credit cards and then scrambling to come up with the large payments that they required. They imagined what they could do with all that money going to creditors and they started dreaming. They sold their nice car for a clunker and saved some money as well.

20.  David Weliver

Realizing that his credit card minimum payments were so small, he started charging more. With credit card debt and student loans, David was drowning. He eliminated $80k in debt in three years’ time by taking on part time jobs, living with roommates and getting rid of extras.

21.  Anna Newell Jones

In 2010, Anna decided to take control. She cut all her expenses down to just the bare essentials and by the end of her first year she had paid off $17,911 out of her total debt of $23,605. If you want to take the plunge like Anna, reading her story is worth it.

22.  John Corcoran

John came out of law school with massive student debt. Well over $100k from school and another $600k for personal items like properties, his wedding, cars, honeymoon and more, John was feeling the noose tighten. He and his wife tackled the highest priority debt first and kept going down the list.

23.  Catherine Fitzgerald

Debt was all Catherine knew since her single mother survived on credit cards as she was growing up. Catherine saw the trap she was in and she decided to become debt free. With working hard, getting raises and promotions, Catherine cut expenses and has now been living debt free.

24.  Mike

After 17 months, Mike and his wife have paid off $10k in debt. They used a monthly budget that was very strict and built a savings that they could rely on for car repairs, birthdays, Christmas, property taxes, etc. They now have financial peace.

25.  Ashley

When Ashely and her husband faced transmission issues in their car, they had no choice but to accrue debt to fix it, on top of their student loans already. They are now living on track and have enough savings to easily pay a thousand dollars or more for emergencies that pop up.

  • Takes your existing debt and try to settle with your creditors for a lower amount. If you pay off the settled amount, your debt will be considered paid in full.
  • Negotiates with your creditors on your behalf.
  • Fee based on a percentage of your total starting debt or a percentage of the debt they save you.
  • Most settlement companies have you create a separate "escrow" account where you will make monthly contributions over a certain amount of time to contribute to your settlement. Once there is a substantial amount of funds to show your creditors, the settlement company will try to negotiate a lower amount of debt.
  • Combines all your debts and creditors into one monthly payment.
  • Allows you to pay one monthly payment to the consolidation company, instead of multiple payments to different creditors.
  • You no longer owe your original creditors; instead you pay one monthly payment to your consolidation company.
  • Consolidation companies can help negotiate lower interest rates on your debts and help lower your total debt payment in the long run. A lower interest rate will lower the amount you owe in the end.
  • Allows you to consolidate all your different debts into one personal loan that can be paid off over time.
  • Can offer borrowers a lower interest rate with a longer payback term (compared to high-interest credit cards or medical bills). This will lower the amount of money required to pay off the loan over time.
  • Personal loan debt consolidation can be an effective way to raise your credit score quickly (within 3-6 months).
  • Borrowers can receive funds from their loan within only a few days.


  • What is the most important feature when choosing a company to consolidate your debt? (Check all that apply)

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