Debt Success Stories: How These 9 Ordinary People Became Debt Free

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Navigating through paying off a mountain of debt can be intimidating. I know, as I incurred student loan debt myself and have been through the repayment process.

Did you know that the Amish are a lot better at managing their money than the rest of us (they have Amish money secrets)?

It’s true. And I used their secrets when I had my own battle with student loans and my story got featured on AOL Finance when I managed to pay off $30,000 of student loans in just 12 months.

Awesome stuff, right?

Reading other stories about how people are saving money by refinancing student loans or finding ways to pay off student loans faster is so motivating especially to those who are feeling overwhelmed with their own student loans.

There are a lot of Millennials out there making big changes in their finances in order to pay off those pesky student loans or other forms of debt.

Here are some of my favorite stories to help keep you motivated paying off debt fast:

Debt Success Stories

In case you’re new around these parts, The Meet Millennials Series features Millennial’s personal stories with money. Growing up I was raised thinking that talking about money was considered taboo. I’m here to change that. Learning about our peers real, raw, stories can provide inspiration, purpose, and you can learn what to do, and what not to do, from somebody else’s experience.

1. How Newlyweds Paid Off $33,000 of Debt in 18 Months

  • Student loans paid off: $33,000

Holly and her husband paid off $33000 worth of student loan debt. This wasn’t your typical we made more money and paid off the debt, it was a story of going from two incomes to solely one and still paying off a huge chunk of debt. They knew debt was going to be hanging over their heads from the school loans they had taken out so they committed to paying off each school bill as it came due. It was a big bite out of their paychecks but it was worth the hard work. This choice saved them from paying interest on 2 ½ years worth of schooling… Read more.

2. How to Pay Off $30,000 of Student Loan Debt in 4 Years

  • Student loans paid off: $30,000

Learn how Vince was able to pay off $30,000 of Student Loans in 4 years. With nearly $30,000 in student loans to pay off, this millennial planned ahead. During a time of unemployment, he applied for over 350 jobs, interviewed at 20 companies, before I got the one he wanted, making $73k at a fortune 100 company… Read more.

3. Paying Off $50,000 in Student Loans in 3 Years

  • Student loans paid off: $50,000

Bakhtiyar college experience was excellent and he had a great time. It was a big slap in the face when he checked my balance shortly before he graduated and happiness was replaced with panic! He was $53,000 in debt and his highest job offer was only $45,000. What is worse, during the course of my entire education he never once learned anything about personal finance. He could tell you random facts about marketing and management and could recite something he learned in history class, but he literally didn’t know how to build a personal budget! He still managed…Read more.

4. Surviving With Over $150K in Student Loan and Consumer Debt

  • Student loans + Consumer Debt (paying off): $150,000

Learn about Ava, a consultant with over 150k in student loan debt and consumer debt but she has a plan to pay it all off by the end of this year… Learn how.

5. How I Paid off $5,000 of Credit Card Debt in 9 Months

  • Consumer Debt paid off: $5,000

I received a submission from Johnson Joseph recently. He told me his story about how being too nice and not knowing how to say no got him into financial debt. Also, how he made a plan of action to pay off over $5,000 of credit card debt in 9 months. How did he pay off $5000 credit card debt in 9 months? Let’s find out!

6. $60K in Student Loan Debt: What I’m Doing About It

  • Student loans (paying off): $60,000

KP went to college and not surprisingly he also graduated with student loan debt. A lot of student loan debt. Around 60K in student loan debt. Learn how he is planning on tackling this debt… Read more.

7. Six-Figure Salary with Six-Figure Debt

  • Student loans + Consumer Debt (paying off): $154,000

In 2015 our unknown submission was fresh out of my MBA program and fresh in $154K of debt. Learn how she is currently coping with this mountain of debt (great post)… Read More.

Want to Read More Meet Millennial Stories?

Here are some successful submissions to the Meet Millennials Series:

What I Wish I Knew Before Paying Back $30,000 in Student Loans

Most graduates have multiple student loans, taken out over the many semesters they were enrolled in college. It can be tricky to keep track of all of your student loans, and the consequences of losing track of one can be scary — you could even default and face wage garnishment and collection fees. That’s why it’s important for recent graduates to make sure that they’re aware of all student debt they owe and are set to keep repayment on track.

#1. Use NSLDS.

Find student loans on NSLDS and credit reports. Take time to locate all of your student loans as soon as you graduate. You can use the National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS) to find any federal student loans you borrowed during college. If you took out private student loans, request free credit reports from all three major credit reporting agencies. Compare these reports against each other to make sure you’re aware of all private student loans you owe.

#2. Update your contact information.

Update mailing and contact information. Carefully pay attention to any mail or phone calls you get from potential lenders. Make sure your most recent address and contact information is fully updated with your college. If you move, file a change of address with the Postal Service and request that all mail is forwarded. You want to make sure that you will actually get any communications lenders try to send to you.

#3. Verify uncertainty

Verify any unfamiliar student loans. Of course, student loan mistakes do happen and you can double-check if a student debt is actually yours. If a lender claims you owe a student loan but it’s not familiar to you, it can be worth investigating the matter. Respond to the lender with a debt validation letter requesting that they prove the debt is yours before you start repaying it.” – Elysa Kirkham, Personal Finance Expert

If you’re ready to get back into learning about your student loans after those debt success stories, here are some good student loan resources to consider:

Good luck with those student loans and consumer debts.

About the author

Brian Meiggs
Brian Meiggs is a personal finance expert, and the founder of My Millennial Guide, a personal finance site helping you put more money in your pocket. He helps millennials follow the smart money in order to increase their earning potential and start building wealth for the future. He regularly writes about side hustles, investing, and general personal finance topics aimed to help anyone earn more, pay off debt, and reach financial freedom. He has been quoted as a top personal finance blogger in major publications including Yahoo! Finance, NASDAQ, Discover, MSN Money and more.
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