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

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My name is Holly and this is my story on how my husband and I have paid off $33000 worth of debt.

My story is not the typical we made more money and we paid off the debt but instead, it’s how we went from 2 incomes to 1 and still paid off the loan!

Crazy, right!

Well, sometimes life is a rollercoaster right?!

My Prince Charming and I were married in 2004 and on day one of marriage, we shared $17000 worth of school debt. One month later moved to beautiful, sunny Florida for him to finish school. It was like living in paradise all the time! I loved it. The sun was always shining, we lived 9 miles from the beach and we were newlyweds, in debt and dealing with it a day at a time.

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We knew debt was going to be hanging over our heads from the school loans he had taken out so we committed to paying off each school bill as it came due, during the time he was in school. It was a big bite out of our paychecks but it was worth the hard work. This choice saved us from paying interest on 2 ½ years worth of schooling.

How did I do that you are asking? I’m glad you asked.

Saving, Budgeting, Making More Money — Our Debt Repayment Plan of Attack

  1. We had a budget that we stuck to each month.
  2. We saved for Christmas spending all year long so we didn’t rack up credit card bills at the end of the year.
  3. He worked a part-time job while in grad school. I worked full time.
  4. He picked up extra work by delivering furniture at night.
  5. We only had one checking account and both our incomes were deposited in the same account. We budgeted off our combined incomes.
  6. We did every cheap date night you can think but still had fun together.
  7. I packed a lunch for work instead of eating out with my co-workers.
  8. Honey’s schedule allowed him to eat at home most days.

When he finished school we moved to New York for a job Pastoring a small church. At the time we decided it was best for our family that I stay home instead of going to work. Since I had been bringing in the most money, this was hard to adjust to in the budget. But here is what we did as our situation changed.

  1. We re-evaluated the budget and cut out extra spending for toys and such.
  2. I looked at our biggest spending categories in our budget. Insurance was a big one so I looked at each policy closely and made phone calls. I saved over $600 a year by adjusting some things on our auto policy.
  3. I consolidated the student loans from two companies into one. This lowered the interest we were paying and gave us one loan bill instead of two each month. This is my best advice for anyone with student loans! It saved us a ton of money! (Special for MMG Readers: Refinance your student loans with SoFi and receive a $100 welcome bonus)
  4. Almost every meal we ate at home.
  5. For a year we house sat for a family. This saved on rent big time!
  6. We shared cell phone charges with family by using a family plan and paying our share.
  7. We paid extra each month on the school bills.
  8. We used our tax return money to pay down the loan.

When we sent in the last, very large debt payment we were so excited! But our greatest reward was the next month when our budgeted school loan amount was 100% our money! All our hard work had paid off.

I believe that money is a tool and how we use it not only affects us but many others around us. The problem is a lack of training in effectively handling this tool.

In grade school we aren’t taught to handle personal finances, in college, we aren’t taught either. The way to financial success is completely up to you and I believe everyone CAN change their financial future by sharpening their financial knowledge.

The challenge I give to everyone is learn more, grow more and save more. I blog at and I’m passionate about ladies especially financially succeeding in life.

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When Holly isn't blogging about saving money you will find her spending time with family, reading, hiking and generally being out doors when she can!

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