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

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

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.

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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!

Now Let’s Talk Money: Meet Millennials Series With Johnson

What’s your story?

When being too nice and not knowing how to say no got me into financial debt to be exact, $5,263.24, in credit card debt in late October 2016.

It is the story of how a young man paid off $5,263.24 in credit card debt in 9 months and actually saved up close to a year worth of living expenses and a new business account with a half year goal almost met.

How would you describe your current financial situation?

I had to go through a dramatic experience in my life late 2016 to finally realize and make a decision to financially come to sense and free myself from debt. Also, to vow to never again put myself in this financial situation ever again!

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With the beginning of 2017, I made a financial decision to save 45% of my monthly income and any other additional income (bonus and income tax).

I had created 4 bank accounts and I paid myself before I paid off my monthly expenses which method allowed me to live within my needs and not over spend. I only spend what I had in my spending account. pay off 5000 credit card debt

My Four Accounts — How I Made It Work

  1. Long-Term Saving Account – 20%
  2. Business Account – 10%
  3. Short-Term Savings Account – 10%
  4. Spend Account – 5%

The reason I created these 4 accounts:

Long-Term Savings Account – I wanted to have an emergency fund and an account I can build over time and not worry about taking money out for any reason.

Business Account – Number 2 of my 2017 resolutions was to:

1). Invest in an organization or company I felt was bringing meaningful resources to people and

2). Purchase my first income property and start earning passive income.  In order to do so, I created an LLC and Business Account and started to save.

Short-Term Saving Account – Even though I was paying more than the minimum monthly payments on my credit card I had this account just for that reason and for any major expenses in the near future ex. Student loans.

Spend Account (Checking Account) – This account is where I was paying off my monthly expenses, daily spending. So when the funds from this account ran out no more spending for me!

Do you consider yourself to be money-savvy? pay off 5000 credit card debt

I would have to say as of now and my current financial state I am more knowledgeable, conscious, and goal orientated towards money and yes I would consider myself money savvy.  There’s a lot I don’t know but that’s the fun part going out there and seeking that information.

What financial advice would you have wished to hear when you started working?

One financial advice I would I knew before when I started working is about the importance of investing.

All my life growing up the only thing I heard was to get a job to earn an income, pay off your expenses and the remaining save. This is true for the most part but what I should have been taught was to earn an income, a percentage of your income you save, pay off your expenses and the remaining earning you invest.

What financial achievement are you most proud of?

The financial achievement I am most proud of to obtain an excellent credit score over 700+. If you want to learn how to improve your score you can check here.

It wasn’t something that happened oovernight It was a determination for me to achieve this goal and be an example for my young brothers, sisters, and cousins.

Also I was able to pay off my car loan after 5 years ($12,000).

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What expense can you not live without?

One expense I can’t live without is rent. At the moment, I am working on creating another stream of income to balance this major expense.

What expenses could you cut down on?

One expense I can cut down on is my Netflix account, which I will be cutting loose!

What are your long-term financial goals?

One of my long-term financial goals for the end of 2017 is in my long term saving account to have 25% of my yearly salary ($22,500). I also plan to pay off my students loans of $29,000 in 2 years and open at Roth IRA account to start to save for retirement.

What are your short-term financial goals?

My short-term financial goal is to save $5,000 in my business account.

I also decided to change my percentage of saving; I made a new goal which is now to save 60% of my monthly income starting in July 2017.

Do you have any side hustles or ways to gain supplemental income?

Yes, I started back my personal fitness business – from doing group fitness training class and 1 on 1 personal training session.

Also teaching myself how to program to eventually become a front-end developer.

How do you manage to pay off student loans and/or consumer debt? Any tips?

I would suggest creating a personal budget you could do weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. At the moment I am doing monthly having all of my finance in one centralized place from income, expenses, investments, daily spending (categorized) you will start to see where all your money is going and what to focus on the following month.

You can see how much you can contribute (adding more to the minimum) to your student loans/consumer debt every month and you can tweak your contribution until that debt is paid off. It’s really useful.

Want free money?

Simply sign up for Aspiration, and the free banking app will give you cash for free, you just relax while it gives you $150 just for opening a new debit card. There’s no catch. This bank account is legit and only takes two minutes to sign up for an account.

What career path would you choose if money was not an issue?

If money wasn’t an issue where would my path be is having that mindset I had at a young age where I believed I can do and be anybody. Being more creative and having the enjoyment of doing what I truly love!

Closing thoughts?

Start now if you can manage your finance on a small scale and knowing where all your money is going once you reach a stage in your life where you have a partner, family, mortgage, business you will have the core understanding of finance and how to manage your money. Also having a goal and a plan for your finance will clear up your path to financial freedom. I would recommend reading this book, The Millionaire Mind, which provides roadmaps as to how average millionaires found their niches through very attainable ways. After reading this book, I felt like becoming a millionaire is no longer a wild dream but a very attainable goal. It makes me strive to continue to improve my finances and set financial goals for myself

I hope you can learn from my experience and if you have any questions just ask away!


Thanks for your submission Johnson and letting us know how one can really pay off 5000 credit card debt in only 9 months! I wanted to let my readers know that there is some great valuable advice here, however, everyone has different goals, aspirations, and walks of life. This was a great learning experience for me learning about somebody else’s personal story with money. Ready to share your story?

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About the author

Johnson Joseph
Johnson Joseph is a New Jersey native born and raised. Currently based in Los Angeles working at WeWork with experience in expansion and building community throughout WeWork community of 100,000+ members in different markets such as - New York City, Los Angeles, London, and Amsterdam. Skilled in User Experience, strategic planning, sales, management, team building, and varies technical applications experience. Strong operation focus background, with diverse experience working with collaborative teams on, varies projects. With a Bachelor of Science focused in Business Management and Economics from Kean University. Outside of that Johnson is a fitness trainer that specializes in functional training, HITT circuits and strength training and yeah Johnson loves to cook!

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