Woman pays off $96,000 of debt in just two years

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please read our disclosure policy for more info.

I’m excited to announce this guest post by J, a 20-something professional and lover of side hustles. She really knows how to pay off debt fast. She built a $200,000 net worth and paid off almost $100,000 debt by 27 years old. She hosts a money podcast, FIRE Drill podcast (https://firedrillpodcast.com), and blogs about career hacking and finances at millennialboss.com.

If you take one thing away from this post, it’s this. You need to GO BIG to get big results and pay off debt fast.

In January of 2015 I had $96,000 of debt and by January 2017 I was debt-free.

That almost $100,000 worth of debt consisted of:
  • My student loans
  • My husband’s student loans
  • My car loan
  • 0% interest credit cards that we took out when furnishing our house
  • Parent Plus Loans my parents took out for my education

I achieved debt-freedom in two years because I was willing to completely change my life to get there and came up with a debt management plan:

  • I sold my car
  • I sold 95% of my belongings
  • I rented out my house
  • I moved to a different state for a new job

There is a lot of financial advice out there about skipping your daily latte and making small choices. I knew I wasn’t going to pay off nearly $100,000 of debt in record time by staying small.

I went BIG and got a BIG result.

Here are the three ways I paid off my debt fast.

I reversed my spending by selling everything I could to pay off debt fast

J learned how to pay off debt fast with an awesome debt management plan. Here she is looking out over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Craigslist became my best friend. In one month, I sold nearly $4,500 worth of household goods, and I’m not just talking big-ticket items such as a couch or a flatscreen.

I sold extra frying pans, silverware, basically anything I determined to be redundant and I didn’t need. I was surprised how much stuff I accumulated over the years.

I counted over 30 glasses and mugs in my kitchen cabinets!

At first, I thought, why would anyone want this stuff?

How to work remotely FREE email course!

Ditch your desk job and work from anywhere with my free 5-day course. You'll learn about the top remote work jobs, online skills you need, and what employers are looking for.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. (*You'll also be subscribed to The Wayward Home's email list, all about van life, RVing, sailing and living smaller. Welcome aboard!) Powered by ConvertKit

Surprisingly, there are people who will buy those random household items.

I posted my for sale items every weekend on Craigslist in both the relevant categories and in the garage sale section.

When people would come to see the items, I would give them a second to explore what else I had for sale and then I would often upsell them or offer to bundle if I saw them interested in certain items.

I made it a goal that I wouldn’t let them leave without buying at least $20 worth of stuff.

How I Sold $4,500 worth of stuff on Craigslist in one Month:


I sold my car as part of my debt payoff plan

One 28-year-old woman looks out over the beach after she learned how to pay off debt fast. She paid off $96,000 of debt as part of her debt payoff plan.

I financed a new SUV 15 months before I got motivated to pay off my debt. While I could afford the monthly payment, I knew I would never get ahead if I kept the car.

At the same time, everyone was giving me advice that I shouldn’t sell the car because I would take a huge hit on depreciation if I sold the car after only 15 months.

They said I should keep it.

I did the math instead.

The car payment was $387 per month, but when you added in maintenance, registration fees, gas, and other costs – I was looking at nearly $750 per month in costs.

In addition, I needed to stop the bleed.

Yes, I lost $7,000 in depreciation over 15 months but I also stopped myself from continuing to pay a monthly payment.

I put that payment towards my debt payoff plan instead.

I now take the bus to work.

I actually prefer it to driving since I can listen to podcasts and relax.

I put all of my efforts into increasing my income as a way to pay off debt fast

I made bold moves in my career.

I was always motivated to get ahead at work, but when I had that debt wake-up moment, I became extra motivated.

I accelerated the progress towards the Master’s degree I was getting part-time at night and really powered through the classes, even when it involved staying up to 3 am multiple nights per week for two years straight.

Related posts:

I also started looking for scholarships to attend conferences for networking.

I applied for a scholarship to attend a Women’s conference for my field, and not only did I get the scholarship but I snagged an amazing job at the conference.

My boyfriend (now husband) and I packed our things, rented out our house and moved to the West Coast.

My new job had a higher salary and perks that helped me accelerate my debt payoff plan.

I picked up a new side hustle as part of my debt management plan

I also started my blog, Millennial Boss (https://millennialboss.com) around this time and wrote about my debt payoff plan, and the blog kept me accountable.

I was also able to monetize the blog in late 2016 which helped me pay off the final $7,000 of debt.

I didn’t look back, even when it got hard

I accepted that my previous comforts were gone. Our new apartment on the West Coast paled in comparison to the comfortable house we were living in before.

It was also more expensive! There were some days when I would wake up and get super stressed out.

One of the more stressful experiences was when our house didn’t sell. Before we decided to rent it out, we actually tried to sell it, and after months of no bites, we finally found a buyer!

We were so excited.  Paying double mortgage and rent had stalled my debt payoff plan’s progress.

Unfortunately, the buyer’s financing fell through at the last minute and the deal fell through.

We rented out the house instead.

How to pay off debt fast: find a support system

I was lucky to have a supportive partner through the hard times. My friends were also very supportive as well, although, I did face some pushback when I wouldn’t attend wedding-related events. I was in my mid-to-late-twenties during this process and wedding season was in full swing.

So, I had some friends vocally call me out for making frugal choices during important events.

For example, one time I chose to stay in my house 45 minutes away from a bachelorette party and drive into the city every day instead of splitting an Airbnb with the other girls. I wasn’t a bridesmaid but it still hurt my friend’s feelings. I can see how my actions were disappointing and I feel bad about them.

At the same time, I knew that my debt payoff plan was temporary and that I needed to not cave into other pressures or I would never get anywhere.

We are still good friends today and I saved hundreds of dollars on that weekend.

Overall, paying off debt fast wasn’t easy but it was worth it.

[clickToTweet tweet=”‘Paying off debt wasn’t easy but it was worth it.’- woman who paid $96,000 of debt in 2 years.” quote=”‘Paying off debt wasn’t easy but it was worth it.'”]

My husband and I have more freedom in our lives and we make choices without the burden of debt.

Our focus has now switched to achieving complete financial freedom, where we no longer have to work for money.

I host FIRE Drill podcast (https://firedrillpodcast.com) where myself and a good friend interview early retirees and 6-figure side hustlers to learn how they achieved financial freedom.

I hope to inspire others to take control of their finances and GO BIG.

How to work remotely FREE email course!

Ditch your desk job and work from anywhere with my free 5-day course. You'll learn about the top remote work jobs, online skills you need, and what employers are looking for.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. (*You'll also be subscribed to The Wayward Home's email list, all about van life, RVing, sailing and living smaller. Welcome aboard!) Powered by ConvertKit

4 thoughts on “Woman pays off $96,000 of debt in just two years”

  1. Wow! Congrats J! I didn’t realize you paid off your debt so quickly and that it was so recent. That is a big transformation which speaks to your GO BIG philosophy. Even if it took longer than you thought by going big you still achieve a huge turnaround in a short amount of time. I have also never heard of selling so much on Craigslist either. We have been selling stuff on eBay but I should look at Craigslist again. Congrats again!

  2. Debts can be really excruciating! You will be emotionally and physically drained thinking about how to pay it all off! But do you know there are lawyers who can erase high debts? YES THERE IS! It is unbelievable but they did 😀


Leave a Comment