I’m Debt Free! My Debt Payoff Journey

It’s time for a debt snowball update for the month of December 2020 because I’m now debt free!

That’s right..

I’m now debt free!

I managed to pay off debt in massive amount for the month of December. This huge amount was major progress on our debt free journey… it finished off my debt free payoff journey!

My Debt Payoff Journey

In 2018 I set up a debt snowball to pay off the remaining debt in my life: leftover parent plus student loans I had been ignoring and one student loan for my husband.

When we starting paying off this debt together my husband and I set up our debt snowball as follows:

  • Husband’s Loan 1: $1,043.99
  • My Student Loan 2: $5,400.05
  • My Student Loan 3: $5,792.96
  • (Multiple loans) Loan 4: $31,129.13

Total debt: $43,366.13

You can see how we worked through the debt snowball with our debt snowball playlist where I added videos showing our progress working through the debt snowball.

After one year of the debt snowball, I had made some progress and paid off several of the smaller loans.

We made a lot of progress paying off debt in 2019.

In the next year of paying off debt I kept changing the end date goal for my debt payoff.

I did this because I also did saved up an emergency fund, bought a car in cash, and maxed out my Roth IRA.

However, even with those other financial goals I worked on I was still able to finish paying off my debt on the very last day of 2021.

As a result, it took me just over 2 years to pay off the $43,000 debt snowball that I wrote out when I started.

My Previous Debt Payoff Experience

The debt snowball method worked well for me both in this experience and when I paid off $22,000 in student loans and $5,000 in credit card debt in my early 20s.

In 2010 I paid off $5,000 in credit card debt. In 2013 I finished paying off $22,000 in student loan debt that was in my own name.

That first expecience was a harder debt payoff experience in many ways because I spent most of those year not earning much money. I spent those years living very frugally so that I could pay off the debt quickly.

Is paying off debt worth it?

Both times I paid off debt towards the end was less about the actual debt or the interest rate and more about achieving the feeling of being debt free.

I wanted to be rid of the burden of debt.

I wanted to be done rather than stretch the loans out to the full term years from now.

This was a personal choice because debt bothers me. It lingers in my mind and overshadows my happiness. Many other people don’t feel this way and debt is just a tool they use for leverage. Whether or not paying off debt is worth it will depend on what type of person you are.

For me, paying off debt was worth it. It took a while to finally feel debt free and realize I didn’t have to make those big payments, but once I did the feeling was unmatched.

im debt free text with an image of my debt snowball printable

How do you stay motivated paying off debt?

Debt payoff motivation is something I’ve worked on consistently for multiple years of my life.

Why? Because paying off debt is not fun!

No one really wants to pay off debt. Digging yourself out of a debt hole using big chunks of your income can be very depressing and demotivating especially if you have a lot of debt to pay back.

Paying off debt can be a long and hard journey. This video shares a few ways I stay motivated during our debt free journey.

Here are a few of the ways I stayed motivated:

  • gave myself a plan
  • used visual trackers
  • celebrated my small wins
  • celebrated debt payoff milestones
  • found accountability with my debt free community online

There are many different ways to find motivation and stay motivated while paying off debt!

How does it feel to be debt free?

At the end of my debt payoff journey the last big payments toward debt represented a lot of hard work and sacrifice as well as a new beginning.

My student loans are gone! Now I don’t owe anyone anything. First I paid off my credit card debt and now I paid off my student loan debt.

I am completely debt free as of this moment. 

This is a huge step in my financial life as becoming debt free has been a motivating factor in all my financial decisions thus far.

I have to admit it feels great. It feels amazing! Liberating! It feels like I can do anything!!

Freedom from debt obligations has given me a feeling of lightness and freedom. 

I highly recommend paying off your own debt and achieving debt freedom!

Do you need help paying off debt?

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, these posts should help you!

Mary is the founder of Pennies Not Perfection where she shares her journey to build wealth through online income. She quit her day job in 2021 after she paid off her debt and doubled her 9-5 salary.

Mary's favorite free financial tool is Personal Capital. She uses their free tools to track net worth and work toward to financial freedom.

Her favorite investment platform is M1 Finance, where she built a custom portfolio for free with no fees. She shares her portfolio growth and savings progress every month on YouTube.