I Paid Off $90,000 of Debt in Just Three Years

  • Babysitting I used SitterCity to find jobs. You “work” for two hours, and then the kids go to bed, so you have downtime. I now have several families who use me all of the time—and they pay well.
  • Focus Groups These sessions, where you talk about consumer products, pay anywhere from $100 to $250 for a couple hours. You can research groups that pay on Findfocusgroups.com.
  • Odd Jobs I check the temporary gigs section of Craigslist for everything from back-end data entry to serving drinks at a party. There are also apps for finding quick, easy jobs, like Field Agent and Gigwalk.
  • Mock Jury Jobs They are a ton of fun! I did one so that defense lawyers on a high-profile trial could practice trial strategies. It paid $200 for a day of work. Check Craigslist or google “mock jury” in your area.
  • Mystery Shopping You pretend to be a customer at a hotel, restaurant or entertainment venue, and then report back to the company on your experience. (To try it for yourself, check out the Mystery Shopper Providers Association.) You don’t earn money—the company pays for the meal or hotel stay—but this enabled me to still have nights out with friends and my boyfriend.

During this process, people at my company noticed what a hard worker I was, and I got five promotions, increasing my salary by $20,000.

With my cost cutting and extra income, I was able to reach my goal of putting $2,000 extra toward my debt each month. After paying the minimum on my student loans, I put all of my extra money toward my credit card, paying it off in about five months. Next I focused on paying off the private loan with the 9% interest rate. I ultimately worked my way through all of my loans in this manner.

Embracing My New, No-Debt Lifestyle

Before I decided to tackle my debt, it wasn’t something that I ever discussed with anyone. Now co-workers, bosses, friends, people I sort of know and even my boyfriend’s mother ask: “How are you doing with your debt?”

It keeps me accountable.

Sure, I have to make sacrifices. Since I normally work an extra 15 to 20 hours per week in addition to my day job, I sometimes have to say no to making Friday night plans with friends. But I know that this financial burden will soon be lifted, and I can always hang out the next night that I’m not working.

And having Rob right there with me has made all the difference. Whenever I got a debt-paid-in-full letter, I’d put it on the fridge like an A+ paper, and we’d get a bottle of wine to celebrate.

I’m proud to report that I’m down to just $4,000 on my last loan. By February, with help from my tax refund and some of my bonus, it will be paid off—and I won’t owe anyone a dollar.

Rob and I have talked about it for over a year, and I think we’re even ready to buy a house! He stayed true to to his word and saved $75,000 for a down payment, and once I finish paying my last loan, I’ll have extra money to put toward a mortgage.

Paying down my debt has changed the way that I see my money. As we start looking for a house, I now know there’s a difference between what you can afford–and what you can comfortably afford.

I’ll take the latter.

Interested in reading other people’s financial tales? Check out more LearnVest-exclusive personal stories.


LearnVest Planning Services is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary of LearnVest, Inc. that provides financial plans for its clients. Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal or tax planning advice. Please consult a financial adviser, attorney or tax specialist for advice specific to your financial situation. The individuals interviewed in this piece are neither clients, employees nor affiliates of LearnVest Planning Services. LearnVest Planning Services and any third-parties listed, discussed, identified or otherwise appearing herein are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s products, services or policies.

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  • annonymous

    Greetings to the world, i am Doctor Oko the greatest spell caster that ever liveth i am from Africa, i am the genuine spell caster and prophet of wind and fire that you all have been seeing on the tv screen and reading about on the magazine, i am here directly here for you online today. i know i am not strange to you cause by now i know you must have heard good news about me but incase you have not heard about me, I am Dr Oko i am here to put smile on people faces i have the power and the medicine to solve that problems that is affecting you negatively.NOTE, i have the solution and cure to the following problem.

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  • Henry Westwood

    please i want you all to read this testimony as the man was brought to the world to save people from frustrations from lost loves lost jobs i wanna post on this forum because i know there are many of you out there who are in the same problem i was i am Mabel writhe and i am from Canada cold lake in Alberta and i and my husband were married for fifteen years with three children our lives were flourishing my husband had a good job and i was a sales representative in his company then on the 10th of October 2012 my home started to crumble everything was going upside down and my husband left me and my children for a little girl and when i heard of it i was so devastated and when i go to his office to see him he told his boss he doesn’t want to see me no more and in the process i lost my job i and my children we were suffering and i was looking for solutions were ever it was to no avail i contacted so many spell casters who could not do anything and i decided to give up until i met a friend on 1st of may and he told me of a powerful spell caster who she met in Africa when she went to execute a project in Africa and she gave me his mail address as{agumaguspelltemple@gmail.com}, and i contacted him on 2nd of may 2013 and he told me many things i didn’t know before he let me into many secrets and he cast the spell and told me that on 4th of may my husband was going to come back to me i didn’t believe him i had my doubt, and as he promised my husband came begging me on the 4th of may 2013 and i contacted him and told him all that he said came true and he said i was going to get my job back and also get promoted and on the 6th of may i got my job back, i was promoted and i was compensated for the days i was relieved of my work i want to thank the greatest spell caster in the world Dr agumagu he told me he can bring back lost love, lost jobs,promotion lotto win,and many more if we have two men like him today the world will be a good place once again thank you sir, here his is mail if you want to contact him as he will answer you asap.{agumaguspelltemple@gmail.com},hope he help you out too.

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  • Frank Marian Frank Marian

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  • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004703026255 Anderson Ann

    I am Mrs ANDERSON ANN from USA, i want to share a testimony of my life
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    My mouth is full of testimonies, Am miss sarah mark my husband left the home for two years to south Africa for a tourist, where he meant this prostitute and he was bewitch by the girl my husband refuse to come back home again, i cry day and night looking for who to help me, i read a news paper about a powerful spell caster called priest Grace and i contacted the spell caster to help me get my lover back to me and he ask me not to worry about it that the gods we fight for me.. he told me by mid-night when all the spirit is at rest he will cast a spell to reunite my lover back to me. and he did in less than 2 days my husband came back to me and started crying that i should for forgive him, i,m so happy for what this spell caster did for me and my husband.. Priest Grace of Gracerelationshipspell@gmail.com

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  • russell Abruzzy

    name is russell i will like us to share tips on how to identify a
    spell caster cos alot of people have fallen victim of scam as i
    have come
    across lots of comments lately (i was a victim too) and from
    experience and
    what i know i decide to open this thread, only fake spell casters
    ask for
    the followings:
    COURIER CHARGES: no matter where you are in the world, no
    matter the
    distance and continent a real spell caster will cast a spell
    without you seeing it or the spell caster getting it to you to use it
    long as he has the names or pix..the spell will work itself..
    STRAIGHT: no excuses for failure, if money was needed in the
    first place
    for courier he should have say so, so one can know how
    prepared he is..i
    did rather pay $2000 at once to get my result rather than paying
    $200 for
    excuses to get more money..its not bad paying for items but the
    end result
    might be an excuse
    THREAT: if you get fed up of sending money after money, they
    begin to
    threaten one with death and madness..
    NIGERIA; about 80% of them are nigerians not saying they dont
    have real
    spell casters cos they are spiritually gifted in africa but the
    impersonation is too much, the fake are more than the real..
    i fell a victim of scam twice to a certain dr wodu and dr isaka
    they but
    ripped me to shred before i realised almost $3700 was gone until
    i came
    across dr igodo who told me how to know a fake spell caster, he
    helped me
    get my ex back without failure or excuse in 5 days..we are back
    and happy
    now for about a month..his e-mail is
    lets beware of scammers and share experience, suggestion and

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  • Daniela

    My name is Daniela i am not suppose to be saying this but due to the ultimate role that nogemaspelltemple@gmail.com has played in my relationship with Philip my husband, me and Philip had been married for five year now, we were very happy together as husband and wife, but until he meant a lady called mercy, things automatically turn from good to bad, he no longer eat at home, he always come home late, he don’t even listen to me and does not even take me out as it was some time ago. i was so confuse and frustrated until i meant this lady called Kessiah that once had similar problem, i was force to tell her every of my problem, out of pity she told me about this dr nogema that helped her out, at first i thought it was one of those fraudsters until i met him and he solved my problem without stress, so my husband came back to me and things was as it was before. so i decided to testify to this for the sake of those people that has similar problem, so you can contact him (nogemaspelltemple@gmail.com)