How I Paid Off $35,000 of Debt Over Lunch

Alden Wicker
Posted

We usually talked ourselves out of anything unnecessary, but we also always allowed for an occasional treat to keep ourselves sane.

For me, it was going out to brunch. One girl needed new clothes because she was going through a hard time in her relationship and didn’t feel good about herself. She spent about $200, and we figured out how she could pay that off within two months.

Another girl liked to bake, so her treat was ingredients for a decadent chocolate pecan pie. And she actually turned her treat into a side business, selling holiday pies at our office Christmas fair and farmers’ markets for extra cash.

The Invaluable Lessons I Learned

It was a really long slog. There were a few nights—okay, a lot of nights—when I ate bread and butter. But that’s what I needed to do to get out of debt.

We started a calendar system, which was crucial for me because after I paid rent, utilities and credit card minimums, I was left with $45 to play with each week. I would subtract future expenses I knew were coming up from each week, which let me know in advance when I didn’t have anything extra to spend.

I also started what I call “secret squirrel saving,” which I continue to do to this day. Any cash pulled out of the ATM that isn’t immediately spent goes into a hiding place in my house. If I buy $16 in snacks, and break a $20 to do so, $4 goes right into the pot. Money from our yard sale? Yep, that gets squirreled.

To avoid temptation, I never count it until I need to use some or deposit it into the bank. Thanks to my secret squirrel savings, I will be able to splurge on a few fancy meals during an upcoming vacation.

Erin and her husband are now saving up for a home in San Francisco.

Where I Am Today

Budgeting is a constant process of revision and tweaking, but thanks to those Money Lunches years ago, I learned to keep my eye on the prize.

I am now 30 years old, happily married and living in San Francisco—another very pricey town. I left New York City after five years, but I took the habits that I adopted from my Money Lunch days with me.

In 2011, I paid off my last credit card. I’ve also paid off almost $20,000 in student loan debt, with only $8,200 to go, which is consolidated at a very low interest rate.

My husband and I now pay our credit cards off every month. And with the first $8,000 we saved, I paid back the loan from my mother, which also lifted a huge emotional burden for me.

As for my fellow Money Lunch girls, when we met up a year after I moved to San Francisco (for lunch, of course!), we realized that two of us had paid off all our debt, save for student loans—and the third girl was just about there.

These days, I talk about budgeting and money management with a new friend via instant messenger–she’s my online money buddy. This summer, I even helped her to create a three-step plan for purchasing a piece of artwork. It’s Money Lunch 2.0!

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

  • James Leo

    Am Robert jess i obtained a loan at mark moel loan house on 20th June
    2015 so i heard people talking about the company they are scams from
    Nigeria not at all it’s not all Nigerians are bad there are some good
    once Mark Moel company saves life never to break down agreements so stop
    talking about them or trying to damage there images please the are real
    and legit..

  • spencer mellian

    Hello,i am Mira Steve, a private
    loan lender who
    gives life time opportunity loans.
    Do you need an urgent loan to clear your
    debts or you need a capital loan to improve
    your business?
    have you been rejected by
    banks and other financial agencies? Do you
    need a consolidation loan or a mortgage?
    search no more as we are here to make all
    your financial problems a thing of the past.
    We loan funds out to individuals
    in need of financial assistance, that have a
    bad credit or in need of money
    to pay bills,to invest on business at a
    rate of 3%.I want to use this medium to
    inform you
    that we render reliable and beneficiary
    assistance and will be willing to offer you a
    loan.So email us today on :miraloan1@gmail.com

  • Anderson Karl

    Am Anderson Karl by name, I live in Arlington, United State Of America, NOVEMBER last year,am grateful to God so much that He has finally put smile on me by connecting me to this lender who put a smile on my face. This lender whose name is Mr Morison Webb gave me a Business loan which amount is $250,000USD last week,after my agreement to their company terms and conditions and one significant thing i love about this loan company is its fast service and also its God fearing attitude for not been like others. I give glory to God that my storm is over now,and am now that busy man that i used to be and also my business is now growing here in my country because i now have much capital to do my business properly before the year runs out without having to go and meet my bank for any assistant .Thank you Mr Michael David for this dream come through and i promise to try all my best to refer your loan company to others this year as you have also lend me a loan to start up my own business this year 2016,i will also refer customers to your company who are also in need of loan.. thanks so much over and over again and may God guide you all . here is their email to contact them if you need loan too..morisonloanfirm@outlook.com because he is the most understanding and kind hearten lender.

  • Khaled Ahmed

    Good evening, I hope that your presence help I am an Egyptian national working in Saudi Arabia hotel receptionist salary of 2500 riyals you search for a loan of 10,000 thousand dollars Can you help me

  • Larry Masson

    Reach your goals in life easy, fast, and safe with our Loan Service. Do you need a loan for your bill, business or for any other purpose at a very low interest rate of just 2%? if yes then contact us with your name, phone number, loan amount needed to email: larrymassonhelps003@gmail.com

  • Sang Wai

    Hello Dear Sir/Madam.

    I am Sang Wai, a private money lender. I give out loans with an interest rate of 3% per annual and within the amount of $1000.00 to $500,000,000.00 as the loan offer. 100% Project Funding with secured and unsecured loans are available. We are guaranteed in giving out financial services to our numerous clients all over the world. With our flexible lending packages, loans can be processed and funds transferred to the borrower within the shortest time possible. We operate under clear and understandable terms and we offer loans of all kinds to interested clients, firms, companies, and all kinds of business organizations, private individuals and real estate investors. Just complete the form below and get back to us as we expect your swift and immediate response. EMAIL:(sangwai12123@gmail.com)

    Attention!!!

    Do you have a bad credit?
    Do you need money to pay bills?
    Do you need to start up a new business?
    Do you have unfinished project at hand due to bad financing?
    Do you need money to invest in some area of specialization which will
    profit you? and you don’t know what to do.

    We offer the following loans below,
    personal loans[secure and unsecured]
    business loans[secure and unsecured]
    combination loans
    students loans
    consolidation loans and so many others.

    1. Full Names:……………………….
    2. Contact Address:…………………..
    3. Loan Amount Needed:………………..
    4. Duration of the Loan……………….
    5. Direct Telephone Number:……………..
    6. Monthly Income:……………..

    Email (sangwai12123@gmail.com)
    Best Regards,

    Mr Sang Wai

  • Sharon Coolidge

    I live in USA Florida and i am a happy woman today? I told my self that any Loan lender that could change my Life and that of my family, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to Them. If you are in need of loan and you are 100% sure to pay back the loan please contact them and please tell them that Mr Alfred Kessinger, Lynn referred you to them. am.invest@hotmail.com

  • Frankly James

    Good day.

    I can’t hide this great testimony that take place in my life I will love everyone to know it and be partaker that is why I always place it on answer, I am Mr. Frankly by name, I live in Texas, United State Of America, I want to thank (Mr. Dan Hunt) for his kindness upon my family life.

    I never knew that there is still nice lender like this on internet and earth here. Just some Months Back, I was in search for a loan of $100,000,00 as I was running out of money for feeding and rent. I was scammed $6,800 Dollars and I decided not to involve my self in such business again but a Friend of my introduced me to a loan firm due to my appearance and doings.

    And I told him that I am not interested of any loan deal anymore but he told me that there is still a nice lender who he will recommend me to, and I made a trial and I am most grateful lucky am I today, I was given a loan amount of $600,000.00 USD, by this great Company ( Dan Loan Finances Company) managed by (Mr.Dan Hunt) If you are in need of a genuine or legit loan or financial assistance and you can be reliable and trusted of capable of paying back at the due time of the funds I will advice you to, contact him via: ( danloanfinances@yahoo.com ) And you will be free from scams in the internet.

    All thanks to Mr.Dan Hunt God Bless You,
    You are the one who remove me and my family out of poverty. The reason why i am doing this is that, i promise Mr. Dan that if i truly got my loan, i will advertize his company and bring customers to his company. Contact him via ( danloanfinances@yahoo.com )for the Loan you have been looking for..

  • SARAH JONES BENSON

    Dear Applicant, We give loan to private company and individuals. You can find some vital information about the loan we offer below. In getting a loan from our company, there are some information we need to pass across to you before we can proceed to the application process . INTEREST RATE: In the loan we offer, we do charge 3% Interest rate . AMOUNT GIVEN: We Give Out A Minimum Amount Of $1,000.00 to A Maximum of $100,000,000.00 INFORMATION NEEDED: As for the information needed, you will need to fill an application which contains your personal information and also the loan information, this will help us give you a full documentation of the loan terms and agreement contract which you will be expected to sign and send back to the company for approval if satisfied. Email Us: (bensonloanfirm@yahoo.com)

  • SARAH JONES BENSON

    DO YOU NEED A LOAN ?
    WE ARE PROVIDING LOANS LIKE HOME LOANS,MORTGAGE LOANS, PERSONAL LOANS AND WE ARE PROVIDING LOANS FOR CONSTRUCTION OF HOSPITALS AND BUSINESS EXPANSION.AND WE GIVE THE DOOR SERVICE FOR EVERY ONE .contact us on (bensonloanfirm@yahoo.com) Apply now

  • SARAH JONES BENSON

    Hello Everyone, At every point in your life, you’ll need money for one thing or the other: starting or expanding your business, paying bills, settling debts, fixing your damaged vehicle, paying your rent, and so on. Unless you’re a multi-millionaire, you’ll always have one or more expenses waiting to consume every penny you earn. The reality is that there are times when you just won’t have the money when you need it so badly. In such instances, you have a number of options: ask your friends and family for assistance, sell some of your assets at giveaway prices, or take a loan. If you’re like most people, you would definitely prefer taking a loan. Here Benson Loan Firm(bensonloanfirm@yahoo.com) comes in, Secure a Loan from us today and start up with something rewarding. Our transaction is 100% guaranteed as we also ensure a cordial relationship with our clients. We offer Loans with no credit Checks, No collateral, Easy steps, fast funding and a low interest rate of 3%. Why remain in a financial breakdown? Contact us today via email: bensonloanfirm@yahoo.com

  • Kate Wilson

    Hello Every One, I am mrs Kate Wilson From Alaska U.S.A, I quickly want to use this medium to share a testimony on how God directed me to a Legit and real loan lender who have transformed my life from grass to grace, from being poor to a rich woman who can now boast of a healthy and wealthy life without stress or financial difficulties. After so many months of trying to get a loan on the internet and was scammed the sum of $4,600 i became so
    desperate in getting a loan from a legit loan lender online who will not add to my pains, then i decided to contact a friend of mine who recently got a loan online, we discussed about the issue and to our conclusion she told me about a man called Mrs Ann Perry who is the C.E.O of Ann Perry Loans So i applied for a loan sum of (60,000.00USD) with low interest rate of 2%, so the loan was approved easily without stress and all the
    preparations where made concerning the loan transfer and in less than two(2) days the loan was deposited into my bank so i want to advice any one i need of a loan to quickly contact him via: ( annperryloanfirm@hotmail.com) he does not know am doing this i pray that God will bless him for the good thing he has done in my life.