3 Recovered Debtors Confess: How I Dug Out of Debt—and Stayed That Way


Debt freeThese days taking on debt has practically become a rite of passage.

After all, building credit early can be one of the keys to financial success—or so we tell ourselves when we eagerly sign up for new credit cards and then start swiping with abandon.

So it’s no surprise that the average American household has racked up over $7,000 of credit card debt.

Add in car payments, student loans, mortgages and other loans, and you’ve got a recipe for debt disaster—the very predicament that the three people we’ll introduce you to found themselves in years ago.

But instead of throwing their hands in the air, they came up with practical measures to help dig themselves out of debt—and stayed the course to prevent poor financial habits from creeping back into their lives.

In fact, their plans were so effective that they’ve all managed to operate in the black for 5, 10, even 20 years. Ready to learn their debt-free tips?

RELATED: How to Make a Financial Comeback: 3 Real-Life Tales of Resilience

  • Katie Joy

    I love this article! Thanks to all 3 for the inspiration. My husband and I are trying to change our habits – especially as we get ready for baby! :)

  • Genia

    I liked the article but I would like to see from Learnvest someone dig themselves out of debt not making more than 35000 a year. As inspiring as some of their stories are, I just can’t fathom making 50000 a year a being in so much debt. These stories really didn’t get too much into what all expenses these people had and not all included income.

    • lorrizanne

      I absolutely agree!

    • meekyn

      I can see how easy it would be to get into debt with more money, but I agree with you – I’d like to see some stories from someone with a lower income. We’ve slashed everything we can think of – no cable, sold my car so we only have my husband’s 7-year-old one now (and we’ve agreed to nix the plan to get a new one next year), used a credit counseling service to pay off our credit cards (2 months to go!!), changed car/homeowners insurance, got the best cell plan we can for as little as possible, etc. I’ve had a budget for 10 years or so and created one for my hubbie while we were still dating to get him out of the hole, and we try really hard to be realistic about the non-fixed expenses to guard against any “oh no” moments. We are slowly climbing out and in the next few months we’ll be able to breathe a little easier and put some money in savings for the first time in years. I don’t know what else I can do to lower our expenses, so the only choice is to make some extra income. I’m very interested in the non-traditional side jobs that people do – although I’d also like to know about some traditional ones, like legitimate data entry jobs – but since we both work full time and are in school full time, I can’t take advantage of any of those things until I’m done with my degree next July. We live close to DC, so housing is our biggest expense; we plan to move South in the next five years, which will help a lot (we can get the same size house and lot, only newer, for about $100k less than in this area) and there are some tax benefits as well. I would really like to have some advice from someone making $30-40k per year with no options for teaching tennis or taking a part-time side job as an IT guru!

  • lorrizanne

    I would have liked to see people with more debt. My husband and I are dealing with his $90K in private school loans (80% are private, 20% federal loans) and I’m trying to get myself out of credit card debt. Good tips overall, though