How to Pay Off Debt Fast with a Low Income

Don’t miss this in-depth article that shows exactly how to pay off debt fast even with a low income, from a frugal mom who has done it. You can be debt free too!

I f you’re deep in debt and living on a low income, you might be tentatively hopeful to find an article about How to Pay Off Debt Fast with a Low Income, but deep down you’re probably thinking it seems too good to be true.

Maybe it’s possible for other people, but not for you.

Well, that is exactly what I said while reading another family’s debt free story several years ago. The idea of living debt free was intriguing, but there was no way we could do it!

I’m so happy to tell you I was wrong! Though we were living on a low income with two small children at home, not only did we pay off our $22,000 of student loan debt, but we did it in less than 9 months!

In this post, I’ll share in detail the steps you need to take right now to get out of debt fast including how to:

  • get out of debt even if you don’t think it’s possible
  • make a better budget
  • save money even when you’re already living frugally
  • find ways to earn extra money to throw at your debt
  • be inspired by real-life examples of families who are paying off their debt fast, even on a low income.

Since sharing our debt free story, I have gotten some pretty discouraged comments from those who read our story. I so totally feel for these individuals because I too was in their place not so long ago: deep in debt, low on funds, and not believing I could do anything to change my situation.

I so totally feel for these individuals because I too was in their place not so long ago: deep in debt, low on funds, and not believing I could do anything to change my situation.

Sarah’s comment captures it perfectly.

“I see people say they can do this…but typically it’s only if you have something large you can sell, like your car or a house. Not for normal people.

Or this reader that said,

“So you are saying let’s say $1,857.24 a month income, I should be able to get out of debt. I’m still not convinced. Please enlighten me”

So here I am, to convince you that not only can you get out of debt fast on a low income, but also that you must.

My question isn’t whether you can get out of debt, but how can you not?

Here’s why…

Why You Need to Get Out of Debt on a Low Income

If you’re like we were, and living on a tight budget, you’re probably wondering how you can possibly start moving toward your goal of financial freedom.

Before we started this journey, we didn’t have any extra and were barely making ends meet at best. The worst part of it was, we didn’t even have a good enough grasp on our finances to know how tight things weire!

When my husband and I finally wiped all the mud off the windshield of our budget and took an honest look at our financial situation, we were both a little shocked.

We had dreamed of a comfortable middle class life where I stayed home with our kids and he went to work. We might travel a little to see family and show our kids the world. Nothing extravagant.

It doesn’t seem too much to ask does it?

Needless to say, what we envisioned didn’t look anything like our reality, yet, that’s where we were when our eyes were opened to our true financial situation.

A Tale of Two Financial Futures

In that moment, there were two paths laid out before us.

Now, we could have stayed and raised our two kids in our rented single-wide from 1960-something. And you know what, it would have been a blessed life. (Though I’m not sure we would have ever learned as much contentment had we not gone through this crazy journey to debt free.)

We could have accepted our extremely tight budget for what it was, an endless struggle just to live within our means, and eventually going further in debt to cover emergency expenses.

We might have thrown our hands up and said getting out of debt was going to take a decade at least. (Ok, I may have done that at first.)

But it would have meant turning our back on that other path. The one that held all our biggest dreams for our family. The one where we could do more than just subsist.

That second path was the one where we build a small house that meets our needs; where we move to live closer to our family; where we travel with our kids and show them the world. The one where we can feel not-totally-crazy for adding more kids to our family.

What big dreams for your family are passing you by because of being in debt?
What big dreams for your family are passing you by because of being in debt? Image Credit

You Have a Choice

As we’ve been on this journey, I have come to believe to my core that being debt free is crucial for every family in order to have a positive financial future.

So in answer to the dubious commenters above, yes, even more than I’m saying that anyone can pay off debt on any income, I’m saying that you have to find a way.

If you don’t, what does your financial future look like? More debt? Constant financial stress? Strained family relationships?

Because the real problem here isn’t how much you owe or how low your income us. The real problem is the big dreams you’re giving up every minute you stay in the vicious cycle of debt.

How to Pay Off Debt Fast with a Low Income

So now that we know you need to get out of debt as fast as possible, how do you do it?

In what follows, you’ll learn how to get out of debt with no money to start with (even if you don’t think it’s possible), make a budget you can actually stick to, save money even when you’re already living frugally, and find ways to earn extra money on the side even when you’re busy, sick, tired, and don’t have a car.

You’ll also be inspired by more debt free stories of real families who are paying off their debt fast, even on a low income.

But before any of that, what you really need to get started is a total paradigm shift…

1. Do a Financial Reality Check

Let’s take a quick look at what low income really means. According to a US Census report a low income household was defined as twice the federal poverty line.

When my family of four began our journey to debt free in 2013, the low income threshold was $47,248, though we made a good bit less than that at the time. (sources: Population Reference Bureau , Working Poor Families Project)

Here are a few more stats to satisfy my love for data and your curiosity about what the definition of low income is. (The stats below assume a two-parent household. Source: US Census Bureau)

Low Income Definitions as of 2018 –

  • 3 person family – $40,424
  • 4 person family – $50,930
  • 5 person family – $59,934
  • 6 person family – $67,106
  • 7 person family – $75,162
  • 8 person family – $82,634
  • 9+ person family – $100,982

Surprised? If you’re like I was when I first started researching the topic of family finance, you might be surprised that you do indeed fall into the category of low income.

You might even have a masters degree and a professional career and still not be making enough to quite stick your head out into the light of the fabled middle class of America.

Before we started down this path, we did not identify ourselves as low income, and our ideas about the life we ‘deserved’ reflected it. Our expectations for life weren’t matching up with the realities of our budget.

This post contains a few affiliate links to books and resources I found helpful in paying off debt fast. 

Don't stay stuck in debt, clear the mud off the windshield of your finances and get moving! This is the first key to getting out of debt.
Don’t stay stuck in debt, clear the mud off the windshield of your finances and get moving in the right direction! Image Source

Is It Time for a Reality Check?

The first step to getting out of debt is to get real about your financial situation.

If you’re living in debt and on a low income, you’re in a very precarious financial situation. If you don’t do something now to change it, isn’t going to change!

Please don’t miss my point here because this, rather than even the most extreme money saving measure, was the key to us getting out of debt fast.

Once we looked around at our true financial reality, we finally let go of our 2-year long pity party and started seeing our debt as a challenge that we could, and should, tackle.

That’s when we started making real progress.

We stopped asking “why is this so hard?” and started asking “how can we meet the challenge before us?”

We finally let go of the entitled belief that anyone who earned a college degree could get married, buy a house, have 2 kids, and otherwise afford a comfortable middle class lifestyle. Unfortunately, that isn’t reality as long as you are paying hundreds in debt every month.

It might be time for you to have a bit of a reality check, too. Do you like what you see when you look honestly at your current financial situation? Is this the life you dreamed of living?

If it feels like it’s been so hard just to make ends meet, that’s because it is, and it’s time to make a change.

Important Resource for your Financial Reality Check:

2. Make a Specific Written Goal

I have already written a ton about how to get on a budget and actually stick to it, so I’ll give you the basics.

First, embrace the Debt Snowball Method and find your debt payoff date with a debt snowball calculator.

Post it on the refrigerator for all to see. Tell everyone you know you’re going to get out of debt.

Having a specific goal, with all the steps in your debt snowball listed and a date that you’re going to reach it by, plus the accountability of all your friends and family cheering you on, can be very motivating!

Important Related Reads for Making Your Get Out of Debt Plan:

Want to know how to get out of debt fast? It's time to sit down at your computer with your bank statements and do a financial reality check. How much do you really owe? What are you spending? And then make a plan to pay it off as quickly as possible.

3. Learn to Budget the Right Way

Next, you need to create a new and improved budget.

Prior to beginning our debt free journey, we had been trying to stay on a budget for years, but it never worked. Though we lived frugally, all the pennies we pinched went right back out again.

Once we learned about and implemented a Zero-Sum Budget, including sinking funds, everything changed. We finally succeeded in sticking to a budget every month!

These were such subtle changes to what we were already doing, but they each had dramatic results.

You can find everything you need to know to do it yourself in the links below.

More Resources To Make Your Budget:

Time for a reality check. Find out how much you’re spending, how much you owe. Then make your debt snowball plan and start rolling!

4. Save Money, Even on a Low Income

By now, most of the people who started reading this post have already run in the opposite direction, because this is where it starts to get tough. 

I wouldn’t be doing you any favors if I told you this was going to be easy. This is where it’s good to remind yourself of why you want to get out of debt.

If you’re serious about getting out of debt, you’re going to have to squeeze ever-lovin’ cent out of your no-money budget and pray you can reach your goal before you go totally crazy. (Or in my case, before I completely drove my husband crazy!)

We did absolutely everything we could to save money, even to the point that I’m sure people around us started to think we indeed had gone little crazy.

To pay off debt, you'll have to squeeze every last drop out of your no-money budget, and then squeeze some more. Here's how.
Squeeze every last drop out of your no-money budget, and then squeeze some more. Here’s how. Image Credit

How Low Can You Go?

You’re going to have to get serious about distinguishing your wants from your needs.

You can see from our debt free budget percentage breakdown, we spent almost nothing on clothes, entertainment, or household items while we were getting out of debt (and we still don’t).

While we were working on getting out of debt, I always used to think about that documentary Babies that followed the first year in the life of babies across the world. If those mamas living in a hut in Namibia or Mongolia could live without it, then surely I could too. (Except for using a corn cob instead of baby wipes. I draw the line there!)

To get out of debt fast, get ready to buy nothing. I mean nothin’. 

Be sure to check out the links below for all the crazy ways we found to save money, even on a low income.

We took the quick but painful ‘rip off the band aid’ approach and reminded ourselves that there was a near-future where things wouldn’t be so tight.

Now that we’re on the other side, I can tell you, it was hard, but it was worth it!

Important Resources For Saving Money on a Tight Budget:

If you haven't pulled out that calculator and notebook yet, now is the time to take a close look at your budget if you want to get serious about getting out of debt.

5. When Saving Money Isn’t Enough, Earn Extra Cash

I know what you’re thinking. No matter how much I save, it’s not going to be enough to get me out of debt, let alone fast.

Well, you’re right. There’s no magic in it. You know as well as I do no one is paying off $20-$30,000 in debt in just a few months on an income of $30-40,000 a year.

Everyone is always looking for ways to save money, but saving money isn’t enough.

You may start out with a low income, but if you’re going to get out of debt fast, you’re going to have to hustle and find a way to earn more on the side.

Don’t Let This Stumblingblock Stop You From Paying Off Debt

Let me say it again. If you’re living on a low income, you probably can’t save your way out of debt. Especially if you’re trying to do it fast. This is an important point that is often missed.

At some point there was a limit where we couldn’t save any more. This was a really important realization to make.

The best things in life are free right? Well not quite. What about a day at the beach? Gear for your favorite sport or hobby? Healthy food? Clothes for the kids. Hustle to earn extra cash on the side to pay off debt and improve your long term financial outlook.
The best things in life are free right? Well not quite. Hustle to earn extra cash on the side to pay off debt and improve your long term financial outlook. Image Credit

Money Can’t Buy Happiness, Or Can It?

When I was a naive teen, I remember telling my dad I didn’t care about money. I didn’t want it, didn’t need it. I was way too “deep” for that, and I’ve never liked to shop anyway.

Of course, he wisely corrected me that while I may not care to be rich, everyone does need money. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to see how true this advice is.

While it’s true that I’m perfectly happy going to the thrift store as opposed to the mall, or better yet no store, even simple living costs money.

On our low income we never could have afforded (and in fact we still struggle to afford) the accouterments of simple living.

I want to feed my family healthy, organic fruits and vegetables and grassfed meat and dairy. While I have learned to do so on a budget, these healthy foods still do come at a premium compared to conventional alternatives.

If we want to make building community a goal by sharing meals with friends and family, up goes the grocery budget even more.

If we want to take our children hiking or rocking climbing, there’s all kinds of gear needed for that from harnesses to climbing shoes. And guess what, they’re always outgrowing it!

Even if you always buy used, it still adds up.

And if I want to give to those who are truly in much more need than myself, well, that giving is going to be much more limited if I continue to live on a low income.

It might be something different for you. Maybe you want to see your kids play soccer or take gymnastics, or play the piano. Just see the dollar signs fly!

"Poor is a State of Mind. Broke is I'm just passing through." - Dave Ramsey

Don’t Hold Your Low-Income Label Too Closely

Not only is saving money not enough, but if you’re honest, I think you’ll agree with me that living on a low income long term isn’t any fun.

Despite my naive beginnings, it really does take a decent amount of money to live in this country, and I want you to reach your big dreams. Not just being debt free, although that is absolutely the best first step you can take, but also all that you dream of giving to your family, your community, and the world.

I find many of the most discouraged readers report to me that they can’t get out of debt because they have a low income, as if being broke was the same as being short or tall, male or female. In this wonderful age of the internet, that is simply not the case.

There are limitless legitimate possibilities available for earning more if only you’re willing to let go of the low-income label, work hard, and be creative.

This quote sums it up well.

“Poor is a state of mind. Broke is, ‘I’m just passing through.'” -Dave Ramsey

If you tell me you can’t get out of debt because you have a low income, I’ll tell you you’re probably right.

However, if you tell me you are going to get out of debt, and you’re starting with a low income. Well, then we’re getting somewhere!

It’s time to amp up your too-low income and find a way to earn more cash to throw at your debt!

"Make the Kids Think They're Next!" Throw a yard sale, put stuff on craigslist or ebay, sell anything you can to earn extra cash to put toward your loans.
“Make the Kids Think They’re Next!” Sell anything you can to earn extra cash to put toward your loans. Image Credit

Sell Your Stuff to Pay Off Debt

One great way to earn cash fast is to sell anything remotely of value that isn’t absolutely necessary.

We did not have anything of big value like a house or car to sell to help us get out of debt. But you better believe if we had, I would have sold it!

If you have a second or third car, seriously consider what it would take for you to be a one car family, at least for awhile. If you have many years of a car payment ahead, what would it take to get rid of it and pay cash for a clunker?

Even if you don’t have anything of significant value, small things can still add up fast.

A favorite Dave Ramsey quote one of my readers pointed out to me was to sell so much of your stuff to get cash quick to “make the kids think they’re next”!”

Earn Side Income to Pay Off Debt

After you’ve sold everything possible, except the kids of course, it’s time to start looking at how to earn some extra income aside from your regular paycheck.

Dave Ramsey’s books are filled with stories of people simply getting second jobs delivering pizzas. Of course, that isn’t the only way to earn more money.

In some small way, starting with a low income when trying to get out of debt is a blessing.

When confronted with our debt, so out of proportion from the income we are bringing in, it can drive us to even greater resourcefulness to find ways to save and earn more.

By having the extra challenge of living on a low income in front of us, it motivates us to shoot for the moon.

I love the story of the blue collar worker who just wanted to get out of debt and ended up earning a full-time income simply by writing honestly about his life and struggles. (Hear his story here.)

Thanks to the internet, there are tons of ways to earn an income from home on the side. Try one of these ways to earn extra cash on the side to pay off debt.
Try one of these ways to earn extra cash on the side to pay off debt

How I Earned Extra Income to Pay Off Debt

When we were working to get out of debt I did absolutely everything I could to harness my interests and experience to earn extra income.

As a stay at home mom of a newborn and toddler, I didn’t have a lot of extra time or energy, but I gave up whatever free time and sleep I did have to work on my blog, ebooks, Etsy shop, and a couple of freelance projects anytime the kids were asleep.

When we were about 6 months into our journey, I was blessed with the opportunity to earn enough to finish off our debt completely.

The only problem was, it would mean temporarily giving up my dream of being a stay at home mom, putting my oldest in daycare 3-days a week, and commuting two hours per day.

We carefully weighed the costs as a family and decided to go for it, despite my obvious reservations.

It was undoubtedly the hardest 6 months of my life, but it was also an amazing blessing to be able to wipe out our debt so quickly, and it’s led to many good things for our family both financially and for our overall well-being.

From Downton Abbey to Debt Free

If your life is anything like mine was, finding the time and energy to make extra income is not going to be easy.

As you work your debt free plan, you aren’t going to be binge-watching whole seasons of Downton Abbey, taking up knitting, or rereading the Harry Potter series. Yes, life is pretty much going to be all about getting out of debt, but you can do it!

Stories of real everyday people are so inspiring to me, so I decided to interview 60 real moms about how they make an income from home.

I was amazed by the variety of ways stay at home moms are making legitimate incomes at home! You can read their advice to help you work from home here.)

No matter your education or background or career, you have skills, talents, and passions. These are what make you uniquely able to help someone else fill a need in their life and get paid for it.

You might simply watch a friend’s child while she’s at work, teach piano lessons, or start a blog. You might even be extra supportive of your husband as he gets a second job.

Now’s the time to get creative to look for ways to earn more money on the side to help you get out of debt fast!

Important Resources About Earning Extra Cash:

Climbing your way out of debt won't be easy, but the process is really simple. You can do it! Once you realize that, nothing can stop you! Read these inspiring stories of real people who paid off their debt to get motivated.
Stay motivated with these inspiring stories of real people who paid off their debt. Image Credit

5. Stay Inspired to Help You Pay Off Debt Fast

When you first started reading this post, you might have believed deep down that debt free living is for other people but not for you. This belief, though, was really the only thing that was holding you back from getting out of debt.

But I hope at some point along the way you came to the realization that you can’t stay where you are right now without giving up some of your biggest dreams.

Now you know that in reality (as in the opposite of the denial you may have been living in until now) you have to make a change.

You now have all the tools at your fingertips to learn to make a better budget, get crazy with saving money, and earning more money to throw at your debt.

Important Related Read: How We Paid Off Our Debt Faster with One Simple Tip

Stories of Real People Paying Off Debt with a Low Income

Now I want to leave you with a couple more stories to get you even more convinced that you can pay off your debt fast even if you’re starting out with a low income.

You can read the whole story of how we paid off $22,047 in less than 9 months here. But don’t just take it from me. There are many stories of families paying off debt fast, even when they start out living on a low income.

“I just finished Step One today. It took only 2 months as a single mother making 35,000 a year. I’d been trying to budget for years. It never clicked until I got on a cash budget.” –Brittney M., Affording Motherhood reader

Fellow blogger, Stephanie and her family are tackling $143,963 of student loan debt. In fact in 2013 they paid off $36,000 in one year on one low income!

Misty, another Affording Motherhood reader, says this about paying off debt on a low income,

“Being debt free can be done! We are almost there (we have around 4K left) and paid off 32K in less than 2 years WITH unemployment. The key is wanting to do it, and then making it happen (just like Shannon said). I think the discouragement comes from people not realizing it takes only one step. Just one to make a difference. It seems so out of reach, but in reality it’s not. I really think it is a matter of a few small changes adding up over time.”

Inspiring Debt Free Stories:

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shannon Clark, LIFE & FINANCIAL Coach

As a mom, I know what it's like to feel exhausted, overwhelmed by life, and inadequate to meet my children's needs. But I also know you don't have to stay there.

As an author and coach, I've had the joy of encouraging more than 9.1 million moms to find forward motion with their faith, family, and finances — without the frenzy.

Will you be next?

91 thoughts on “How to Pay Off Debt Fast with a Low Income”

  1. I love this! Sharing with my husband. We are so close to paying off one of our cars. Our tax return will leave us with around $1000 left on it, which we should be able to knock out super fast. Then we have $20,000 on my husband’s work truck. We have been a one car family several times now, but I just can’t do it. I use the car as little as possible to save on gas though. My goal is to have the truck paid off within 2 years of getting the car paid off! Step one will be snowballing the car payments onto the truck.

    • I found that WEEKLY automatic payments to my credit card works for me
      (it’s also great for my credit score). Instead of coming up with a big
      chunk of money once a month, I pay a little each week. I get paid
      every Friday, and pay my card every Monday (never using it for
      anything). If there are 5 Mondays in the month, then I pay a little
      more that month than if I made 1 monthly payment. It equals to one
      extra “monthly” payment in that year.
      $100/wk. X 52 weeks = $5200
      $400/mo. X 12 months = $4800 ($400 difference)
      I also put some into savings each week (direct deposit at work). Even
      if you start small ($10/wk.), you would have $520 in a year. In my
      book, that’s a big help for Christmas presents, and you might not even
      feel it.
      Another “savings” that my husband and I do is keeping a jar that we
      add to each week. Every week for 1 year, you add $1 more than the week
      Week 1 $1
      Week 2 $2…
      Week 52 $52

      • Thanks for the great tips! It’s fun to hear what works for different families. I especially love the idea of saving even a tiny amount each week. It doesn’t seem like much but it does add up fast to help you get closer to your goal.

      • I love the paying $100 a week as opposed to $400 a month!! We aren’t low income by any means but we have A LOT of expenses that aren’t debt (pre school, insurance, tv, electric, gas) and now we have a lot of credit card debt… again. This was a great idea! Thank you

      • I have to be careful with a certain credit card. I made a payment before I every received the bill…they automatically treated it like an additional payment & then hit us with a late fee because we didn’t make our regular payment. I did call them/got the late fee dropped; but thought it was pretty shady. I now have to make sure I don’t pay that payment too soon.

    • Back in April my husband and I went through this repair company that was highly recommended to us .My score was a low 500 and now it in the mid 600, I did all my research on the company before I forked out a penny and now I am seeing the results two months later.if you’re tired of bad credit check them out.Good luck and God bless.I know how frustrating this could be when you’re trying to purchase a home.

  2. I love the encouragement in this post, Shannon, because debt really is a mindset. A paradigm shift is what is needed to change our situations even more than acquiring more income.

    I liken it to the importance of the condition of the heart when referring to spiritual matters. It is very much like the saying that we don’t always need more money, but we do need to do more with the money we already have. Goals and intentionality go much further than one would first believe.

    I can say from experience that it is amazing what one can do on a low income. Sure, we have to work hard and sacrifice, but like the Dave Ramsey quote you shared, “we’re just passing through”. One day, we will be financially healthier because of the choices we are making today.

    Thanks so much for your encouragement, Shannon. If we can get over the mental stumbling block, we can truly see our financial dreams come to fruition.

    Blessings to you and yours.

    • I agree Heather! I am a numbers girl, and when the numbers don’t add up sometimes my faith fails me. If I hadn’t seen the power of that faith both in the Lord to provide for us and in our ability to accomplish those goals, I probably wouldn’t believe it. It’s amazing what choosing to take the first step and staying focused can do!

      • My income is less than $900/month and my debt is over $3,000. Over 70% of my income goes to rent, and an additional 15% goes to bills (including credit card). Once that’s done, I barely have enough to put (really cheap, unhealthy) food in the fridge/cupboards. I don’t drink or smoke, and I never go out because I don’t have the money. I live on the edge of a razor, financially. A $50 bicycle repair or someone inviting me for a McMeal breaks the bank.

  3. Thank you for such an encouraging post! We have paid off over $120,000 (primarily student loans and medical bills) so far in about 7 years (and most of those years we too would fall into the low income range you posted!), and are currently working on the last few thousand that remain. Sometimes, it’s easy to get discouraged that it is taking so long, but we have to celebrate our successes thus far and keep the final goal in mind. Like you said, the sacrifices made now will certainly be worth it in the future. I found your words very encouraging during this last leg of our debt-free journey!

    • Wow! I have SO much admiration for you sticking with it for 7 years. 9 months was tough, so I can only imagine the dedication it has taken to keep focused on your goal year after year. If you average it out you’ve paid off $17k+ a year on a low income. That is totally amazing!!! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know it will be an encouragement to many others!

    • I have about 100,000 in debt that I need to start working on cancellation immediately. 2 babies: 3 year old and a 20 mth old. I work and so does dad and he also went back to school recently. I don’t know where to start. How did you do it

      • Looking back, I can hardly believe we did it, but we did. The key was really just to get started. Take that first small step no matter how impossible it seems, and you will then be one step closer to your goal.

    • Hello, I work as a PCA/Homemaker. Anyone who does this type of work knows how quickly client turnover can happen. I make between $200-400 a month tops. I have managed to pay off a few small debts, but still have a long way to go. My cellphone recently died on me but I can’t get another until I pay off my current bill, since I am still being charged for a service I can’t use, it is becoming a challenge for me to get caught so I can get another phone. I am finding out just how nearly impossible it is as a PCA to be without one. Clients are calling my agency because they can’t get a hold of me. The only solution I can think of is to temporarily suspend my service so I can get current on my bill and then use the second replacement phone as a trade in for the new one. (Both phones went out on me in the exact same way) No more galaxy 6’s for me. I am adding new clients to increase my paycheck so I can get rid of my debt before I die.

      • Nikki,
        I use a prepaid cell phone, unlimited call and text is $45/month. You can pick up an inexpensive flip phone for $15 to $20.
        If you have any kind of yard, grow a garden to help feed you.
        Start small and as you learn make the garden bigger. There is a lot that can be grown in containers. Learn how to preserve the food that you grow. I have been working on my goal of raising most of my own food. We have one acre of land. I have fruit trees and bushes, veggies, chickens, rabbits and goats.
        Since 2009 our income has been at poverty level but we are almost debt free! I do not have the savings that I would like but we have started to work on that and I believe that this year we might actually make it to low income! :)

      • Whether it being the mode of attack described in the above article or another method, paying off debt on a low income is possible.
        I live on a pension with CPP and OAS……not much more than $36,000 a year gross. I was saddled with $11,000 in credit card debt and now, $12,000 in a line of credit. I gave up seeing NHL games in Ottawa (about 7 a year) and going to London, England. I want to buy another condo in London, Ontario. I became determined to accomplish this goal about 9 months ago. I marked down all expenditures in a notebook and shopped for the cheapest price between Freshco, Independent and Walmart. Slowly I paid off the first credit card ($1,000) in about 5 months and now about half way through my next card ($4,000).
        During this past winter, I only allowed myself one junior game a month (either in Gatineau or Ottawa or Blanville). I should be able to extinguish the second credit card debt by August. I believe I can see Nashville in Ottawa and Montreal next NHL season without harming the extinguishing of the third credit card debt ($6,500).
        I am on a low income, yet have made serious reductions in credit card debt without too much sacrifice.

      • Hi William! Thank you so much for sharing your story of paying off debt on a low income. I know it will be an encouragement to the other readers here. I like the way you are finding small compromises and ways to enjoy life while you’re working on your debt payoff as well. Best wishes to you! :)

  4. I love details, numbers, budgets etc. I’m that type of person. I’ve been very frustrated and given up though due to the fact we’re self-employed, have been hit with the slumped economy since 2008 and have since lived check to check – never knowing when or what amount that check will be. I struggled & cried for so long, coming to peace with the fact that God has always seen us through. I heard George Mueller never had more than 3 days worth of provision, and it was the same for us. It caused me endless stress. I’m now confident in the Lord’s provision. The debt for food & gas over the years that has accumulated weighs heavy though. We’ve always tried to minimize our debt (have always paid cash for vehicles, never more than a 15yr mortgage etc). We really want to eliminate our 1 credit card debt and save for short & long term, and oh, how doing things with my children hit a painful cord. The Lord has taught me (us) so many valuable lessons, but it’s time to kick the monkey off our back as we really believe in being debt free and available to be used by Him more. Now that you have a bit of my story, it’s a no-brainer to me if you know what you’re low income is to start with each month how to do all off this, but what if you never know? What if there is no base low you can count on to start or budget with? We’re a family of 13 bringing in less than your figures for a family of 5. I look at our books and am amazed at the hand of God. It doesn’t make sense on paper. I’m loving your stuff I’ve started to read. Have you (or anyone else) addressed the “never knowing what your low income is” (often less than fixed bills) problem?

  5. Wow, what an inspirational and thorough post! I too am working on becoming debt free and have done some difficult things to try and reduce my debt. We went from about $500k in debt to roughly half that by selling our oversized home and making a strong budget. Thanks for the tips!

    • That’s so true! I especially track grocery expenses really closely, and they go up and up and up every single month. It’s crazy, but it’s reality. The great thing is each one of us is capable of changing our financial situation in both big and small ways that will really make a difference.

  6. Shannon: I enjoy the thoroughness of this post. While our situation is just so drastic because we are disabled, I do KNOW that debt free IS possible, it’s just a matter of time. As with your Grocery Savings class, I most especially like those tips where you suggest saving money. We were already living a life of most of these, but each persons list is different and sharing with each other does sometimes give us just one or two more areas to save in. With such tight budgets and no way to work, those savings are the REAL key. Your ministry to help people get out of debt is always so encouraging. Please know you are a bright light in this world :)

  7. Although encouraging I never see an article for low income SINGLE people who aren’t meeting their bill needs. I have made several cuts including less groceries and no cable. I miss my tv but it was a last sacrifice I had to make to survive. Even discontinuing landline for faxing since I wasn’t doing that much work for fax. I am at a point in my life without health coverage and chronic sciatica that is not allowing me to pick up extra jobs like I did when I worked 3 or 4 jobs at a time. Also unable to sit or stand for long periods which has limited my ability to do other jobs. Any “reasonable” suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  8. This is all fine and dandy when you have someone working with you towards that goal. But try making ends meet with no drivers license, a blown out back, and no income at all. I am in a transition period from medically retiring from the national guard and hopefully getting disability from the VA. Right now, I have no income. I would like to see how I can become debt free that way. What’s your answer to that?

  9. I just got done trying your article on getting debt free but the only problem is that it doesn’t help those who live on disability. I’m a 44 year old woman on SSDI and only receive $900 a month. I currently don’t have a place to live because that doesn’t pay all the bills like the rent and other bills like car insurance and utilities. Right now My bills include car insurance, storage (my whole apartment is in there), cell phone, a credit card and I pay a friend done money to sleep on her couch. After I pay all that I don’t have much money left to save and to live on for the month. Is there any advice that you can give me on being able to save so I can pay off my debts that total out to about $3,000, two of which I owe to my last landlord and the power company. Thank you.

    • I don’t know what part of the country you live but look into section 8 or some other income assistance or reduced rate for housing in your state. It’s hard at 900$ but it can be done. Hard truths get rid of the stuff in storage sell it! Get rid of the storage unit. I know I know when I get a place I’ll need it..when you get a place you will acquire what you need. Government cell phone plan works just the same. I made 9,000 a year had to be hard real decisions to be made. Bless you and may you find the strength to move forward

  10. What do you do if health problems eat up extra cash and prevent you from doing much on the side? We don’t have much debt, about $5,000 left on student loans (half paid off in just two years). We have a 20 month old daughter and my husband makes a pretty good living. But we end up spending over $1,000/month on medical as a minimum. I have been hospitalized 30 times in the last three years. This doesn’t include ER visits where I’m sent home after treatment and not actually admitted (those happen about twice a month). Plus doctors visits, prescriptions, and chemo every 6 weeks. Some things we just can’t cut down on. I finally got on a disability last year, but it doesn’t even cover half of the monthly medical bills.

    • Hello,

      Sorry you are going through so many painful medical issues -I can definetly relate I have several autoimmune disorders that require chemo $15,000 in addition to other medical expenses. I don’t even make enough right now to cover my basic costs because of all the medical expenses. I hate there articles that assume everyone is healthy and can get a second job and get out of debt right now I am just trying to literally live. Without my family’s help I would be homeless or dead. Best of luck to you hope you get better soon, the economy improves and than we can worry about getting out of debt.

  11. Thanks for sharing all of this. I’m 56 years old and the older I get, the more grateful I am that I was raised in a household with limited income by parents who abhorred debt. I wound up learning so much – by assimilation – about aligning values, priorities and spending decisions. Your challenges may be in the present, but the great gifts you can pass on to children are lessons learned from making it through difficult financial times.

  12. This was a very uplifting post for me. I have been living in fear of my overwhelming student loan debt for far too long and it is ruling over my life and future.

  13. yeah i still cant figure it all out. we did dave ramsey. we were doing well, but we still couldnt figure it out. it doesnt help that my husband does not have a steady income every week, one week it could be a good amount, the next it could be HALF that. theres no saying what we are going to make one week to the next. i can barely plan for which bills im going to be ABLE to pay.

    for a budget i have a list of bills in order of due, and then i write 4 columns at the bottom for the dates of each friday of that month, and what bills should be due before the following friday.

    the other problem we have is that there arent jobs here that pay well. they just dont. its tourism (resorts), logging (dying) mining (an hour or more away, dying, and really really bad for your health) and other than that theres nothing besides mimimum wage burger flipping or something. AND we’ve done the math; any job i could get would not pay enough between what we would have to pay in day care and driving. one job i had one year i finally figured out to be making 1$ a day. A DAY. there are kids in 3rd world countries making more than that, so needless to say i quit that job. i do work part time and its pretty good money but its seasonal.

    i also have personal issues (autism/anxiety) and a HUGE life change of a coming unexpected unplanned 3rd baby (which means im working from a state of complete autistic overwhelm every single day. i had worked about 3 days in a row once there, and had a complete breakdown because the house was falling apart and my kids missed me and i was tired and stressed and it just wasnt working. what then? “suck it up” or something?

    all that happens around here is things get worse. we need my husbands income, every single day (he does take saturdays off – though he works them sometimes), and if someone so much as DIES, we’re out 1 or 2 days income, which is critical. this week im really scared because we’ve got bills due and had 1 1/2 day off last week for a funeral out of town. and yes, we believe some things are more important than working. you have to do certain things. but you suffer for them too.

    i think probably most of my problem is the autistic struggles with being organized enough in certain areas to be able to manage it. i just cant wrap my mind around the 0 budget, especially since, as i said, our income fluxuates so much. ive been trying all summer to make one 550$ goal of recovering a crashed hard drive (and getting two free ones in the process because of the recovery process gives you one and the warranty gives you one)… but every time i get half way there, something happens and i have to use my money to pay bills or gas.

    its rediculous. im completely lost and overwhelmed and just cant see any way out.

    • erickajen: How are things going for you now?
      I completely understand about depending on each day’s income… my husband recently had some time off due to weather – while it was nice to have extra time with him & for him to have time to relax – it did create a very tough spot in my budget and I had to completely redo it all & pull money from other things…

  14. I’d like to find out suggestions on how someone can pay off simple debt amounts in the hundreds, when they they are a single parent, make about $900 a month, pay about 375 in rent, 300 in gas monthly to get to the local job, pay utilities which is another $160 monthly, never go out to eat, no going to movies, no car repairs, overwhelming student loan debt, etc.

    • I can only imagine the struggle your’e up against Vivian! You’re absolutely right, there’s only so much you can squeeze out of your budget when you’re living on a low income. That’s why I’m focusing on sharing as many options right now for real legitimate ways to earn an extra income from home. Most of the stories I’m sharing are from moms who are doing this while working other jobs, caring for children, etc. It’s definitely a challenge, but they’re doing it, and I believe you can too! I’ll update this post with new income ideas as I add to the series. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Vivian,you should try and get another single Mom to live in with you or look for a Single Mom that wouldn’t mine you living with her to help share the bills.

  15. wow, that’s funny that you said most people are surprised to learn that they are considered low income. I’m actually surprised to learn that I’m not! It certainly feels like low income… just holding on til the next paycheck to put gas in the car. Definitely going to give some of this stuff a try. Thanks for a great article. :)

  16. You didn’t mention using government benefits. I pushed back against the idea for a long long time. However, free medical care for the kids and a couple of hundred dollars in groceries a month can really expand the wiggle room in the budget, and we’ve all contributed enough in taxes to cover our own. And it is only temporary.

    You also didn’t mention community resources like food banks and clothing giveaways. In my city, there are dozens of laces to get free food every day of the week.

    In some cultures, families move in together to save money for the future. If your parents are rattling around in your big old childhood home, they might welcome your presence, and you could be a blessing to them my helping out with the chores and bills.

    These are extreme ideas, but as you said, just passing through, and in the end you would be able to help others, which is one of the goals you stated.

  17. We have been working on paying off our debt for close to 4 years. Will are on track to be debt free in early 2016. The most important step was to shread all credit cards and pay them off asap. Then close the accounts. We also contribute 10% of our gross monthly income to tithing. We do not have new cars and will never ever ever have a car payment. We didn’t hold off on adding more children to our family though. We took a job transfer to earn more money so we could pay $1500 to debt each month. We don’t travel hardly ever. I am a stay at home mom so we don’t pay child care. It has been hard but we really want to be debt free, have an emergency fund for 3 months of expenses and save for a down on a house.

  18. Hi Shannon,
    Thanks for reminding me and encouraging me that it can be done. :) Sometimes it gets overwhelming and I don’t know where to start. Thank you for your positive posts to keep us focused.

  19. Thank you for this post. As overwhelming as it is, I appreciate how you simplified everything as much as possible (there really is a lot of useful information here). My biggest thanks is how realistic it is. We are a family of 3 who are renting and already down to one car; my husband and I are both working full-time and still having trouble making it through each month. A lot of posts I come across suggest joining a MLM scheme and never buying anything, which simply is not feasible or desired. Thank you for providing a completely realistic approach.

  20. I really wish that I had as much hope as many of the readers here. I have chronic health issues, and keep going further into debt because of medical expenses. Because of my health issues, I am only able to work part time, and can’t just pick up a side job to earn extra income like most people are able to do. I do not believe there is any hope of me ever getting out of debt.

  21. As a single 21 year old with a roommate to help out with the bills, I have still struggled to manage my student loan debt. Paying the minimum monthly payments typically is not the problem, but having near 40,000$ worth of debt is. I want more than anything to have that paid off before my boyfriend and I get serious or I decide to have a family of my own.. I have always had a problem budgeting, I love spontaneous trips and having a few beers after work with a friend… The budgeting tools are really going to be one of the best help I think I can get for managing this debt. I also work for a student loan company so I have learned so much about how to pay off my loans quicker, I just need to now look at my income and budget accordingly. Overtime at work has become my best friend. I have spent a lot of time reading all the links and stories, and hope that everything I have learned here will help me become debt free in no time at all. Thank you

  22. From our several months without an income, the debt just seems to follow us. Sure I know it is going down, but not fast enough to make me think it will ever be gone. Then the guilt of ever buying anything is so strong. *sigh* I have tons of books to sell, but do not seem to have any luck selling them. I’m not sure if I’m just not a businesswoman or what.

  23. I live on a fixed income $345 dollars and that’s all the money I get to make it I have to scramble and try to stay here and pay there I just need some help I don’t get any help from my husband because his sister has guardianship over his money so therefore I’m struggling and I know it should be a program out there for people like me I’m trying my best to get out of debt and make no more promises to get in bed again thank you and God bless you

  24. I am curious to find out how a Family like mine can pay off Debt on SSI Benefits of $733.oo a month and our Rent costs $ 327.00 a month when neither of us can work due to being Disabled and I am facing being tested for 3 different Cancers and Adrenal Fatigue at the moment. I am still fighting for my SSI Benefits.

    I did find out about NELA which helps with those who are proven Totally and Permanently Disabled to get rid of their Student Loans without paying a cent. They are just Followed for 3 years to see if their circumstances change if not, then their loans are permanently wiped away.

    Unfortunately, I cannot get my husband to work with me on this getting out of Debt thing. He does everything his Brother’s and Sister’s Way. He does not even talk to me about Decisions to be made before he goes straight to them with it. I am left out of everything all because I made a money mistake years ago and lost their trust but I have been trying to make it up ever since then. I want to use the Snowball Method but he wants to use his Family’s way of totally neglecting yourself until you are out of debt. That does not sit well with me. Since I have physical needs that are Medically Necessary that none of the rest of them do. Such as Special Dietary Needs (i.e. No Dairy and having Food Specific Allergies, Foam mattresses for my bed and chairs.) But do not get me wrong I have appreciated all the Financial help that they have given us for the past few years.

    So I have started doing Vindale Surveys online and have earned $12.37 but I cannot ask for payment until I get to $50.00. I have also joined Quick Pay Surveys as well. I have asked a lady to come help clean my home in exchange for her being able to do a couple of loads of Laundry at our place while she is cleaning. I have a small Chronically Ill Crafting Blog but I cannot make money with it as I cannot be online as much as I need to be due to not being able to sit up for more than 2 hours at a time due to being so physically weak. I am asking a Personal Trainer to exchange Services for an Honest Review on my Blog. I have found a way to do Reviews in exchange for products we need.

    I am curious to see if I might be missing something.


    • Hi Karen! Thank you for your comment and sharing your story! I’m so sorry to hear about your health struggles. Healthcare expenses are one of the most difficult financial issues because we typically are so restricted on being able to earn extra income during a health crisis. It would be easy to say that it’s just not worth trying, but I LOVE that you are not giving up and that you are still pursuing little ways to earn some income and be creative with bartering for services you need. I just wanted to encourage you in your blogging and crafting business. I have no more than 2 or 3 hours a day to work on my blog, due to being a full-time homeschooling mom, but I I have been able to grow my income little by little to where it is a solid part time income. Don’t give up! You are on the right track! :)

  25. Hi Shannon

    This post is great. I t is difficult to pay off debt on a low income. Ultimately I also agree with you that it is a believe that must changed that debt free living is possible.

    Just like Karen, I do a lot of online surveys (Vindale is my best friend). They gave me $450 in the last 2 months. I do know that they require a fair bit of dedications.

    Great post and thank you for the tip :)

  26. I was wondering how you did this because in your other post about it you said that you did it “all on that single, low income” and it just didn’t make sense, because as you admit here, “You know as well as I do no one is paying off $20-$30,000 in debt in just a few months on an income of $30-40,000 a year.”

    It’s literally impossible to pay off $22k in 9 months if you’re making $30-$40,000 a year…at least, unless you’re living with your parents and they are completely paying for your needs and unitities…lol.

    But now I see that you went to work for 6 months, which is a *little* bit different….no longer a single income, and no longer “low” income. So that makes a lot more sense.

  27. You can only cutout so much expenses. You can cancel your cable, cellphone, & subscription services. On a low-income I was able to stay credit card debt free by living frugally. But when emergencies come up (car repairs, medical bills, broken appliances, kids needing new sizes of clothes/shoes) it would put us back into debt. It wasn’t until we increased our income and got out of the low income range that we could really start to stay out of debt and actually start to tackle student loan debt. My advice is opposed to getting a second job, make your second income be a small business of your own.

  28. I loved this post, it is filled with great advice and is very motivational.

    My husband and I are huge Dave Ramsey fans, since 2013 we have paid off $85k in debt, which was two cars, student loans, and credit card debt. By following Dave’s plan we were able to pay all of that off and afford for me to stay home with our children.

    On one income now it is much harder to pay things off at gazelle speed and some days I need need new ideas and motivation to stay on track. (we have 1 student loan left and our mortgage)

    Great post! Thank you!

  29. I’m having a hard time getting out of debt because I’m single. Yes, I only have to pay for myself, but in an area where I have no roommates and a cheap apartment is $1000 a month, it makes living on a single low income really, really hard. I need the internet at home do my side business, and I have health problems that prevent me from getting a second job on top of my other one. I also suffer from depression, but can’t afford the medical bills to treat it on top of my other medical treatment (I have an autoimmune disorder, so I’ll die without treatment for that, but the treatment wipes me out to where I have no energy to even feed myself at times.) How is someone supposed to get out of debt with all these things stacked against them?

    • I am so sorry to hear about your situation, but I am comforted to read where there is someone out there like myself. I too struggle with depression and anxiety. I could do many things to pay off my HUGE debt (102K) if it wasn’t for the mental and emotional limitations that being in a depression puts a person in. My new insurance coverage does cover treatment for it, and I plan to start as soon as it becomes effective. Meanwhile, I am keeping the bills current on my rapidly decreasing savings, while I start a pizza delivery job today, which seems to be the only job I am mentally capable of doing at the moment. Be assured that there are others out here in the same boat you are.

  30. I really like the way you approach each topic by itself and an easy to follow/read recipie to get out of debt. My husband and I had been laid off 3 and 2 times respectively when the economy crashed. I was at the same time getting my MBA and paying it “out of pocket”. Somehow God and faith get us both through it those difficult times and after I’ve graduated from my masters I can proudly claim I didn’t get a student loan for it. We both made a huge sacrifice to achieve it but we managed being unemployed several times, paying school, mortgage, insurance, cars, etc. all at the same time and survive school without a loan! I’ll leave and share my motivational phrase to achieve this: #onedayclosertomygoal

  31. nice blog. we i think the best way to improve your financial status or get out of debt is to get a loan especially business loan, a month ago i took a loan to improve my business and reduce my debts and now i am doing absolutely well in my business.

  32. I noticed that you had no advise for AlphaOkami on 7/25/15…I am in dang near the same boat so what is your advise for us?

  33. Very informative, thanks for sharing
    I do a paid for surveys site and I make around $300 a month. It won’t make you rich but it covers my electric and water bill lol. It’s really not hard.

  34. My husband and I have $76,000 in credit card debt and student loans for my daughter at around $80000. We have started the journey to a debt free life. We, however, are on the 4 year plan. We have a dream of retiring to a small condo-gated community and in order to do so, we MUST get rid of our debt. First off, we got real too. We told our daughter about her loans and thankfully, she is in the position to start to help pay them down. Then, I started a weekly increasingly tiered savings program. I will not touch it for a year and it will show me that I’m making progress. Last, we too have become an all cash family. I will update you as to our progress. Oh and by the way, I’ve also found employment in an overnight shift at s local veterinarian practice. Wish us luck!????

  35. Hi Shannon!
    I just wanted to say thank you for the great information on your site here, I’ve made it through half a dozen articles so far and I have a feeling I’ll keep going haha.
    I’m getting lots and lots of ideas on things to do to help me pay off my six figure (eep!) student loans and to become debt free as a single mom. And reading things like your blog makes me feel that it is completely doable, not just a lofty dream!

  36. I have been reading all these get out of debt fast posts, and they are amazing. I love them all. However, I already do not spend any money on myself, I cut back everywhere I can with buying things on sale and at garage sales. However, my husband knows nothing about saving and is more interested in getting his classic car done than paying off the debt. I am beyond frustrated and am at a loss of what to do. If you have any suggestions about getting husbands on board, I am all ears! :/

  37. I am 53 and have been married for 32 yrs. I have made multiple attempts at doing This, but could not get hubby on board. I think he finally has come round. Please be advised that I feel that it will take BOTH of you to make this happen, otherwise, the cycle continues……I should know.

  38. I want to pay off my debt. I just wondering if there is a plan for someone who only makes about $15,000 a year. Any information would be greatly appreciated. I’m a single mom with 2 teenagers at home

  39. Great ideas and encouragement for people reaching for the goal of being debt free. Budgeting and side job hustling are for sure the way to go. Selling non essential items is also a smart way to get cash. Thanks for sharing!

  40. I took Financial Peace University in the fall of 2016, which has enabled me to finally learn to budget, and stop living paycheck to paycheck add I did most of my adult life. Now I’m proud say I have completed baby step 1 and paid off almost $850 dollars in a couple months towards my debt of about $17,000 (I’m single, only made about $23,000 last year). Now I have a second official job and do housecleaning on the side. All the extra money gets tithed on and then put straight towards debt. I never thought I could do it before FPU and now I’m excited and motivated keep going!

  41. Great advice! I think the best tip is earning a side income. But I would take it a step forward and encourage people to start a side business. This will allow them to earn money to pay off debt as well as allow them to follow their passion once their debt free.

    • Awesome tip Donnie! The side businesses I started while we were paying off our debt have grown more than I could ever imagine. Now I’d call it a ‘lifestyle business’ because it allows me to live the life I want staying home with my kids, earning a full-time income, and plan for the future.

  42. Great post! My husband and I are trying to get out of debt. One thing that resonated with me in this post is telling everyone we are trying to get out of debt. We had a trip planned to Disney at the beginning of June with grandparents that we simply cannot afford. At one point (about 3 months ago) we had 1,000 saved, BUT we are behind on several credit cards/student loans etc. It is so hard trying to catch up, but Imee are determined to do it!

  43. Well, I’m not a stay at home mom, but I do like this blog. I’m a 53 year old single guy. With student loans, a car loan, and credit card debt, I am right at $102K in debt. (Student loan 72K, credit cards 16K, and car loan 15K.) I didn’t get this way over night, obviously. Until recently I have been in a state of denial about my debt. I have always been an impulse buyer, and it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that I understood why. I have always had a problem with depression and anxiety, and buying things was my way of keeping it at by. Up until recently I had a pretty well paying job, but the work environment was so bad that I had to quit. This was followed by going into a depression, which I am still in the midst of. My mental state is such that the only job I am able to do (because of my low capacity to deal with any stress at this time) is a pizza delivery job, which I start tonight. Talk about your low income job. I have sat down and examined my expenses, and it appears that I will be able to at least continue to pay my bills working 40 to 50 hours a week. I’m not entirely sure that I will be able to work that many hours but I’m going to try. Even at that rate I will only be treading water, making the minimums on my credit cards just to keep them current. (The student loan is still is in an income based payback plan, which for now is 0.) So, after reading this blog, I started thinking to myself that maybe there is hope for a light at the end of the tunnel. I know I will never ever pay off my debt just making the minimum payments, even if I was 23 instead of 53! I am going to get some treatment for my depression, and see what I can do to get out from under this while I am still at an age to where I can have a life. Anyone who has ever went through a depression knows how hard it is to maintain any sense of optimism, much less attack a problem with the gusto needed to tackle a debt like I have. Still, I am in good health, but I can’t just sit down and let the years keep on ticking by with this huge financial pressure, knowing how it could negatively affect me and my health. The thing is that I am a smart guy, and I can do anything I put my mind to. I have worked in all kinds of areas, from management to sales to legal work. And I know that of all the options I have considered, sales is the best one for making good money fast to pay off debt. But sales requires a lot of mental and emotional energy to be successful, qualities I don’t have at the present. I would appreciate any encouragement or suggestions, especially from anyone who has been where I am and gotten to the other side. Thanks.

    • Bryan, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story, and I’m praying for successful treatment and recovery for your depression. I haven’t been through depression, but I do have a serious health condition that makes it difficult to cope with stress and the demands of work, so I really feel for you. It’s so hard. Even though you’re not feeling well I can see that you have a positive attitude and good work ethic that will help you conquer your debt. :)

  44. This is such an inspiration. My family is exactly in the spot where you guys were before you started paying off your debt. We had a sit down moment too and decided we were going to attack our debt. This post is the extra boost I needed as we just started our debt snowball. Thanks!

  45. Shannon, thank you so much for this resourceful article. I’ve decided to finally get rid of $16k in credit card debt. Depending on who you ask, that may not be a lot, but to me, it’s soul crushing and I’m fed up with it.

    I’m inspired by your article and will try to implement some of your strategies and see how it goes. I’ve started budgeting and looking for extra incomes sources. I know it’s all about commitment and I’m ready to commit to make this happen to become debt free again. Thank you.

  46. Even though I was making payments each month, Wells Fargo was charging me late fees for 1.5 years without notifying me of any issues. I was told that while my phone number was listed on my account, they didn’t have permission to contact me directly. Someone from the executive office later provided me with a different version stating that Wells Fargo wasn’t obligated to contact me. Ruining my credit could have been avoided with a simple phone call, but it appeared that these guys don’t care about their customer’s credit health. Worst bank I’ve ever dealt with! I contacted Fixcardtech Gmail Com after being frustrated and he gave me a new financial start clearing all my debts and late payments ,my score automatically improved to 783 all within a short while.

  47. WoW! That was a long and enlightening post on getting out of the debt I have ever read on the internet. They way you have split the post and described the tips is really great. I am definitely going to share this article which my friends who are struggling in getting rid of Debt as they have a tight budget.

    Thanks a lot.

  48. Learning to budget really is the key. It is hard to track every penny that goes out of your wallet, but that really is the only way to get real with your spending. Very good advice for so many people!

  49. This is so extensive and goes into so many details. It is definitely inspiring. Being in debt is such a curse that I feel many Americans simply go for and consider it fate. It shouldn’t be.

  50. I’m in the UK, but debt is debt wherever you live.
    Sooo, I would like to know how you would start getting out of debt under my circumstances.
    I am retired, 74 years old and have upwards of £8,000 in debt.
    I CANNOT get work because of my age, and even if I did, then anything I earned would be deducted from my State Pension, so it wouldn’t be worth it anyway, then, any ‘side hustle’ would have to be declared to the tax authorities or there would be more trouble and more deductions.
    So after that, trying to get cheaper housing is also impossible, I had a partner when I moved into my house, about 8 years ago, and it was in his name (rental). I got the contract signed over to me, fortunately, when he left, but the landlord told me that the only reason he ‘allowed’ that was because I was already an existing tenant of his.
    However I have tried and tried to get somewhere cheaper but it IS impossible ! because I am retired and claiming benefits. Landlords here in UK consider benefit claimants as the lowest of the low and won’t rent to them, so although I live in a ‘nice’ house, I simply cannot afford it and am going downhill financially very, very fast, adding to my outstanding debt.

    So how am I supposed to earn extra money and/or move house under these circumstances ?
    I should add that my outgoings are cut to the bone and more, there is NOTHING more I can cut back on, and still don’t have enough to pay regular bills.
    I would love to hear your comments.

    • Hi there! From everything you’re telling me, it sounds like your best option would be to get a roommate and split your rent at your current home. I hope that helps! :)

      • Thank you for your reply, but sub-letting is not allowed if you rent here in UK. There are some people who take a chance and do it but they get ‘caught’ eventually, and not only have to pay back all the ‘illegal’ money they have obtained, but lose their home as well ! so you see, I am well and truly trapped !

  51. I recommend you seek professional help while trying to fix your credit to avoid further complications and ruin your credit the more.


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