Paying Off $24,000 of Debt

Today we have a guest post from one of our readers, Will. He is excited to tell about how he got out of $24,000 of debt and lived to tell the tale.

In November 2013, I found myself with about $13,000 in debt. Well, kind of. I owed 13,000 actual debt dollars (Grad School, credit cards, etc.), and I owed another $10,000 on my leased car over the next 31 months.

About the same time I decided to go see Dave Ramsey’s Legacy Journey. I walked out of Dave’s event knowing exactly what I needed to do. Over the next few days I arranged to sell my lease. (If you know anything about leasing you don’t stand to make much money selling a lease. Much meaning zero.) I lost $7,000 when I sold my car to CarMax. I went to my Credit Union that same day and borrowed $4,000 for an old junker to get me around town. So, there I was, $24,000 in debt. But at least now I had a target.

Something inside of you has to snap to get out of debt. It’s not a decision you stumble onto. Goals change. Friends can become distant. Friends (and family) will tell you “debt isn’t a big deal… everyone has it”. You and your significant other can differ significantly. Your nights and weekends change. You eat a lot of the same food over and over again and scratch and claw for every last dime to try to pay off every last bill. You calculate things like “should I go to _______? I wonder how much gas that’s going to use.” It’s not easy. But, then again, what is? Ever tried losing weight? I have. It’s really hard.

But getting out of debt is not all doom and gloom. I promise. You learn a lot about yourself. You learn a lot about everyone else. The time you spend with yourself (and family) is good time. It’s real time. When debt and spending aren’t an option you have to exist on what you have. When you’re not busy spending your money (going out to eat, buying the latest and the greatest whatever, trolling the internet for “deals”) you tend to find the time to process each area of your life better. You have time to clean your house. And your car. Your job gets easier because your goals become clearer. You simply, simplify, and simplify some more.

There are many theories (read “advice”) on how to pay off debt. Pay off the lowest debt first. Pay off the highest debt first. Pay off the highest interest rate first. Each one of these methods has its merit.

Here’s the real secret to getting out of debt. Start and don’t quit. You’re going to have your ups and downs. Everything in life does. But don’t quit. Sell stuff. Sell everything. Get extra jobs. Eat less. Stay up later. Get up earlier. Just get out of debt. And don’t quit.

Will can be found on Twitter at @willevanparker. He currently resides in Greenville, SC and works at a car dealership.

Like what you read? It’s your turn! We’ll pay you for your debt story.

Around here, we’re all about taking our debt and beating it down. Grrrrrrrr! We pay $5 for every awesome debt story we publish (whether you’re in debt, out of it, or barely living to tell the tale) so send yours our way to be considered: reddebtedstepchild[at]gmail[dot]com!
About Kayla

Kayla is a mid-20s single girl living in the Midwest, USA. She is focused on paying off her consumer and student loans, while simplifying her life and closet. You can join her on her journey at ShoeaholicNoMore or follow her on Twitter.


  1. Your story is an inspiration and I love your secret for paying off debt. I had a planned strategy to get rid of my debt, but life this year threw me some serious curve balls. I’ve had to take a few steps backwards, but I never gave up with making those payments toward my debt and I am so glad. great post.

    • Great to hear Petrish. Life does tend to throw us curve balls… the key is, if you’re looking for the curve ball there’s a good chance you’ll make some pretty good contact. Keep on keeping on!

  2. I like it. It’s not all about money. It’s more mindset and changing the habits you have. You can get out of debt, but changing the value and ease of debt is life-changing. Nice job!

    • Thanks Lance! Glad you liked it. And you’re exactly right… it’s not about the money. Sure, you can go and scrape up a little extra money here and there… but the REAL change comes when you make change with what you have. That’s why “losing weight” rarely works for people. They don’t need a NEW treadmill. They just need to go outside and walk.

  3. Could I suggest you refrain from placing animated images in your articles? Sure they’re amusing the first time or two through the loop, but when you actually try to read the text they are nothing but a distraction. I think that readers will better get your message without that distraction.

  4. I think I am missing something on the car front, would you be able to elaborate? I’m assuming the $7000 lost was the depreciation? Did you compare the operating cost and the cost of the risk of an older car when you sold the newer one?

    • Anne,

      Good questions. First, yes, it was the depreciation. Kinda stings huh? haha Secondly, also yes, I did consider the cost of ownership. And honestly, I’ve had to put a few repair dollars into my “new used” car. BUT not nearly $300+ (car payment) per month worth. And the taxes are lower too. My new car taxes were over $500. My “new used” car was $32.99. Insurance is obviously lower too.

      But I didn’t just do it to get rid of debt (although that was the main driver). I wanted to use that $300+ per month for my Roth IRA. One thing I can PROMISE you is my new car (2013 MINI Cooper S) NEVER made me any money. Since getting out of debt my Roth HAS.

      Thanks for the questions. The car sale was really the point of no return so it holds a dear place in my heart. If you have any more questions let me know.

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