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I’m Out of Debt (again)!


Yes, it’s true. I’m officially out of debt again! Some of you may be wondering about the “again” part. Well, I didn’t have a relapse on my budgeting ways or anything. I did not go out and finance a car or boat or go on a lavish vacation that put me back in the hole – nope nothing like that. Here’s the quick recap.

The First Debt

When I was 24, I was newly married and finally found a full-time job with a company in Florida. I had about $12k in student loan debt and my wife had $6,500. Compared to most, this was nothing, but we decided that we didn’t want to think about this debt every month for the next 10 years, so we were going to pay it off ASAP. Well, we did it. Took care of it all in about 14 months. I vowed that I would never have consumer debt ever again…

The Second Debt

Well, my vow didn’t hold true. I never thought it could ever happen, but it did: my wife left me and she wanted half of our estate. This totaled to somewhere around $21,000 – and she wanted it in 6 months. Yikes! That meant I was going to have to come up with over three grand extra per month in order to make it happen. Luckily, I’m an intelligent entrepreneur…

How I Paid it Off in 6 Months

So how the heck did I pay $21k in 6 months? I’m honestly not sure – I’ve just had my head down running for money for the past 6 months. It’s time for me to lift it up and try to remember all the crazy stuff I did:

1) Decent Savings Account – This website earns a fairly consistent income, but I’ve never been dependent on it. In fact, most of the time I just stashed the money into a savings account to use on a later date when an opportunity rolled along. After figuring out what I owed in taxes, I had about $4,000 in this account.

2) Flipping Cars – The legality on this is questionable, but I am the son of a car dealer so finding cars for cheap and selling them at a fair price is only natural for me. I was able to find a 2007 Nissan Altima for $5,500 and sold it for $7,000, which earned me about $1,000 after taxes.

3) Got Rid of the Gas Hog – When my wife left, I was driving a 1997 GMC truck which got about 15 miles per gallon on average. With my frequent trips to Grand Rapids (which is about 30 miles away), I knew that I had to get rid of this gas guzzling machine.

4) Found a Cheap Gas Sipper – Since I got rid of the truck, I needed to replace it with something. I did my research and found a cheap, dependable gas sipper: a 2001 Honda Civic that I paid $2,500 for. It’s a little ridiculous for me to get in and out of this tiny car with my 6’8″ frame, but it has been a good car for me, so I’m actually still holding onto it.

5) Started Writing Articles – I knew there was a need for articles in the finance blog universe, so I started offering my services for $10 a pop. It was an insanely cheap price for the bloggers, but I needed the money and this method earned me a lot of business. Over the course of 3 months I wrote about 200 articles, which netted me $2,000.

6) I Lived Super Cheap – For these 6 months I didn’t go anywhere and didn’t do anything. Everything I purchased was purely for necessities. As an example, my food bill at the end of every month was about $120. I purchased my food from Aldi’s (a bare bones, super cheap grocery store) and never went out to eat.

7) I Kept the Website Going – It would have been very easy for me to sulk in a corner and let my website die, but I knew I needed the money to pay my newfound debts. I wrote better articles, attracted more visitors, and earned decent money.

After all of these things, I was able to hit my goal with about $2,000 left to spare. It’s now time to get on with my life and I’m super pumped. What’s next? It’s finally time to furnish this empty house and then earn some money with my growing stash of cash. 🙂

Get Out of Debt Money


My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Congratulations Derek. You took a bad situation and turned it around–rather quickly I might add.

    • Thanks Amanda. It’s just nice to get it over with and put it behind me.

  2. Congratulations … again. 🙂

    My wife and I use Aldi’s for the bulk of our grocery shopping, even our 4 kiddos say the stuff at Aldi’s tastes good.

    I’m glad that you did keep your website going with some great articles!

    • I have grown to love Aldi’s actually. I can get in and out of there in less than 10 minutes. It’s awesome for a busy guy like me!

  3. Glad you got out of debt, and I’m hoping to be out of debt soon as well.

    • Thank you Paula, and good luck to you and your debt!

    • Thanks Michelle! It’s time to get on with my life! 🙂

  4. Congrats on overcoming your debt in such a short time frame Derek. It’s further proof that if you put your head down and be diligent “you” can tackle quite a bit.

    • Very true John. I think that as long as we all ask the question “how can we do it?” rather than just say it’s impossible, amazing things can happen.

  5. It could have been worse, but you managed to turn a bad situation into a challenging one. Congratulations Derek!

    • It wasn’t easy, and I’m definitely glad it’s over. On to the next challenge! You know me, I always like a challenge. 🙂

  6. That’s awesome that you’re able to make a clean financial break from your spouse. It could definitely have been worse and your actions made it that much smoother.

    • Yeah, I hope she appreciates the work that I put into it for the 6 months….but I kind of doubt it…. Thanks for the comment David.

  7. Aside from paying off $21K in 6 months, what amazes me most about this post is your positive attitude. This is a really sad and unfortunate situation and yet you kept your nose to the grindstone and put the financial part of it behind you. Now you can look forward to a fresh start — inspiring post, Derek! Major kudos to you.

    • I always have tried to stay positive about life, but to be honest, this is the first thing that really shook my world. I’ve paid off the debt, but I truthfully am still getting over the breakup… Thanks for the kudos Kendal!

  8. Congratulations! I think this points out that anyone at anytime can have financial issues. It is how you deal with them that allows you to succeed or fail Of course, ignoring the issues is a choice, but no one ever succeeds ignoring issues.

    • Good point krantcents. I would have picked myself as the last person that would go into debt again, but sometimes there are things that we cannot control.

  9. Sorry to hear about the circumstance that led to the second round, but congrats on the quick payoff. It’s very motivating to read success stories like this!

    • Thanks Anna. I’m glad I can be a motivator. 🙂

  10. Good for you, Bud! Not only did you do this incredibly quickly, you also did it under circumstances that had to have been extremely difficult. I am impressed. I might have just crawled into a hole.

    • Crawling into a hole was definitely a thought, but I knew that wasn’t any way to live life. Now that it’s entirely paid off, I’m glad that I chose the option of paying it off quickly. Thanks for the comment Jim.

  11. Derek, I’m glad to hear you are debt free. I’ve been drowning in work (day job) and haven’t been able to keep up with a lot of things blogging-related, but I’m glad to hear you are your usual self. Congrats again. We’ll have to connect sometime soon.

    • For sure Corey. I’m sure I’ll talk to you soon.

  12. It seems like yesterday when I was reading the post about this new debt and how anxious you were to get it paid off. Congrats and on to the next chapter!

    • Yeah, time has been cruising. Thanks for the kudos Kim!

  13. Phenomenal work! The change to a “gas-sipper” really makes a big impact in the long run, not to mention to the environment.

    • Good point Mike. I’m saving myself a ton of money each month. It will be difficult to ever go to a gas-guzzler again.

  14. Glad to hear you got your debt paid off again. I should have mine all paid of except for my mortgage here in a month or so.

    • Very cool Chris! Congrats on your debt payoff as well!

  15. Of course it’s legal to flip cars! 🙂 Good job paying everything off….again!

    • Haha. Thanks Jenny!

  16. Congrats! That’s awesome! I cannot wait until I’m out of debt – again!

    • Thanks Lauren. Hopefully I’ll be staying out of debt this time around. I don’t forsee anything crazy happening anytime soon that would force me back into the hole… 😉

  17. Congratulations! You worked hard to erase this debt and that is fantastic! Well done.

    • Thank you Talia. I did work extremely hard. It’s time to relax a little bit (however, I do have a hard time relaxing….) 😉

  18. Congrats Derek! When I see that you were able to pay $21k off in 6 months it makes me feel I should be working a bit harder. That’s an amazing accomplishment and now that it is behind you be sure to take some extra time and enjoy everything you have worked so hard for.

    • I really am trying to take some extra time. I’ll have a couple weeks to take it easy soon with my night classes wrapping up (until June 26 or so), so I’m going to be loving life for a little while. Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  19. I applaud you for your ingenuity! Some of the things you had to do were pretty creative. I’m glad you were able to stay positive through the ordeal and not let it significantly affect your financial situation.

    • It certainly did mess with my head a little… Sometimes I get down on myself, but I typically pop out of it pretty quickly. As for the financials, that’s just my natural reaction to debt. I take note of how much there is, how long I have, and then tackle it head on. I’m just glad it’s done and over with! Thanks for the comment Anton. 🙂

  20. I am amazed, you are such an inspiration! I’m sure it will still be a rough road ahead, getting over the divorce, but it will all be worth it someday when you meet the one you’re meant to be with that will appreciate the person you are : ) You’re young, good looking and smart… her loss! Just make sure to take a breather and have some fun now!

    • Thanks for the kind words Diana. It has been difficult so far, but I keep busy so I don’t dwell on any of the negatives. Things are improving and life is always good. Glad I can be an inspiration for you! 🙂

  21. Being alone keeps your life simple,easy and cheap 😉

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