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This financial success story is from Mrs. 50 with By50Journey.com. She and her husband paid off over $213,000 in under 9 years with one income. They made a plan to pay off their debt and was able to pay it ALL off (even their mortgage).
The couple has since purchased their dream home 3 years ago. Even though they have a mortgage again, this is the only debt they have and plan to pay off the mortgage ($372,000) by 2028. She also plans to retire early by the age of 50.
Mrs. 50 was able to achieve these goals by budgeting and sticking to her plan. Learn how she did it so you can too.
Mrs. 50’s Financial Success Story: How She Paid Off Over $213,000 Of Debt
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Yes! I came to the U.S. 22 years ago for a college internship and this was where I met my husband. A year later, I moved to the U.S. to marry him with just the clothes on my back and $100 in my pocket at the age of 21.
Soon after I permanently moved to the U.S., I faced a tremendous life crisis. Also, my newlywed husband and I struggled financially as we both didn’t have a job. He was still in college. And I had a hard time finding a job because I didn’t speak any English.
Regardless of our financial struggle, I decided to go back to grad school in the hope to increase my earning potential. Our son was born shortly after I started my first real job. During those years, we accumulated a ton of consumer debt. However, graduate degrees paid off. I went from making minimum wage to earning a 6-figure salary.
I sure made a ton of mistakes when it comes to money and life. However, with perseverance and patience, I was able to overcome many obstacles.
Today, my family is living debt-free and is a step closer to financial independence. I also share my money tips and life journey on my FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) blog as Mrs. 50.
When did you start your financial journey?
I seriously started my financial journey when I realized that we can’t live in this financial mess any longer. Also, I used to spend hours just to pay a couple of bills. This is because I had to make sure that we had enough money before my next paycheck came in.
That was 17 years ago. Having to work over 80 hours per week to make ends meet was exhausting. It wasn’t the life I was hoping for. There must be a better way. Something has to change. However, I didn’t even know how to start then.
What were your financial goals when you started? What are your financial goals now?
My first goal was to increase my/our income. The second goal was to get rid of our consumer debt. And I did achieve both of my goals. That wasn’t easy. It took me 15 years to do that.
I spent 6 years in grad school. Within 6 years after I graduated, I managed to get rid of $98,720 worth of consumer debt with one income and a baby. Then, our home mortgage was also paid off about 3 years after that.
My financial goal now is 2 folds. First, it’s to be financially independent so that I could retire early. Reaching financial independence and retiring early are now my goals. I am planning to retire at 50.
What was the main thing that caused you to want to change your financial situation?
The inability to make ends meet was the main thing that caused me to want to change my financial situation. The hopelessness and the fear were real and I had nobody to turn in to. I didn’t want to work and just so I could pay bills. Basically, I wanted to break the cycle of working and paying bills.
Reaching financial independence seems to be a good solution, and that caused me to want to change my finances.
What was your biggest financial struggle? How did you overcome that?
When I was in grad school, I struggled to pay my tuition, bills, and put food on the table. I worked 2 jobs while going to school full-time. You know, I couldn’t afford to go to school part-time. I needed to earn my degree as soon as I could.
Hard work, good time management and “living below our means” were the keys to overcome that.
What was the biggest change you made to achieve your financial goals?
My mindset. I used to be the person who would go to a store on a payday to buy whatever I liked. Then, I realized that stuff can’t make me happy. The short reward actually causes a longer period of pain.
I started to learn what truly makes me happy. My mindset changed – I wanted to save money and build wealth. Stuff is no longer value to me. I realized that I can’t have it all and I should only have the things that matter to me.
- Related Article: How To Change Your Money Mindset So You Can Have More Money
Have you done anything out of the “norm” or “extreme” to reach your financial goals?
Yes, I have. There are things that we don’t have at home. For example, cutting our own hair, no trash and recycling pick-up service, no live TV, etc. We also pick up stuff from dumpsters, get our clothes for free from churches, cut down our grocery bill from $1,000 a month to $200 a month and have a saving rates of 50%.
How much debt did you have? Are you still paying it off? If so, when do you hope to be debt-free? If not, how long did it take you to pay it off?
When we started the journey, we had $98,720 in consumer debt; a car loan and credit cards. And we had $114,900 in mortgage debt. We paid it off in under 9 years with one income.
We bought our dream home 3 years ago. Even though we have a mortgage debt again, this is the only debt we have. We plan to pay it off ($372,000) by 2028.
How do you stay motivated to keep going on your financial journey?
I stay motivated by listening to money-related podcasts, tracking our net worth, joining like-minded facebook groups, and reading success stories on-line. Every day, I read early retirement stories whenever I get a chance. This way, I get inspired and stayed motivated.
What advice would you give someone who’s just starting their financial journey, or feels like you’re a unicorn and can’t achieve their financial dreams?
Believe in yourself and know that you can do it. One piece of advice I would give is you need to want it bad enough. Once you want it bad enough, your mindset will change. If you don’t want it bad enough, you’ll always find excuses.
It’s not going to be easy. It took years of patience and dedication to get where I am today. Set your financial goals, make a plan, do a budget, and stick to it. Keep at it and don’t give up.
I hope Mrs. 50’s financial success story will motivate you. She was able to pay off over $213,000 worth of debt by believing in herself and being persistent. Once you have a plan and your budget, you just have to put in the work and do it!
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