Real Life Debt Stories – Kelly & James

debt, debt free, saving, money saving, budgeting, personal finance,

Welcome to the first in my series of 'Real Life Debt Stories'.  The series is dependent on you sharing your stories, so if you are interested I'd love it if you'd complete this questionnaire. There are just 10 questions.

Kelly & James

Thank you so much to Kelly, who was the first to complete the Real Life Debt Stories questionnaire, enabling me to share her story.

What was your Lightbulb moment?

Our lightbulb moment was when our church announced that they were offering Financial Peace University classes.

How much did you owe at the time of your Lightbulb moment?

200k consumer debt & approximately 150k on our mortgage

How did you feel when you had your Lightbulb moment?

We felt that we were finally coming up with a plan that would work

 What/who were the circumstances which caused your debt?

Our debt was comprised of years of overspending in general, three daughters (education) & lack of confidence with money and managing it.

 What were the first steps you took in taking control of your debt?

We attended all the FPU classes, took a complete account of what debts we owed & started doing a monthly budget.

 Where are you now in your journey to being debt free? Do you have a target ‘debt free’ date?

We have been debt free since March of 2016. If you're following the FPU baby steps, we're on BS7, which is to build wealth & give some of it away!

Are there any debt repayment ‘methods’ that you would recommend? What has worked for you?

We did the debt snowball and started paying off the smallest debt to the largest. Just list them in that order and pay minimums on everything except the smallest. Throw all you've got at that one & when it's gone, add that money to the next on your list and so on.

 What advice would you give to someone who has just had their ‘lightbulb’ moment?

Ask for help from others who have done it before you. Stay away from anything or anybody who isn't supportive of your goals.

 How do you stay motivated?

There's always another goal to be reached. Now, our goals are more investing and getting educated on that process & also making sure our children and grandchildren set themselves up for success. Since it took us four years to get rid of consumer debt, I liken it to a one mile track race. Break down your debt into smaller bits and focus on the step you're doing today. It can be overwhelming otherwise. Decide you're not going to live paycheck to paycheck anymore & stay focused.

 Please feel free to add in any more of your story here?

Our journey along with everything else is not a "success only" story. We've made plenty of mistakes. The difference is that now we are recognizing them earlier and we have goals and milestones we are reaching for each month. Once you achieve debt freedom, it's a wonderful opportunity to make different / better choices, but you must be intentional with your finances. We continue to do a budget each and every month.

Kelly, thank you so much for sharing your story.  As you say, it is important to plan, to accept that there will be mistakes along the way and to keep a distance between anything (including friends or family) that are not supportive of your goals.

Financial Peace University (FPU)

For anyone who is not familiar with the Financial Peace University (FPU), this is the brainchild of Dave Ramsey and is extremely popular, particularly in America.  He breaks each goal into 'baby steps' and there are 7 in total in his programme.  If you would like to find out more he has a number of books available.  I am sharing the details of the most popular below (affiliate):



My aim is to feature ‘Real Life Debt Stories’ from people who have experienced debt.  This could be debt of any size, type or reason.  Debt that has been paid off, debt you want to start paying off or debt that you are currently in the middle of paying off.  I want to share failures as well as successes including the reasons why you found yourself in debt in the first place – as everyone’s story is different.

It is important to show people that they are not alone.  I also want to highlight that different methods of getting debt under control work for different people and that there is not a ‘One Size Fits All’ solution.

This is where you come in.  I am looking for anyone who is willing to share their story with my readers.  I have developed a questionnaire for you to complete and this can be completely confidential and names will not be shared OR if are happy for your name to be used, I can use it.  If you also have a blog, I am happy to link to your blog too, alongside your story.

I will then email you to let you know when your story will go live.


debt, debt free, saving, money saving, budgeting, personal finance,