If you’re a regular reader of the blog, then you know that I love sharing debt free stories with you. And today I have another inspiring journey to share with you!
Deacon and Kim Hayes are a young couple living in Arizona with their baby boy.
They paid off $52,000 of debt in 18 months!
I met Deacon a couple of months ago when he reached out to interview me for his Debt Success Series on his blog. It was my first time being interviewed about our journey out of debt, and I asked if he would return the favor.
Deacon shares how he and Kim re-evaluated their priorities in order to cut costs and what they did to bring in extra income.
I know their story will get your creative juices flowing with ways that you can do the same.
Here is the interview:
ME: Thank you for sharing your story with Our Debt Free Family! Please tell us a little about yourself so we can get to know you.
My name is Deacon Hayes. I am 32-years-old and married to my amazing wife, Kim. We have a three-month-old baby boy named Finn, who is just the coolest little guy. We live in Phoenix, Arizona, and I have lived here pretty much my entire life.
ME: It’s so great to get to know you, Deacon! What made you decide to focus on becoming debt free?
Growing up I viewed debt as a means to get what I wanted. I had maxed out credit cards, and I had bought more properties than I could afford.
Eventually, I realized that I got in over my head. When I tallied up our consumer debt outside of our mortgage debt, we owed about $52,000. I was in my mid-twenties, and I knew that if I kept going this route, I would possibly become bankrupt like my parents.
ME: The light bulb went on and you realized you wanted to follow a different path. How much debt did you pay off, and how long did it take you?
We paid off all $52,000 in consumer debt in 18 months. All we have left now is our mortgage, which is about $158,000. We plan on having that paid off in the next four years or so.
ME: That’s awesome! What kind of debt was it?
The debt consisted of a car loan, credit cards, and student loans.
ME: What did you do for work while you were paying off your debt?
I was selling luxury wood floors. Now I have my own business as a financial expert where I speak on personal finance to conferences and colleges, and I make media appearances on shows like Fox News and CNN Money.
ME: We’re so honored to have you on our young blog! What was your annual income while you were paying off your debt?
We made around $70,000 per year.
ME: Did you do anything to increase your income during that time?
I had an eBay store where I sold electronic accessories. I would also go to garage sales and find items that I knew had value and flip them on eBay. Not only was this fun, but it was also a great way to make extra money on the weekends.
ME: You got creative — I love that! What sacrifices did you make to reach your goal?
We had to go through our budget and decide what was really important to us, and the rest got cut. We canceled our cable, drastically cut back on eating out, and eliminated vacations. We got rid of everything that was hindering us from paying off our debt.
ME: You definitely got your priorities in order. What money-saving tips do you have to share?
One of the best things you can do to save money immediately is to call your existing service providers and ask if they have less expensive options. This can work for things like your cable, Internet, cell phones, etc. We did this, and it freed up a couple hundred dollars per month right from the start.
ME: That’s a great tip! What advice would you give to someone considering starting their own debt free journey?
You need to have a plan. I recommend for the first time that people have a Starter Budget. This is just a guesstimate of what their monthly expenses are. I created a video to make this process quick and easy called How to Create a Budget in 10 Minutes or Less. You have to know where you ARE so that you can now map out a plan to get to where you want to be.
ME: I totally agree! Thank you for sharing that resource! Have you made any big purchases with cash?
We love to travel. Since we have paid off our debt, we have been able to pay cash for two international trips – one to Hong Kong and Singapore and the other to Paris and London. For each trip it took us about 2 years to save up. We put away $300 every month, so that in two years we have about $7,200 to travel wherever is next on the bucket list.
ME: That is an awesome strategy! What has been the best part about your debt free journey?
The best part is the freedom that comes with being debt free. I was able to quit my full-time job to do what I love, which is financial coaching. I would not have been able to do that if it wasn’t for us eliminating all those monthly debt payments.
ME: Thank you for sharing your story with us, Deacon! Is there anything else you would like to share?
No matter where you are in life, you can start this journey today. I have worked with people that are single moms, to people that have had cancer, and all of them were still able to get out of debt. So if you want to be debt free, now is the time to take your first step.
I want to thank Deacon and Kim for sharing their story with us. They have proven that getting out of debt quickly is not only achievable, but it can also open the door to living the life of your dreams.
What About You?
Participate in the conversation. What parts of Deacon and Kim’s story did you find most inspiring? What advice from Deacon can you apply to your life? Share in the comments below.