Episode 7: How Amanda Page Paid Off $48k in 14 Months

January 15, 2018
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Quick Recap:

  • The 2 things that made the biggest difference when paying off $48k in 14 months
  • Ever side hustle counts
  • How to make "Monster Payments"
  • Overcoming underearning
  • Amanda's best piece of advice for paying off debt: You're worth it!
  • Evil vs Awesome: Financial New Years Resolutions
  • Why goals are terrible
  • Pursuing FIRE
  • Evil vs Awesome: The Star Wars Franchise

Links:

The Show:

Today I’m super excited to have a guest that paid off $48,000 in student loan debt in 14 months. Upon which seeing the zero balance made her swoon. She recently had a "Poutine Party" at her house for friends who had never had it (I’ve never had it). She actually made it with a packet of gravy that @freepursue gave her at FinCon.

And I’d like to say that FinCon is actually where I first met her, it was my very first FinCon back in 2015 and she was one of the first people I met and I’m so glad I did, watching her journey and reading her fantastic writing has been incredibly inspiring.

How Did You Pay Off $48k in 14 Months?

Two things made all the difference:

1) Reducing Major Expenses

Things like rent and transportation.

2) Earning More Income

I took on more work hours and did a lot of side hustling.

When I started paying off the debt, I was working as an adjunct professor with an academic schedule allowing me to take on more work during the summer and over the holidays. I would work as a receptionist, data entry, any type of office work for $10-$14/hour.  I also took on additional courses to teach, did some freelance writing, sold stuff on craigslist, really I did whatever I could do.

Every little bit helped.

On side hustling to pay off debt, "Every little bit helped" - Amanda Page #debtfreedom

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What are Monster Payments?

When I was paying off debt, I would wait until the 14th of each month and look back at everything I'd earned to put towards the debt and make one monster payment each month.

In the summer of 2015 I managed to make a $7k payment, there was a realization that $7k was a trip to Australia or a car, it was a big eye opener.

Because I was so focused and driven to pay off the debt, while waiting to make my monster payment I didn't spend the money I had earned. The focus allowed me to find the resolve not to spend. 

What Lead You to Be So Driven?

I'd had the debt for the better part of a decade and I think it contributed to my underearning tendencies. I'd been stuck in low paying jobs and in my mind I thought if I got rid of the debt, I thought I would have more freedom. The debt made me feel stuck. 

It finally got to the point where it was painful enough that I decided to focus on it exclusively for one year. 

On Twitter You Were Talking With Another Guest of Ours, Michelle Jackson, About a Book, OverComing UnderEarning...

Yes, everyone should read that book! When I first came across it I wasn't ready for it, but eventually I committed to reading it and talking about it once a week with a friend and it made a big difference.

I still go to it and read parts of it from time to time. 

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What has been the best opportunity that debt freedom has afforded you? What was the opportunity that motivated you during your debt repayment?

I really wanted a home, mainly because I have to dogs and it was crazy how many landlords turned me down because I had dogs. I'd also spent a long time living with roommates and so having my own place was really motivating when I was paying down the debt.

The best opportunity I've had since paying off the debt was a trip to the UK in 2017. I'd long had a bucket list of places I'd wanted to visit and I just happened to submit an abstract to this conference in Wales and I got in.

Work helped to pay for the trip, the conference was 3 days but I spent 3 weeks in the UK wandering around. I think I definitely surprised myself by nailing the presentation at the conference. 

Because of that trip I'm now planning to rent a house in Scotland for 3 weeks over the summer.

What is the Best Piece of Advice You Have for Someone Paying Off Debt?

First, believe that you're worth it.

Stop feeling shame around having debt. People are in debt for a million different reasons. Even if you were silly with month, it doesn't mean you can't turn it around. 

Trust the experiment, don't put tons of pressure on yourself.  Just think about what it would be like to pay it off. Don't attach yourself to the outcome. 

Evil vs Awesome: Financial Resolutions

Evil

  • Evil if you are making it a hard goal

Awesome

  • Awesome, because that is how Amanda did it
  • Its great to look at the New Year as a reset, but you can do that at any time
  • Make it an experiment
  • Must be ready to make the changes

Overall: Awesome

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Why Do You Not Like Hard Goals?

I think tying something to your identity is more motivating than crossing something off a list. What matters most to me is how it improve my identity. 

With dreams, rather than goals, there is more to it.

I think it's best to start with "Why" rather than "What" so one year I decided I wanted to be a better hiker and that led me to hiking all the metro parks, which is a way better thing to pursue than trying to weigh x amount of pounds. 

Pursuing a dream rather than a "what" makes it an adventure and helps to take the pressure off.

If you could go back would you still buy your house? What would you do differently?

I don't know, this house is fine but it's not ideal and so having it really makes me examine the idea of good enough and what is idea. Overall I think once I was out of debt I was able to pursue having a home of my own and the seducing words of "building equity" and maybe I wouldn't have bought it if I were to do it all over again.

The reality is that getting rid of debt doesn't solve all your problems, it opens doors but you still have to think about what you really want rather than what is normal.

Are You Working Towards FIRE (financial independence/retire early)?

I think everyone saving for retirement is looking at financial independence. Because I have the house, I have less to put away towards that. 

Your First Site was Dream Beyond Debt, You Now Blog at Amanda-Page.com What is the Site About?

Truthfully, I'm still figuring it out, but I'm glad to realize that I don't think about money every day because I think that is the goal. I came across a post-it the other day that said, Who will you be when you don't have to think about money daily? And I really like that and I'm glad I'm in that space.

Who will you be when you don't have to think about money daily? - Amanda Page

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Evil vs Awesome: The Star Wars Franchise

Evil

  • Jar Jar Binks

Awesome

  • Princess Laia/ Carrie Fisher
  • The Last Jedi resorted Amanda's faith in the critical thinking skills of today's youth
  • It was part of childhood

Overall: Awesome!

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Amanda Page paid off $48k in 14 months | debt payoff | student loan debt | how to pay off debt
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