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We’re Debt Free! $125,000 Gone!

 If you’ve been around here for a while you’ve probably caught me mentioning here and there how we’ve been working toward this goal for the past three years.

Well, holy smokes– we finally did it.

Last month we paid off Brad’s final student loan, making us DEBT FREE!
(with the exception of our mortgage)

No more student loans.

No more credit cards.

No more car loans.

 The majority of the $125,000 was Brad’s undergrad and graduate student loans.

$100,472.54 to be exact. Student loans are a sonuva, you guys.

It was actually pretty anti-climatic when the last payment was made. It was a Friday. Brad came home from work, we exchanged high fives, we hugged and kissed (I mean, we are married and love each other), and then we went out to dinner as a family of three to celebrate. I did joke that we should drive over to the Sallie Mae/Navient building and flip it the bird, but we resisted that temptation.


And let me stop and say that I’m not divulging this personal detail of our lives to be boastful or to make anyone feel ashamed of their financial situation. I’m sharing this because I know there are so many people like us who are weighed down and struggling with the burden of student loan debt. We were inspired by seeing others pay off their debts, so I want to motivate others by sharing how we paid off all of this debt.

Here’s the details of how we paid everything off. But I wanted to take the time to give some shout outs today because we couldn’t have done this without the support of a lot people.

First, I want to thank YOU for being a reader and supporting me. For reading and commenting on my blog posts. For liking, commenting on, and sharing my social media posts. For telling your friends and family about the blog. For pinning my projects and recipes. For using my affiliate links to purchase things for you and your family. I know some of you have been around for over 6 years, and you don’t know how much it means to me when you tell me you’ve stuck around that long. But you know I appreciate all of you– whether you’ve been around for 6 years or 6 days. This job of mine is a dream come true, and I wouldn’t have it without you. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I want to thank Brad for supporting me and being my biggest cheerleader. For doing the dishes and the laundry so I could focus on meeting a deadline or editing photos. For being understanding when I’d be up working until 2AM. For waiting to eat his food so I could take photos first. For helping me build, hang, and assemble stuff. For going over my contracts because 7 pages of legal jargon isn’t the most exciting read. For holding down the fort while I jet off to a conference or business event for a couple days. And for waiting a day (and staying off social media to keep from seeing spoilers) to watch The Walking Dead because I procrastinated and needed to work late on a Sunday night.

photo by Brianna Claassen Photography

Thank you to our friends and family for their support. Thanks to our parents for slipping us money back when we were super broke. We also know we can always count on either sets of our parents to put their lives on hold and drive the 3 hours here in order to watch Owen during the day while Brad is at work and I’m out of town. Thank you to our friends for being understanding when we’ve had to pass up trips and vacations because we were working toward this goal.

I also want to thank all of my blog friends and other friends I’ve met through blogging. I’ve met so many wonderful, supportive people over the past 6 years. Some I consider to be my closest friends. The blogging community is filled with amazing people who are always willing to offer advice, help, and encouragement.

Lastly, I want to thank AdThrive, my ad management service. I obviously run ads on my site because without them, I’d be spending all this time and money on a website and not generating any income for my family. AdThrive, was started by friend, Kelly (you may recognize her blog), and her husband, Andy. They’re the nicest people, and I have so much admiration for them for building their business, which has bloggers’ interest in mind, from the ground up in the past 4 years.

Okay, that’s it for my thanks. My apologies if it bored you, but we seriously couldn’t have done this without everyone I mentioned.

I’d like to end with this song by Dee-1. 

Peace out, Sallie Mae.

YouTube video

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  1. That is awesome! I remember the feeling so well…of course, now I’m starting over again with college because my first born is a freshman, lol. BUT we are doing everything we can to pay as we go without any loans. No way we want that debt again. Congrats on your hard work. ~Sonya

    1. Thank you so much, Sonya! That’s so good of you to be paying for his college. My parents made a lot of sacrifices to pay for my college, and I’m forever grateful to them for doing so.

  2. Ahhh!!! This is awesome news! You’re giving me hope. Just now I am reading “The Spender’s Guide to Debt Free Living”. I’m so tired of being in debt. I can’t wait to hear how you did it. And congratulations!! ???

    1. Thank you, Jen! It takes work and sacrifice, but it feels so good to not have that burden on our shoulders any more. Best of luck to you! You can do it!

  3. Maddie Reed says:

    Congratulations!!! How amazing!!! Look forward to reading how to you did it. And thanks for posting early 😉

  4. Congrats!! I still have until 2031. I’m paying more then I need to but I’m not sure When I’ll be done.

    1. Thanks, Erin! Keep going! When we first started, we said we’d dedicate $2,000 a month to the debt, and then we kept cutting back until it was more and more each month.

  5. Dorinda Selke says:

    Chelsea I couldn’t be more happy for you, Brad and Owen!!! What a wonderful accomplishment, and a lot of hard work and dedication!! And here I thought you were gonna tell us that you were expecting again LOL ?. Congrats again, and I can’t wait to hear the whole story. Hugs, Dorinda

  6. Amazing! Congrats! And I went to AdThrive’s class at Haven and they were adorable! Totally wanted to start using them but they don’t take clients that don’t get more than 100k hits a month:( Not quite there yet. Lol Still new to the blogging world!

    1. Thanks, friend! Andy and Kelly are wonderful people– I love working with them and having them as friends. I’m sure you’ll get to 100K in no time, especially in December. Link all those IG posts, girl! 😉

  7. Congrats! I paid off my student loans earlier this summer and it was such a great feeling!

  8. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! I remember the day when we paid off all of our debt … so relieving! And it’s been the biggest reason we’ve been able to live on a teacher’s salary for a few years while I pursued my dream job. Yay!! Way to go guys!

  9. Fantastic! We are seriously trying to pay off and then get ahead of our medical debt plus find a way to start our emergency fund but everything seems to be hitting us this year.

    I have been blogging part time hit and miss for about two years and recently made the decision to become devoted to being consistent and amazing for 2017 while trying to earn an income to make our dream happen.

    I am so glad I clicked through today and read this I truly needed the encouragement. Congratulations on this great accomplishment!!! I will definitely be sharing the story of how with my followers and Pinterest on Monday.

    1. Thank you, Tina! I’m so sorry you’re burdened with medical debt. But good for you for setting goals for 2017. I wish you all the best!

  10. Chelsea! That’s awesome! Seriously excited for you. That is what we are working towards too! Love ya!

    1. Thanks so much, friend! Keep up the hard work– I’m sure you’ll be able to reach your goal sooner rather than later. 🙂

  11. Many congratulations!! That’s simply wonderful. You’re making big changes in your family’s future!! Way to go!!!

  12. This is amazing! Congrats! And I so agree about Kelly and Andy and AdThrive.
    And when I read about your contracts, I was like wait a minute what am I doing wrong LOL

  13. Love it! This is gigantic! Nice job! Way to go! Amaz-balls! Woo hoo! And now as a mother figure, with open arms I say that I am so proud of you Chelsea and Brad. Hugs.

  14. Congrats Chelsea!! We paid off my student loans in June, and like you, it was our biggest debt. We’re celebrating by seeing Hamilton in Chicago this week 🙂 You and Brad should definitely do some sort of celebration too- that is a huge amount to pay off, and you deserve to relish it!
    I too would love to flip off Sallie Mae… 🙂

    1. Congrats! That’s awesome! And I’m super jealous of you seeing Hamilton. I hope you loved it! We’re getting excited about heading to New Orleans for our long weekend trip. It should be a lot of fun. 🙂

  15. WHAT!? Chelsea that’s so awesome! Congratulations! Can’t wait to hear more about the how on Wednesday. That is a huge chunk to pay in just three years.

  16. carol plant says:

    Big Congratulations to you both – i know its a lot of hard work but a task well worth taking on – looking forward to your ideas – i dont have a lot of debt but really want zero so maybe i can use some of your ideas – regards carol

  17. CONGRATS! I’ve been reading you blog for several years now. Such GREAT news! Can’t wait till Wednesday to read how you did it. Glad to know I’m not the only one who has debt.


  18. Congrats! That’s such a good feeling. Keep all the good content coming 🙂

  19. Congrats! It seems like a fantasy to so many of us. I literally can’t imagine. Can’t wait to hear details. In the meantime, that song is stuck in my head!!

    1. Thanks, Brittany! Yeah, it felt like a fantasy to us for years, too. But I’m so glad we buckled down and got it done. And yes, isn’t that song super catchy? Hah!

  20. Congratulations! Living debt free is amazing achievement. Well done.

  21. Alex Coulombe says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!! We’re on schedule to have our debt finally paid off by January and reading your post made me so excited!!

  22. Congratulations! I am so excited that you are sharing this with us and am Looking forward to your post on Wednesday. My husband and I choose to share our debt free news in 2014 because hearing success stories was a huge motivator for us. It rubbed a few people the wrong way but I know that being open about our journey encouraged more people than I ever thought possible. Currently our only debt is our mortgage and we can’t wait to be rid of that too. Thank you for showing us that it is possible to live debt free!

  23. GREAT job. It’s so hard to pass up vacations and new cars when everyone else is doing it.
    We hit our debt free (minus the mtg) goal right before we had Ben and we were THRILLED. Now we are saving our pennies to pay cash for our next family car. No more debt for us!! Congrats!

  24. Chelseeeeeeeea!!! I am jumping up and down, SO EXCITED for you guys! You worked like freakin’ animal and sacrificed like crazy and now you get to just soak up the new freedom. Feels pretty sweet, doesn’t it?! You earned it. The two of you set a crazy, major goal, and you FREAKING KILLED IT!!! I mean, this is MAJOR. Thanks so much for the AdThrive love, but YOU did this by working, sacrificing and producing amazing content that matters to people. This is all you, baby! I hope you guys celebrate like crazy!! SOOOO PROUD OF YOU!!!

  25. Congratulations! We are still working towards that, so it is always encouraging to hear yet another person meet their goal. Great work to you both!

  26. #GOALS! Haha. That’s so wonderful. I’m excited for you and your husband because I know what it feels like to be weighed down by debt, particularly student debt. Just being in a situation where I can comfortably make payments on the debt is a huge relief so I can imagine what it’s like to be free of it (and often do ??).
    That music video is hilarious and somehow hilariously motivating. I would have driven by Sallie Mae and flipped the bird, btw.
    Congratulations, and I hope you are able to enjoy the little bit of extra freedom now.

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