T Nation

Hoglovers Quest to Destroy Debt


Ok folks, I'm brainstorming here and I'm looking for some good ideas. This seems like a great place to get all kinds of feedback and ideas from all over the world.

My wife and I have decided that we are on a crusade to destroy our consumer debt. This includes everything except our house (which we'll attack in phase two). We're really fortunate in the fact that we don't have too much debt except for our student loans, which amounts to about $20,000. We've budgeted and planned for every dollar that comes through our hands.

We've decided that we're making the biggest cut in our "entertainment budget". This includes eating out, movies, vacation, etc... This will be quite a challenge but is doable. We figure that at our current earning level we should be able to pay down our debt within 18 to 24 months.

What I'd like to get from you folks is some good ideas on ways to earn extra money. Keep in mind I've already got a full time job and I'm in graduate school.

Please keep the jokes to a minimum as this is a serious question.

Thanks for your feedback.


Good for you. It seems that most people would rather just ignore their debt than do anything to make it go away.

If you haven't already, slice up the credit cards and make an effort to actually pay off some of the principal every month. Minimums are like 3% of the balance before interest.


I know a couple of independant contractors and pick up a few hours of labor here and there when I can.


I've heard some success stories of peopel selling stuff on ebay. if you can get consumer electronics at cost, you should be able to clear some $$ just by setting up the auctions, tracking payments and shipping em back out.

of course, you'd need to front some of the $$ in teh first place, and you'd also have to find a place to get teh electronics (or whatever) at cost


One thing you can do on the expense side is to take a few months and track every dollar you spend in a spreadsheet in a bunch of different categories like food, eating out, clothes, mortgage, phone, gifts, etc. Just by going through this habit you will be much more conscious of where your money is going.

After a couple of months, then you can consciously decide if you want to cut your spending in certain areas. Sometimes the small transactions can really add up to big amounts over time in certain categories. Many people are surprised how everything breaks out.


If you haven't already seen it, there is good info here



Check out http://consumers.creditnet.com/ and debtorboards.com Read, read then read some more and never look back.


Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

I cannot emphasize his ideas enough. Pick up Total Money Makeover, or even better, get it from the library (savin' money already :wink:) and read it. Do it. It works.

He's even got a talk show on XM that you can listen to on channel 165 if you've got it. You can even call in to get in depth advice from him.

You might not like what you hear, but if you follow it, you will be debt free, most likely in those 18-24 months you predicted. He talks about cutting out almost every "luxury" that you have, or at least can stand for these months. That sometimes includes your nicer, newer, usually unpaid for car that can be replaced with a $2500 beater for now.

His motto "Live like no one else now so you can live better than everyone else later" (or something like that) really rings true in this sense.

As for your grad school, is it going to [immediately] going to give you a raise or is it necessary to keep your current job? Or is it just something you wanted for the future? I ask because if its for the future, you might want to put it off for now until you're debt free.

As for earning extra cash, he says to do everything in your power, even if its something as simple as delivering pizzas for a while after your "real job."

Good luck, Hoglover. I'm sure this decision will make your life much easier and less stressful for the future.

PS, Jilly, did you hear about Dave Ramsey from Shugart's massachusetts seminar? I ask because thats where I heard of it.


Good stuff everyone. I'm going to have to disagree with the conditional advice to consider putting off grad school. Life tends to have a nasty habit of getting in the way if you put stuff like that off (from one grad student to another). At any rate, you're not bad off in debt, so you'll be fine.


learn to count cards and move to vegas.


Another Dave Ramsey fan here.


Funny you guys bring up Dave Ramsey. I'm a huge Dave Ramsey fan and have been taking in everything I can get of his lately. There's some good stuff on YouTube as well.

Here's the deal:

-Both my cars are paid off
-I have no credit card debt.
-Grad school is being paid for by my company
-We've got a couple medical bills we're paying off.
-Carpet that we 12 month financed (I know what Ramsey says about this but we really will have it paid for on time).
-Student loans in the big daddy. That's the one we'll be focusing on hardcore.

I talked to my wife about me getting a partime job but she's not too hip on me being away from home that much more than I already am. Of course it wouldn't be for that long. I think I could probably convince her if I tried hard enough. I'm way into this debt annihilation thing though.

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions.

Keep 'em coming.


I definitely agree with Aragorn, do not put off grad school.

A good plan i've heard is:

  1. Set a goal of "emergency cash" that you'll have in the bank. Pay the minimum payment on everything until you reach that "emergency cash" amount.

  2. Now that you have that cash in the bank, start paying the minimum payment on everything except your highest interest rate.

  3. Once that's paid off, move on to the next amount. But this time you're going to have more money to use to pay it off, because Debt #1 has been eliminated.

  4. Continue to use this method. It has kind of a snowball effect because as you pay more bills off you have more money to pay your next bill off. Eventually you have a large surplus of money to put towards your biggest bills (generally cars or houses). With the large surplus you apply it all to the principal and watch your debts decrease exponentially.


If it's going to hurt your family to pay off the debt, I don't suggest getting a part-time job. Between your full time job and grad school another part-time job would probably kill your family life.

If you can help it, I really would shy away from that idea.


Awesome. Keep going, then. I didnt know that.


No, actually Rainjack recommended it to me last year. I got the book from the library and thought it was great.

Personally, I need to create a family budget and have been procrastinating...

Hoglover, do you have kids? If not, then getting an extra job now would be a better time. If you do, you need to weigh the pros/cons of being away from your family more. What skills/background/education do you have (for ideas for a PT job)?


Yes, I've got one son that is about 2 1/2 years old. He's home with mom all day so I don't feel bad about him being at daycare all day and then not seeing me but I can see why my wife doesn't want me gone more than I already am. She needs a break too.

My career is in the IT (technology) field so I figured a part time job at Best Buy or something like that a couple days a week would probably fit my skill set perfectly. I'm also trying to think outside of the box a little bit as well.

I'd heard a co-worker of mine talk about how he had heard of a guy that did tech support over the phone for an overseas company in the evenings. So he worked his regular full time job and then worked another job from his home because he could do his work remotely from this home computer. This would be an ideal situation for me because it'd allow me to be at home and have a presence with my family but also be making some money.


Would it be possible for your wife to bring in another child or two to watch during the day? That might be preferable to you taking on another major commitment outside the house.

A friend just mentioned to me a couple of days ago that she pays $500 a month for part time daycare. Three days a week, I think, and her baby is...umm...one-and-a-half, maybe.


Dave Ramsey's plan works. You have to make sure both you and your wife are both on the same page. It takes tons of self discipline, but watching those credit card balances dwindle to 0 is more than enough motivation. Then the car gets paid off and you are even more motivated.

Do what you can to make extra money. I was very fortunate in that my part time job turned into a a very profitable business.

In less than a year, we owe no one. We pay cash for everything. Finally, Ihave the power - not the fucking bankers.

The best part of being debt free is the giving. Just the other day we were in our favorite all-you-can-eat pizza buffet and we saw a family that included 6 little kids. The parents were worn out - and you could tell that this was a special treat for both them and the kids. We gave them a $100 bill and told them to enjoy the day. Never knew their name.


hah, what an awesome idea. Never would have thought of that!

Don't know what the situation is like over in the states, but I have mates in the IT field over here in Aus who make a small fortune in cash jobs on home computers. They shoved some flyers in shopping centres offering computer building and maintenance services. They get plenty of work during the uni semester and most of it is as simple as running a couple of anti-spyware and anti-virus programs with the odd defrag and format job. Really easy tax-free work that is of surprisingly high demand - plenty of computer illiterate people out there! Best part is that hours are completely dictated by them - they work as much or as little as they want on a week to week basis.