How We Paid off $50,000 of Debt in 1 Year


In May 2010, I married my dream girl. She was funny, beautiful and chock-full of 90’s TV trivia. Our first couple of dates consisted of a lot of Saved by the Bell and Seinfeld jokes.

Outside of knowing the Soup Nazi episode verbatim, Nicole and I both came into the marriage knowing the general basics of personal finance. You know, advice like:

  • “Don’t carry a credit card balance”
  • “Always have some savings for a rainy day”
  • “Good debt is okay to have”
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5 Major Money Mistakes I’ve Made (And How You Can Avoid Them)

Lately, I realized that I’ve been sharing a lot of really great things that are going on in my life (paying off our mortgage early, net worth wins and transitioning to my small business full-time). While that news fun to share and can be motivating for those of you reading my blog, I think it’s also important to share some of my money mistakes as well. 

That’s what the financial journey is all about. We’re not always hitting big wins all the time. There are a lot of mistakes, but those mistakes can sometimes be the biggest lessons and help us learn a lot.

And then there are mistakes that just really suck and you don’t learn anything from them!

Here are 5 major money mistakes I’ve made in my life. Hopefully, by sharing these money mistakes, it’ll help you avoid them in the future. 

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Avoid Holiday Debt Next Year With a Sinking Fund

Christmas is a time for fun, family, and giving. Unfortunately for some, the spending associated with this joyous time of year was bought on credit.

According to Magnify Money, this past season Americans with holiday debt added $1,325 of debt on average. Unfortunately for some, the pay off may not be until the next Christmas or even longer.

If we’re still paying off debt from last year’s Christmas, how can we enjoy this year’s Christmas?!

There’s a solution to this holiday debt conundrum and it’s called the Sinking Fund.

The best time to start one is NOW …

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7 Reasons Not to Buy a Home (When You’re In Debt and Have No Savings)

Our second question of the month comes in from Anonymous from our Thriving Families Facebook Community:


Hey Andy,

Should we wait until we’re debt-free in order to buy our first home knowing that we’ll be renting for at least the next two years? 

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15-Year Mortgage Paid Off in 5 Years

During late 2013 while I was traveling out-of-town for work, my wife Nicole found our “forever house”.

This home had everything she was looking for including an attached garage, open floor plan, updated kitchen, walk-in closet and a big backyard on a half-acre lot. She told me that this was THE ONE and as soon as I got home from out-of-town, I had to see it.

My wife has excellent taste and the majority of the time we are in sync. I wasn’t worried about liking it. I was worried about getting a BIG MORTGAGE to pay for it!

Honestly, I had been burned before. My first home purchase was a disaster. 

I bought more home than I could afford in 2004 and when the housing market tanked in metro Detroit around 2009, I owed more on the house than it was worth. I did not want to be in that position again. 

Surprisingly, when I got a look at the house Nicole found, I loved it too. It felt like home instantaneously. Even the neighbors were perfect.

We decided to go for it.

BUT… I had a few rules that we discussed to ensure we would pay off our mortgage in 5 years:

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Tiny Home Living and Minimalism Are Helping us Become Debt Free – with Jill Sirianni

According to a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders, more than half of Americans would consider living in a home that’s less than 600 square feet. And when you ask millennials the same question, that number jumps to 63%. So what’s fueling this interest?

Today, I’ve invited somebody on the show who lives in a 170 square foot tiny home with her husband and absolutely loves it.

Jill Sirianni is my guest today. She is a professional social worker and loves all things minimalism, tiny home living and debt freedom. She’s also the host of the Frugal Friends Podcast, which was nominated this year as the “Best New Personal Finance Podcast” by Plutus.

Her frugal advice and story has been featured in multiple popular podcasts, and recently, the Wall Street Journal.

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Living Paycheck to Paycheck on $100,000. How can we improve?

Our first question of the month comes in from Julie. Well, it’s really a half question/half statement but nevertheless, here we go …


Try this on: $92,000 income family with one baby.

We live in a crummy small 2 bedroom rental with poor heat and cracks in the walls. It’s on the edge of the city, the best balance of travel time to work vs price we could find.

My field (international aid/development) is generally in major cities and we like our secure jobs so not ideal to leave.

My round trip to work is 1.5hrs with driving our baby to daycare then transiting myself to work. If I transit all the way, it’s 2.5 hrs each way. If I drive all the way it’s $300+ in parking/month. There is no transit to my husband’s work so we need 2 cars.

Tell me how to do better.

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How We Got Motivated to Pay Off $40,000 of Debt Fast – with Regan and Ryan Whitlock

There’s a moment in people’s lives when they decide it’s time to become debt-free. For me and my wife, Nicole, it was when we learned we were going to be parents. For some, it’s when they get married, and for others, it’s just when they simply get fed up with owing people money.

Today, I’ve invited a couple who recently eliminated debt from their lives once and for all. Ryan and Regan Whitlock recently paid off $40,000 of debt in 8 short months. We’re going to find out their motivation for crushing this debt, so others can find their moment and their reason for becoming debt-free.

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132 Empowering Quotes about Money and Personal Finance

Over the 3 years on my podcast, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with a collection of millionaire entrepreneurs, early retirees and personal finance experts. These conversations have allowed me to learn, grow and inspire others to win with their finances and create a better future for their family.

After each episode, I share a quote that motivates me and the listeners of the podcast to take action.

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