Julie’s Note: The following are stories of how people got out of debt. I hope you find them inspiring. For my family, one of the most successful tools we used in getting out of debt was found money.
In 2002, a twenty-something girl named named Karyn Bosnak took a new job in New York City and quickly ran up $20,000 in credit card debt.
When she decided to do something about it, she started a website to document her efforts and, frankly, beg for money. She called it Save Karyn.
As it turns out, Karyn was a pretty engaging girl and she told her story in a pretty entertaining way. She started attracting followers. So many followers, in fact, that over half her debt — $13,323.08 – was paid off through the donations of the people who read her site. The rest she paid off through a combination of eBay sales and cutting expenses.
People love a good story. And even something like personal finance – maybe especially something like personal finance — can be made more compelling when there’s a story behind it.
Karyn’s may not have been the first ‘get out of debt’ story to hit the web, but it was one certainly one of the earliest. And since then many have followed.
Here are some of the best I’ve run across:
- Jaime Tardy wanted to quit her job and start a family, but first she had to pay off her student loans,a car loan, and home equity loan. She and her husband sold one car, downsized another, and slashed as many expenses as they could. They also took on extra work. Yahoo Finance had Jaime tell her story in How to Erase $70,000 in Debt.
- Jenny Newcomer was looking for a way to pay off her student loans when a post-holiday cleanup inspired her to sell some of her family’s unnecessary stuff online. Once she decided to do it, she was a woman on a mission and was able to pay off $15,000 in 9 months.
- When Amanda Grossman graduated from college, she had $2000 in the bank and $36,000 in student loans. Six years later, she and her husband (who had his own debt) were debt-free. She tells how they went from a pile of debt to a positive net worth.
- Jason Topp started down the road to credit card debt the way a lot of people do: by signing up for his first credit card at a table on his college campus. He got a free t-shirt for signing up, but ended up with a $10,000 balance. Jason and his wife were able to pay off the debt in two years, but it involved Jason cleaning toilets.
- Dave Ramsey has inspired a lot of people to get out of debt, including Derek at Life and My Finances. After receiving Dave’s book, The Total Money Makeover, as a Christmas gift, Derek and his wife paid off $18,000 in debt and they did it fast. They also paid cash for a used car along the way. Here is their story.
So what happened to Karyn Bosnak after her debt was paid off? She went on to get a book deal based on her story (told you she was entertaining). I included her book, also called Save Karyn, in a summer reading post I did back in 2006.
Do you know a good story about how someone got out of debt? Maybe even your story? Tell us about it in the comments.