Meet Jeremy. Jeremy is happily married to his wife Winnie (who is expecting their first child), lives in beautiful Taiwan, and travels the world. Jeremy is also retired – and he was only 38-years old when he did it.
What’s his secret? Well, he didn’t win the lottery and he wasn’t the beneficiary of a large inheritance. No, Jeremy wasn’t much different than your average college graduate. He was optimistic about life, excited to stop eating Ramen Noodles for every meal, and he was in debt – about $40,000 to be exact.
What made Jeremy different was his attitude toward debt. Understanding that the average college graduate will pay off their student loan principal and interest over the course of 15-18 years, Jeremy decided he didn’t want to live the next twenty years with this debt hanging over his head. Jeremy did it in just five years!
“About 99% of my debt was student loan and credit card debt from being in college. I knew all along I didn’t want to be in debt because I grew up very poor and saw that people who had a lot of debt just weren’t happy.”
“I graduated and got a job as an engineer making about $40,000 per year, which seemed great, but not compared to the piling amount of interest my debt was acquiring on a daily basis. So I made the decision that I would dedicate myself to paying off these loans and debt.”
This moment of decision isn’t uncommon for people like Jeremy. Most people in tough financial situations come to a breaking point where enough is enough. He describes that moment as a moment of commitment and he was ready to make any sacrifice.
“At this point in paying off debt, there is always a trade off. It meant making those daily decisions, ‘Do I buy this cup of coffee or do I pay off my debt?’ I was always sacrificing something short term but I knew what I ultimately wanted.”
“By living in a small apartment and in an old building, walking and biking instead of owning a car, and preparing most of my meals in my own kitchen, I was able to save a large percentage of my income. Instead of buying things and services, I learned new skills that reduced my expenses even further.”
Jeremy changed the way he looked at money and he got creative.
“At that time, I would habitually throw away credit card offers in the mail, however, I caught a glimpse of a credit card offer and decided I would make credit work for me – not against me.”
“The offer stated that for the first year, the card would be interest free. I used it to pay my student loans that year and it saved me 7.5% interest on a $40,000 loan for an entire year! I made some serious progress on paying on my debt.”
Their trick is simple. Jeremy and his wife are meticulous about tracking of every dollar they spend and every dollar they earn. To climb his way out of debt, Jeremy used spreadsheets to categorize his budget and allocate funds from his income – the same principles of envelope budgeting. When it comes to living within their means, Jeremy and his wife are masters.
“My wife and I don’t even think about money anymore. Not that money isn’t an issue, it has just become such a routine habit – a lifestyle – that we don’t even have to think about it anymore.”
Jeremy and Winnie enjoy the retired life and continue to make sound financial investments and spending decisions, but they are reminded that life wasn’t always this great. It is their memory of the past that keeps them looking forward.
The same tools, habits and hacks that Jeremy used to escape debt aren’t obsolete and they can be learned. Download Mvelopes to start building your FREE budget, or take advantage of the premium services with tutorials, E-books, downloads, videos and more.
To read more about Jeremy’s story, visit his blog http://www.gocurrycracker.com/