39 Inspiring Stories of People Who Hustled Away Debt

June 20, 2016
You may be in debt up to your eyeballs and you have absolutely no motivation to pay any of it off. Don't worry because many have been there and they've overcome it. here are 39 inspiring stories of people who've hustled their way out of debt. Pin this so you can be inspired to do something about yours!
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Some of you are new to this idea of getting personal finance advice on the internet kinda thing. Because of this, you may be reluctant to believe that people are really out here busting their tails in these streets and becoming debt free. Well, I’m happy to tell you these stories are true! See, the internet does have some amazing qualities as it allows you to connect with other like-minded individuals so you can get yourself together financially.

I don’t know about many of you, but I don’t have many like-minded folks I can chat it up with face to face about money stuff. Therefore, many of us congregate here online and aren’t afraid to share our stories with each other. So if you’re new to this personal finance online thingy, don’t be alarmed. It can be done and it will continue to be done despite anyone’s lack of belief.

Today I want to share with you some amazing stories I’ve run up on about people who have hustled away debt and/or created a debt repayment plan that helped them become debt free. There are a lot of stories and I know you might not be able to read all at once, so feel free to pin/bookmark this wordy piece so you can receive a little inspiration later on. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on these stories.

39 Inspiring Stories of People Who Hustled Away Debt

How I Paid Off $80,000 of Debt in 3 Years, With a Salary Less Than $40,000

Have you all heard of Well, if you haven’t, make yourself acquainted with David. He took his debt by the horns and managed to knock out $80,000 of debt on a modest salary in 3 years! He worked a part-time job at Starbuck’s, blogged away debt, took surveys, refinanced loans, got roommates — all that good stuff. David hustled hard and he’s enjoying the benefits of debt freedom.

You can find out more about David on his website or on Twitter @moneyunder30

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5 Inspiring People Who Have Paid Off Over $100,000 in Debt

in this piece, one of my favorite stories is hearing how Cherie Lowe and her husband paid off $127,000 worth of debt (combination of student loans, medical, and credit card debt) under 4 years. What’s amazing about their story is the sacrifice they made to become debt free.

Give up meat — they did it. Give up restaurants — did that too. A lot of things I struggle with personally (I love food) helped them defeat their debt monster. In addition to that, they took on a lot of extra work to get the job done. These two hustled away some serious debt in the middle of parenthood… much respect!

You can find out more about Cherie on her site Queen of Free or on Twitter @thequeenoffree

How I Paid Off $68,000 in Student Loans in Less Than 5 Years

I have a few sheroes who have managed to hustle away their student loan debt, and Melanie is one of them. If you don’t know Melanie, she writes at Dear Debt and I discovered her around the time I became serious about paying off my student loans. Man, when I tell you that you will be amazed by her journey — seriously, mind blowing stuff!  

Girlfriend not only hustled as a writer, quit a job that was holding her back and moved to another city. She also got out there and did some additional offline hustling. I’m talking brand ambassador, house cleaning, helping out medical students… straight hustling, I tell ya! Thank you, Melanie, for writing and sharing your journey with us. You lit a fire under my ass and I’m going to have my debt free party one day soon and you’ll be first on my invite list 😉.

You can become acquainted with Melanie on Twitter @deardebt. Thanks to Student Loan Hero (@studentloanhero) for providing the platform for her to share her awesome story with so many others!

How I Made Extra Money to Pay Down My Debts and Save for The Future

Bridget. I like her a lot. She’s the writer over at Money After Graduation and she is a hardworking, debt free hustler. The thing I like about her is she didn’t have this hustle epiphany like I did, it’s sort of like she was born a hustler. She never turned down work and was never solely focused on maintaining one source of income after she graduated.

Unlike me, she had part-time gigs throughout college that supplemented her schooling costs and she maintained them after school. This is one thing I would do differently if I were in my twenties again. I would have hustled from the beginning. This is an admirable quality of a younger millennial and if you’re still in your twenties, I suggest you waste no more time. Go be like Bridget and stack your money.

To be more like Bridget, follow her on Twitter @beastgaard

How $24,000 in Side Hustle Income Has Helped Me Pay Off Debt

Erika of Newlyweds on a Budget shares her story of tackling $24,000 in debt over at Plunged in Debt. What impresses me is they were able to save $7,000 in 2 months!  This was initially going to be for a house but they decided to kick their student loan debt in the teeth and bring it down a notch or two. That was totally cool and what’s just as sweet is she was able to accomplish this because of those side hustles. I’m telling you, hustling away debt isn’t something that I just made up — folks are living this life and it’s the good life for sure.

Oh, and how cute is this — Erika’s husband’s name is Eric. (I’m a sucker for matching names, love, and stuff!)

Keep up with Erika on Twitter @NewlywedsBudget

How Millennial Newlyweds Paid Off $100,000 Debt and Took On A Side Hustle

Andrew and Veronica of Secondhand Millionaires have one heck of an interesting story they shared on Forbes.  Let me give you a quick rundown:

Student loans out the you know…

Andrew graduates and doesn’t want to be a nurse…

They create a new plan that involves a lot of hustle…

They pay back their debt…

They start living life on their own terms…

See, that was easy enough. I won’t get into the entire article because you all can read, but I want to mention a few things I like about their hustle that I wouldn’t mind trying in the future. First, they sold second-hand stuff. They simply went to estate sales or purchased used stuff and flipped it on Ebay for crazy profits. They ran up on some folks buying books and discovered you could sell those on Amazon. This hustle may very well be added to my list of hustle to do’s someday.

To further explore Veronica and Andrew’s journey, follow them on Twitter @2handmillionair

Goodbye Student Loan Debt

So you remember when I said I have a couple of sheroes who have paid off their student loan debt by hustling? Well, Amanda from Dream Beyond Debt is another shero who just paid off her last student loan this year. Not only did Amanda hustle, she lived well below her means. She had to convince herself to make certain purchases on certain occasions, but her discipline was worth it. She was also able to achieve another dream this year of purchasing a home. I’m so happy she was able to achieve both within a year’s timeframe. Go on head, Amanda, with your bad self!

Here’s another article by Amanda on Northern Expenditure that I thoroughly enjoyed. You’ll hear all about her hustles in this one!

Keep up with Amanda and her latest challenge on Twitter @dreambeyonddebt

$50,000 Debt Slayed in Less Than 2 Years

I discovered Sandy’s blog a few years ago and I always said to myself, “Dang, she bad!” I literally sat in amazement when I read her story on how she was able to pay off $50,000 in less than 2 years. But get this —  that isn’t the catch. The most interesting part about her story is that she was unemployed for 6 months and worked as a temp for 9 months out of those two years. Enough said. She bad. You should go read about it as she spells out her strategy and what worked for her.

Stay in touch with Sandy over on Twitter @YesIamCheap

Adios Student Loan Debt – How I Paid Off $30,000 in 10 Months

I had a huge aha!” moment when I realized I couldn’t take a job at a non-profit, and definitely, couldn’t start my own business because I had debt to pay. The debt was making decisions for me, instead of me making my own decisions.” – Whitney Hansen

Now wasn’t that deep?  I like it because Whitney was able to see right away that debt was a problem and she took issue with this annoying thing telling her she had to make a $300 payment versus saving $300 for a vacation. Whitney’s plan for paying off her debt was clever too.

Most people will take on a side hustle or part-time job and use that money to pay off their debt. Nah. Whitney remained employed at a nail spa after she landed an accounting gig. She lived off the lesser income (nail spa) and used her accounting paycheck to aggressively pay off her debt. Impressive.

Whitney writes at Whitney Hansen and you can find this clever lady on Twitter @whitneyhansenco

Debt Success Stories: Grayson Paid Off $65,000 in Debt

Grayson Bell of Debt Roundup just got fed up like many of us who have started on this hustle away debt journey. He was in debt to a tune of $65,000 and he wanted to be free from it. It wasn’t an easy journey for him and it took him 4 years, but he persevered. Celebrating mini milestones with dinners and frugal vacations paid for in cash helped keep his spirits lifted during his hustle season.

This is just one of his compelling interviews he did with Hayley from Disease Called Debt, so make sure you head over to Debt Roundup and get to know him better. Click here to read more Debt Success Stories featured on Disease Called Debt.

Keep in touch with Grayson @Debtroundup

How this couple paid off $60,000 of debt in one year

Dawn and her husband had a total of $128,000 in debt and were able to kill $60,000 of that debt within one year. They followed Dave Ramsey’s plan and initially encountered  few setbacks on their journey. After creating a better plan, though, they were able to achieve their dream. I like many of the things they included in their new plan to get out of debt.

Some of those things were making their own laundry detergent, eating out only when they had a gift card, shopping garage sales, selling things (newer car), and cutting their grocery budget. The most important thing they did was managing their budget. This isn’t a story of side hustle glory, but it is an inspiring one of living within your means and how that can help you achieve debt freedom just the same.

How Jessica and Her Husband Paid off $175,000 of Debt

Jessica and her husband own their own business and they managed to pay off $45,000 in non-mortgage debt in two years. The other $130,00 was dumped when they decided to get rid of their mortgage and sell their home. They utilized multiple strategies and followed the Ramsey method, but ultimately accelerated their debt payoff by learning to live on one income. So, in addition to hustling and taking on extra work, folks are out here paying off serious debt on one income. Don’t tell me it ain’t possible.

How These 17 People Paid off $1,000,000 of Debt in 4 Years

Yeah. Well, I could summarize this one, but Richard from Frugality Magazine does it for me. Here are 17 more examples of people hustling and working their way out of debt.

Follow Richard on Twitter @frugalitymag

Success Over 6 Figure Debt

For those of you who like to listen to podcasts, check out Brian from Debt Discipline during an interview as he discusses his journey to debt freedom. Brian started with over $100,000 in debt back in 2010. One thing I like about their journey, they included the kids in the conversation. Y’all know I like talking kids and money, so this was super exciting to hear. For those of you who prefer, you can read about their journey at Debt Discipline.

Also, follow Brian on Twitter @DebtDiscipline.

10 Things We Did to Pay Off Our $90,000 Mortgage in 5 Years

These frugal folks paid off their $90,000 mortgage in 5 years! The bought a fixer-upper in a cheaper part of the city, buckled down, put in a lot of work, and got off from under the burden of debt. This isn’t a hustle story, but I like to present a well-rounded view of different approaches to paying down debt.

See, what sets these folks apart is they had a plan and they stuck with it. They drove cheaper cars, used one cell phone, allocated bonuses for debt, and all of that good stuff. Basically, the point is, create a debt repayment strategy regardless of whether it includes a side hustle or not. Whatever your plan is, work it until you’re debt free.

You can follow Thrifty Frugal Mom @FrugalMomL

We Were Tired of Being Broke So We Paid Off $52K in 7 Months

When I read this testimony by Chris of Money Peach, I like to think of The Millionaire Next Door. In The Millionaire Next Door, the authors categorize some individuals as under accumulators of wealth and that is exactly how Chris and his wife appear to begin their journey (Please note: This is not shade. Just observation from reading their testimony. Please don’t go around talking about Latoya is throwing shade at Chris and ‘nem. Please, don’t).

See under accumulators of wealth are only concerned with looking wealthy and spend most of their time and effort on purchasing material things versus planning their money. Chris had a wake-up call when his wife called and couldn’t purchase groceries because there was no money in their account.

Since that moment, they worked together to pay off $52,000 in less than a year. They created a budget, a debt repayment plan, and said goodbye to their paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. My guess is that they’ve managed to get away from that under accumulator status and begin their journey towards obtaining financial freedom.

If you want to continue to follow Chris and his wife on their money journey, follow them @themoneypeach

How to Pay off Debt on a Smaller Income

Sharing her story with Deacon over on Well Kept Wallet, Kara of From Frugal to Free is a bonafide hustler. She hustled her way out of $25,000 on a very low income. To become debt free, Kara cut her spending, saved gifted monies, and took on plenty of gigs to pay off her debt. Her side hustles include social media, writing, and homegirl was even on that late night hustle — catering events. The quite impressive thing is how her catering gig did more than pay her, it fed her. Yep, frugality at its best. (Kara, I would have saved me some food too, girl.)

For more adventures with Kara, follow her @frugaltofree

How a Family Stretch 1 Home into 3: Becoming Debt Free and Creating Income

Another non-hustle story in a sense, but it is a good read. Victoria sadly lost her father and inherited a rather large sum of money. While it’s not the way any of us would want to receive a monetary blessing, Victoria and her family did not blow this money. They strategically used it to start what you could call a hustle, but it’s more of a passive income stream. Basically they are renovating their 3rd home which they paid for in cash. This home will become their second income property.

To keep up with Victoria, follow her @SnailPaceTrans

How I Paid off $46,500 of Student Loans in 2 Years

Last, Even Steven shares over on Budgets Are Sexy how he got out of $46,000 in debt in 2 years. The reason I love this story because ole Steven started out like me. Scared as hell of paying those student loans. He admits he struggled to pay off his loans initially because they were too big. I felt the same way and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get intimidated by that number every now and then. However, Even Steven quickly dusted himself off and came up with a plan to kick debt in the throat (I’m not violent, btw). Some of his hustles included retail arbitrage and job promotions.

Follow Even Steven on Twitter @evenstevenmoney and for more debt free stories and excellent side hustle ideas, keep up with J Money on Twitter @budgetsaresexy


Any of you got an amazing debt free story? If you do and you’ve shared it online, feel free to drop the link in the comments! Also, follow our Hustle to Freedom Group Board for more inspiring stories!


Here are a few ways to get your hustle on! If you’ve never considered signing up for surveys, I think you will find it easy to earn a few extra bucks just for answering questions. There are reputable survey sites, you know!

Try some of these:

Harris Poll Online – You will earn points for every survey you take and you even earn for surveys you aren’t qualified for. Once you’ve accumulated enough points, simply redeem! Sign up for Harris Poll Online here!

American Consumer Opinion – This company is another reputable company that allows you to earn for every survey you take. The more surveys you take, the more you earn. Don’t think you have time? Take them while you binge watch Netflix. No excuses. Sign up for American Consumer Opinion here.

Swagbucks – Get your swag on with Swagbucks. I’ve probably been with this site the longest and you can earn swagbucks many different ways. You can earn by taking surveys, watching videos, doing internet searches, and finding swag codes. Reedem your swagbucks for gift cards and thangs. Sign up for Swagbucks here.

Vindale Research – I’ve been sleeping on this company and I’ve got to get with it, but their payouts are AWESOME! Earn up to $100 on some surveys if you’re lucky. $5, $10, $15 wouldn’t hurt either. Of course, once you earn enough you redeem for rewards. Sign up for Vindale Research here.

Opinion Outpost – Opinion Outpost is very straightforward. You take surveys and you earn points. Once you’ve reached a certain amount of points, you can redeem those for cash paid out via PayPal or gift cards from Amazon and other vendors. Sign up for Opinion Outpost here.


You may be in debt up to your eyeballs and you have absolutely no motivation to pay any of it off. Don't worry because many have been there and they've overcome it. here are 39 inspiring stories of people who've hustled their way out of debt. Pin this so you can be inspired to do something about yours!

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich and, Disease Called Debt*

Latoya Scott
CFEI/Social Entrepreneur
Latoya Scott is a Certified Financial Education Instructor and personal finance writer with a mission to help millennials learn how to stop living paycheck to paycheck so they can become financially carefree.

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  • Victoria June 20, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Thanks for mentioning my story!

    • Latoya Scott June 21, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      You’re welcome, Victoria:)

  • Melanie @ Dear Debt June 20, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Thanks for including me! 🙂
    Melanie @ Dear Debt recently posted…Thinking of Going to Grad School? You Might Need Life InsuranceMy Profile

    • Latoya Scott June 20, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      You’re welcome, Melanie!

  • Kristia @ Family Balance Sheet June 20, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Thanks for including one of my posts!

    • Latoya Scott June 21, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      You are very welcome, Kristia! 🙂

  • Becky@Frametofreedom June 21, 2016 at 10:18 am

    These are inspiring stories for sure Latoya! Thanks for sharing! I thought I would add our story just because we are super proud of it. We paid off $78,000 of debt in 17 months through hard work and determination. That was a few months back now and I will probably update that in a couple more months but it is so exciting and in every one of these stories, these people worked their butts off to get their debts paid. Thanks for posting! Such a great idea!!!

    Here is our link:
    Becky@Frametofreedom recently posted…32 Reasons to Step Out of Your Comfort ZoneMy Profile

    • Latoya Scott June 21, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      Way to go, Becky! I love hearing other people’s success story. When you grow up around folks accepting defeat in regards to debt it is refreshing to know that there is inspiration out there. You just have to look for it.

  • Chonce June 21, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Great round up Latoya! All of these stories help inspire me to pay off my debt. Debt repayment can be a long and tedious journey at times, so I love getting motivated to keep pushing forward.
    Chonce recently posted…How to Find the Energy to Side HustleMy Profile

    • Latoya Scott June 21, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      I know right! The struggle can definitely be real on this journey, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Rooting for you and I can’t wait to see you cross that finish line!

  • DC @ Young Adult Money June 21, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Wow quite the list! And you know I love “Hustling Away Debt” haha 😉 I actually haven’t written about my personal story in this regard, besides my book, so I may have to address the topic in the future.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…How Qmee Can Help You Make Extra MoneyMy Profile

  • Thias @It Pays Dividends June 22, 2016 at 12:18 am

    Such a great list of amazing stories! We finished paying off our student loans last June! In total, we paid off $54k in 4.5 years but the final $36k came over the final 8 months. Here is my post about how we did it!

    • Latoya Scott June 22, 2016 at 9:37 am

      Wow!!! Yes, that is quite a feat there! Congratulations, Thias and thanks for sharing your story!

  • FinanceSuperhero June 22, 2016 at 2:31 am

    These stories are incredible! Thanks for compiling them into a list. It feels good to know that others are crushing debt.

    Here is my story:

    • Latoya Scott June 22, 2016 at 9:37 am

      Thank you, glad you enjoyed! And thanks for sharing your story with us!

  • Lisa June 22, 2016 at 11:18 am

    It is so nice to know that we aren’t alone on our journey to paying off debt. I really enjoy reading other’s stories, I find them motivational!

    I can’t wait for the day to read your story too!
    Lisa recently posted…Appreciation versus Depreciation and Why You Need to Know the DifferenceMy Profile

    • Latoya Scott June 23, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      It sure is! Thanks so much, Lisa. I sure as heck can’t wait to write that story:)

  • Harmony@CreatingMyKaleidoscope June 22, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Thanks for putting together this list! I hope to have a similarly amazing debt payoff story within the next couple of years. But, for now, we did a pretty good job of paying off more than $20,000 of debt in 2015 . . . while having our third baby, taking an extended maternity leave, and putting a new roof on our house. Here’s the link:

    • Latoya Scott June 23, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      You go, girl! That’s amazing! We had a little one last year too and I was on extended maternity leave as well:)

  • Amanda @centsiblyrich June 24, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Great list! I love reading inspirational stories like these. Proof that it can be done. Our story continues (we still have a mortgage), but the story of how we tackled over $100,000 in student and consumer loans is here:
    Amanda @centsiblyrich recently posted…Weekend Money Tip: Save more money with DigitMy Profile

    • Latoya S June 24, 2016 at 5:46 pm

      Thanks for sharing more inspiration with us, Amanda!

  • Jen @ Frugal Millennial June 26, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    There are some blogs here that I already love, and some that I will be checking out! Thanks for this inspiring list!
    Jen @ Frugal Millennial recently posted…4 Ridiculous Wedding Etiquette Rules that Need to ChangeMy Profile

  • Latoya June 26, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    You’re welcome, Jen!
    Latoya recently posted…How to Earn Passive Income on EtsyMy Profile

  • Amy July 12, 2016 at 8:33 am

    This list is so inspiring! I’m currently working on paying off my student loan debt as well and should be done with it in about 4 months. I’ve been working two jobs for the past year and a half and living with my parents so I don’t have to pay rent or most bills. Working 60-70 hours a week is exhausting and I miss having personal time, but I know it will all be worth it when I’ve kicked my student loans to the curb!

    • Latoya Scott July 12, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Yay! That’s so awesome! Yes, it will totally be worth it to get rid of those pesky suckers:) Rooting for you to the finish line!