For a long time, I read personal finance books and blogs, but still felt hopeless about my $48k of student loan debt. But toward the end of last year, I started thinking about what I wanted to change. The first, and biggest, change I wanted to make was in my financial life. I wanted the debt eliminated for good. I entered the words “pay off student loan debt” into a search engine and happened upon a few blogs that inspired me to take the plunge. After years of reading about coupon tips or how to save 10% of my income, etc. etc., I was finally in the right frame of mind to believe it was possible to pay off my debt. I would not have believed it, or made my first big payment, without the help of these sites.
1. Dear Debt
When I stumbled across Melanie’s story, it had been YEARS since I read “personal” personal finance blogs. I was completely taken with the honest and authentic voice, as well as her perseverance in the face of $81k in student loan debt. She started blogging because she was having trouble finding a job after graduate school – a job that would help pay off those loans. Over the course of her blog, though, she got a job, grew her side income, attended FinCon, and now works for herself. Her blog is about “breaking up with debt.” It sheds light on the complicated, often toxic, relationship we have with debt. She invites other folks who struggle with debt to send her their breakup letters with debt. It’s a cool way to declare your intention, and make a supportive friend in the personal finance community.
I immediately liked the tagline of this site, which is “Debt. It’s not forever.” I spent a long time thinking that I’d NEVER make enough money to pay off this debt. Reading the success stories on this site made a HUGE difference. I hope to contribute to that list of debt payoff success stories some day.
It was also eye-opening to see how Jackie, the woman behind The Debt Myth, paid off not only credit card and student loan debt, but also MORTGAGE debt. She and her husband are completely debt free. Their story really shifted my perspective in terms of debt. You don’t have to be in debt. You just don’t.
Readers of The Debt Myth are invited to join a private Facebook group for additional discussion and support. I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful. Jackie checks in often, and is very consistent in her advice to keep your eye on debt freedom. Because it’s possible.
Michelle paid of $40k in student loans in something like seven months. I knew I wanted to pay off my debt quickly, and I was intrigued by both the amount of her loan AND the amount of time it took her to eliminate it. I devoured this blog, studying everything she did in order to make extra money and pay off her loan quickly. One thing she did: she started a blog, which eventually allowed her to quit her job and work for herself. The student loan is almost an afterthought on the blog now, which I appreciate. I aspire to that – to having paid off my loan quickly a small part of my personal finance story and not the whole, entire point of it. The site now talks about other money topics – including savings and extra income. It truly does speak to those who want to “make sense” of money.
I call this “the Holy Grail of personal finance blogs.” The guy behind it calls it “an advanced personal finance blog.” I agree. I’m not ready to work on early retirement yet, but that’s because I’m still working on paying off my DEBT EMERGENCY. His post on how you should view your debt as a giant, flaming emergency was life-changing. It changed the way I saw my debt. I keep going back and re-reading that post because it is so damn good. I mean, there’s helpful stuff all across this blog, but if you’re in debt or don’t know where to start, then start here.
5. Wise Bread
Okay, so it’s not a blog written by one person, but it does have a lot of helpful articles about paying off debt. I leaned heavily on the debt payoff success stories on Wise Bread before I finally felt ready to take the leap. I’m also a big fan of the articles by Philip Brewer – they’re personal growth oriented, and I appreciate that angle. I can’t get interested in money, it seems, unless I understand how it works emotionally and spiritually in my life – maybe because it drained me both emotionally and spiritually for so long.
Check out Wise Bread’s articles on side hustles AND their weekly roundups of best personal finance articles from around the internet. I still check WB daily to see what’s in store, and there’s almost always a fresh article. It doesn’t disappoint.
One more tip for getting the most out of WB: leave comments on the “Ask the Readers” posts. When they say you can win a $20 Amazon gift card, they’re not lying. I won recently, and the transaction was prompt. I was even reminded to keep commenting, because there’s no limit to the number of times you can win. WB uses Rafflecopter to randomly select a winner from the comments, so you don’t have to worry about writing a winning essay in order to qualify. Just answer the question, and you’re immediately entered.
These are the five sites that pushed me over the edge.
When I was considering a big debt payoff project, I kept reading these blogs obsessively. Without them, I may not have made the leap. I’m incredibly grateful that these fine individuals started their own journeys, and decided to share them with others.
What about you? What are the blogs/sites that inspired you to take action?