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Jackie Paid Off $147,000 And Is Totally Debt Free!

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and your are the easiest person to fool." - Richard P. Feyman - Nobel Prize winning physicist

"Everything popular is wrong" - Oscar Wilde - The Importance Of Being Earnest


Once you've figured out how much debt you have and you resolve to do something about it, you enter into a whole new and exciting (sometimes daunting) realm of "figuring things out". You begin to see that it takes conviction, a strong "why", a plan, a budget and LOTS of encouragement to progress and ultimately to get out of debt. And as a coach, I've seen that one of the best ways for our students to stay motivated is to hear other people's stories, listen to their struggles and live vicariously through their wins.

This is the whole reason I started this "Journey To Debt-Freedom" series. I wanted to curate a reservoir of personal stories that will help you "find your own story" and keep marching forward toward your personal finance goals and ultimately to debt-freedom and beyond. 

Along those lines, if you have a "debt-free" or "on-my-way-to debt-free" story, I'd love to share yours with our audience. It's always such a gift to our subscribers and fans to hear your particular story AND will help you, especially if you have a a blog/platform/YouTube channel you want to promote (although that's not at all necessary).

Next up in our "Journey To Debt-Freedom" series, meet Jackie Beck!


Introduce yourself, Jackie.


I'm Jackie, and I'm a Gen X empty nester who lives in Arizona with my husband and our two dogs. I love traveling and helping others get out of debt.


Give me a little bit of background about your financial situation and your decision to "tackle it". Tell me about how much debt you've paid off so far and in how much time. What is your debt made up of?

Both my husband and I struggled with debt for years before getting together. We hated it, and wanted things to be different for us. So we started out by thoroughly discussing our finances and our goals. We decided on yours, mine, & ours finances, and things were going pretty well at first. We mostly just focused on making gradual improvements and not taking on new debt. Then I lost my job, and ended up being unemployed for nearly 4 years.

*That* experience convinced me that I never wanted to be in that situation again. I was determined to get out of debt, starting with my student loan. Along the way, my husband decided to do the same. Once we had the smaller debts paid off, we got the weird idea to pay off our house as well.

We became completely debt free (including our house) in August of 2012, after paying off more than $147,000. About $52,000 of that amount was consumer debt, which included my student loan, a car loan, a home improvement loan, and credit cards. We did things in stages, with each stage taking around 3 years, and breaks in between for trips to various places around the world. So altogether it took about 10 years.


Looking for a way to get started on your own debt-free journey? Check out my: 

 “Debt-Elimination Quick-Start Guide”. This free resource will have ALL the tools, forms and printables you’ll need while moving through this 30 day challenge.



What was "the moment" you decided, "enough is enough" and what actions did you take or resources did you use to get the process started?

Losing my job and not being able to find another one was the long moment. It was a huge struggle.

When I finally found a part time job I felt rich in comparison. (And I was! -- since I'd been living on as little as $200 a month in child support.)

So, the biggest actions I took were 1) committing to not borrowing again, 2) tackling one debt at a time by accidentally using the debt snowball method, and 3) increasing my spending a little from pretty much nothing.


Looking for a ways to live more frugally and address your debt? Check out my: 100 Frugal Ways To Save Money And Get Out Of Debt.


What was your "why"? What kept you going when you wanted to quit? How did you stay motivated?

I wanted freedom. Freedom from stress and anxiety, freedom to be able to buy anything I want at the grocery store, and the freedom to do the things I love in life.

Just remembering how I felt during those bad times was plenty to keep me motivated. I never wanted to quit because I NEVER wanted to feel that way again.


Describe your "belief system" about money and (if/how) has it changed? Maybe even talk about how you were brought up to think about money and how that changed as you progressed through the process.

I don't feel like my belief system about money has really changed. I've always viewed as a tool and a means to reach the goals that require it.


What have been the biggest/toughest sacrifices you've made in your personal finance/debt-elimination process?

Most of the sacrifices I made were not done as part of the debt elimination process; they were done so that I could still pay my share of the house payment, eat, and have gas money available in order to take my then young son to his dad's.

So I cut everything from the budget except those things, electricity, a cell phone, and a few Christmas gifts. Everything. After I finally got a full time job again and we'd reached the stage of paying off the house, as it got closer and closer we started to avoid spending on other things again.

That got more and more extreme the closer we got to having it paid off, because we could just taste it. For example, at one point the doorknob broke to the door we use most to enter the house. So we spent the rest of time walking around to another door rather than spend the $30 or so to replace that. I think we were counting down the hours to debt freedom or something :)


Describe how it feels to be debt-free. 

We've been debt free for a little over 8 years and it still feels AMAZING. Life is so much easier when you don't have debt hanging over your head. Of course there are still hard times, but they're not AS hard without that additional stress. Getting out of debt was one of the best decisions we've ever made.


This “$1000 In 30 Days Challenge and Resource Pack” is designed to help you find, cut and/or earn $1000 inside of 30 days so that you can: pay off debt with it, save it or invest it.

Here's the free downloadable/printable PDF.


What are some pieces of advice you would give to someone who's ready to get serious about tackling their finances?

Start small, start today, and keep going. You don't have to pay off a huge amount of debt in a short amount of time. You don't have to meet certain milestones. You just have to make PROGRESS.

And when you fall down, you have to get back up again and keep going. Everyone has setbacks. Acknowledge them, make changes as needed, and then keep going. Because it is 100% worth it.

And do really take the time to celebrate every small step along the way, with a little happy dance or something. Every little bit of progress is one step closer to your goal!


Where can we find you (website, social media, etc.)?

Website: https://www.jackiebeck.com/

Social media: @realJackieBeck

You can read many more details of our story at https://www.jackiebeck.com/paying-off-more-than-147000-in-debt/


Call To Action

Now that you've heard Jackie's story, maybe you're ready to take a closer look at a "framework" to start your own "journey to debt freedom". And, if you’ve hung out on this platform for any length of time, you’ll know I’m all about helping you to take action. And here are two very easy next steps to keep you moving in the right direction:

  1. Download our free PDF guide that goes along with this series: “Debt-Elimination Quick-Start Guide”. This has a very comprehensive and dedicated video on establishing your “why”.
  2. Head over to YouTube and start with the “Day 0” video. You can totally binge-watch the whole series if you want. That “first pass” will give you an idea of where you are and what it’s going to take for you to get to the next level with your own personal situation. And again, starting with your “why” is the absolute most important step.

I want for you to capitalize on any and all emotional momentum you’ve gotten from this piece of content by committing two just getting started by completing those two actions I mentioned above. If you’ve done that, congratulations, you’ve started! Now just follow the breadcrumbs and please let me know what’s helpful and what you might need more detail around.


What To Do After That

After you complete the "quick start", maybe you'll be ready to take a closer look at a "framework" to continue your own "journey to debt freedom". So, I want to offer you another completely free resource that will help you map out your money with even more confidence.

Ready to get total control over your money? Introducing My FREE 8 Steps To Erase Debt Guide

These are the steps I personally followed to obliterate $43,000+ of debt in 2.5 years

Maybe your number is bigger, maybe it’s smaller. Either way the principles are the same and I want you to have them.

  1. Stop All Retirement Investing (Until Step 4)
  2. Build A Budget
  3. Starter Emergency Fund of $1000
  4. Eliminate Debts Smallest To Largest (a.k.a The Debt Snowball)
  5. Full Emergency Fund of 3-6+ Months’ Expenses
  6. Invest A Minimum of 15% Income Into Retirement Accounts (and increase savings rate to 50%+ if possible)
  7. College Funding (if applicable)
  8. Pay Off The Home Mortgage
  9. Build Wealth, Serve, Be Ridiculously Generous And Go FI (Financial Independence)!

I’ve created a simple, easy to follow “8 Steps To Erase Debt” guide that you can use as your foundation as you navigate the absolute annihilation of your debt forever. 


Here are some additional options to help you accomplish your personal finance goals:

  1. Check out our YouTube Channel for "how to" video guides.
  2. Join our Zero Debt Tribe Community on Facebook, a group of friendly, like-minded personal finance enthusiasts, budgeting nerds, debt-eliminators and “FI-ers” who are there to help each other succeed? Click here to request to join for support and encouragement!
  3. Our library of Free Products & Printables.


What do you need help with the most right now?

And finally, I want to encourage you and challenge you to get started in this process. You can do this by downloading this blogpost as your guide. The downloadable pdf contains all the printable forms and instructions you need to get this process started.

So, I’d LOVE to hear from you. The biggest compliment you can give me as your coach is to share your progress and your takeaways in the comments below.

I wish you nothing but great success in your personal finance endeavors and please let me know how I can help you accomplish your goals.

To your freedom,


Your Virtual Money Coach

[email protected]

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click & make a purchase, I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) that helps keep Zero Debt Coach up and running. Read my full disclosure policy.


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