September Super League Check-In: How have you been destroying your debt?

Debt Destroyers Super League

Blown away! I think that accurately describes our response to all the amazing readers who have joined the Debt Destroyers over the last few weeks.

During the month of August, we spread the word via social media and word of mouth – but nothing could have prepared us for the excitement we felt every time a new name popped up in our inbox.

Not only are we happy to be adding new members, we’re excited to be sharing their inspirational goals and motivating stories with you. Below, we’ve compiled an incredible group of unique individuals all sharing a common goal: beating their debt.

The idea behind it is that sharing our goals publicly can help us all stay motivated and focused!

But before we introduce our newest members, let’s catch-up with the participants from the first round of Debt Destroyers and check-in on their progress:

 This Month’s Progress Updates:

MaloriName: Malori Fuchs
About Me: I’m 26 years old and live in Frisco, TX. I work in marketing/sales in downtown Dallas, and I also am a writer/blogger in my free time. (That is my passion!) I am an Army wife to CPT Mark Mayor, who is currently deployed to Afghanistan.
My Goal: Pay off as much student loan debt possible before Mark returns in the spring of 2014, when we will have our church wedding/reception and then move to Arizona.
My Challenge: I am naturally NOT a spender, so saving most of my income every month for paying off debt is not very hard for me. However, in less than a year Mark and I will be moving to a new duty station and I will need a job so I can continue paying off debt. So I need to keep developing my writing and also begin making contacts in Arizona for jobs.
My Progress Update:

Things That Were Awesome:
I paid $2,000 on my debt!!  I originally budgeted a little less than that, but because I came under-budget with my transportation allotment, I was able to pay a little more!  I came under-budget because 1) I took public transportation (light rail train) almost every day to work; and 2) I had a free monthly pass because I was a beta tester for the new Dallas Area Rapid Transit smartphone app.  If I don’t take the train, it is 66 miles roundtrip for my job.  So gas adds up pretty quickly!  I also did not spend anything on clothes, despite the sales during tax-free weekend.

Things That Were Challenging:
I am good at budgeting my money, but I decided to also start budgeting my time more intentionally.  I began reading the book 168 Hours and realized that I can tighten things up a LOT – like not checking Facebook or e-mail while doing my at-home work.  The more efficient I am, the more time I will have to devote to earning extra money and developing my writing.

Benjamin FeldmanName: Benjamin Feldman
About Me: I’m a writer at ReadyForZero. I like basketball, non-spicy food, and connecting with people both online and offline, including all our great ReadyForZero blog readers.
My Goal: Save at least 15% of my money every month so I can build a financial cushion and have a greater sense of financial security.
My Challenge: Stop eating lunch at restaurants and bring it from home instead.
My Progress Update:

Things That Were Awesome:
I’ve been surprised at my persistence in bringing lunch from home over the past month. On Sundays it’s now become a habit to think about what ingredients I’ll need for lunches and what I should plan to take to the office. And it’s making a difference! I was able to meet my goal of saving 15% of income in August, while buying lunch out only about 4 times.

Things That Were Challenging:
What I’m finding hardest is that lunch is such a social thing and every month there are many times when I want to eat with coworkers or friends who are visiting. These are the times when I end up buying lunch even if I already brought something from home. Maybe this month I’ll try bringing my bag lunch even when eating with others and see if I can get the best of both worlds that way!

ClaireName: Claire Murdough
About Me: I’m a Bay Area native recently returned from a year living in/around Beijing. I like chocolate, gummy bears, chocolate covered gummy bears, and of course… writing!
My Goal: Going full force against my student loan debt while also pumping up my emergency fund.
My Challenge: No coffee out, no individual servings (yogurt, granola bars, etc).
My Progress Update:

Things That Were Awesome:
Did not spend a single penny on single serving containers! Everything I bought was in bulk, and in an amount I knew I could eat before having to worry about food spoilage. It actually made a substantial impact on my food budget. I’ve always been scared to make “bigger” purchases at the grocery store, but I’ve realized that the collection of $1-2 were costing me more in the long run.


Things That Were Challenging:
I gave into the pressure of getting coffee out – multiple times. What’s made this part of the challenge difficult is the fact that I like the experience of going to coffee in the morning just as much as I actually like drinking the coffee. I always make a cup at home in the morning, so it’s not a matter of coffee caffeine – it’s a matter of social caffeine! Definitely set me back though. I made Shannon take this photo of my moment (sadly one of many) of weakness to remind me that I felt guilty.

ErinName: Erin Lowry
About Me: I founded the blog #Broke Millennial and also co-founded the site In my day job I work in PR for a mid-size agency in Manhattan. When I’m not writing about money, I am trying to plan my next great travel adventure or exploring all New York City has to offer.
My Goal: Learn more about investing and always save 10% of every paycheck.
My Challenge: Plan out meals better so I avoid buying too many groceries and having to throw away bad produce.
My Progress Update:

What Was Awesome:
I reached out to Twitter followers and other personal finance bloggers for advice about how to avoid wasting produce. A few mentioned making sure all the food was in eyesight instead of putting fruits and vegetables in the crisper drawer. I noticed this really helped me remember all the food I had purchased and made sure I utilized it before it went bad.

What Was Challenging:
While I became better at planning out my meals for the week, I would occasionally change plans midweek and eat out with friends. This lead to once or twice where I spent money eating out when I already had a meal prepared to eat.

profileName: Shannon
About Me: I’m originally from Ohio and new(ish) to the Bay Area from New York. I love reading, writing, volunteering, and football. I have a weakness for coffee and chocolate chip cookies.
My Goal: Stick to a spending plan that my new husband and I can agree on with a focus on saving for retirement and paying off student loans.
My Challenge: Pack my lunch daily and buy no more than one coffee per day.
My Progress Update:

Things That Were Awesome:
Without really meaning to, I stopped buying coffee. I was already bringing my coffee in the morning which got me down to buying only one coffee a day. However, a recent desire to get healthier had me on a mission to break the habit of two a day coffees – and for the past few weeks it’s been sticking! Now I’m saving even more money than intended!


Things That Were Challenging:
Up until my birthday I did a really good job of packing my lunch daily – except for the team lunch days when I wasn’t a big fan of the catered lunch. That means I’d still buy a lunch once a week. I know I should start packing on those days too, but I’m afraid of wasting food if I do end up eating the catered lunch, as I do probably 8 times out of 10. Then my birthday hit and I ended up eating lunch out that day and the next day since I had less time to pack a lunch at home. D’oh.

NatashaName: Natasha Gaiski
About Me: I’m a blogger at Refuse to Be Broke and Job Search 3.0. I love reading, Indian food, and the color red.
My Goal: Save at least 10 dollars for the future after every paycheck.
My Challenge: Be open to spending more money on items that will cost more, but last longer.
My Progress Update:

Things That Were Awesome:
In August, I  went on a trip and spent very little money for souvenirs. I was really proud of this because I strive to live minimally. Mission accomplished on the trip :). I am able to save more money by this lack of buying material luxuries. My bumper sticker is interesting, but I am glad to exchange material goods for great memories. The saving mission is strengthened by my effort.

Things That Were Challenging:
Well, eating out is expensive. I guess my lack of eating out makes me more susceptible to paying full price for meals. I did order water, which is a great way to be frugal. It’s hard to save when you go out to eat and end up spending more than you would think. I need to work on saving money aside for my rare restaurant runs and plan ahead.

I really need to check out email updates and specials for eating out. I also can save more money by keep this issue in mind.

HollyName: Holly Keas
About Me: I work at a 9-5 job that deals in parts for the Aerospace Industry.  But my real love is writing, my ceramics and just about anything creative.  I run a D&D game that meets monthly, love spicy Indian and Thai food and hanging out with my wonderful friends.
My Goal: Put at least $50.00 more each month to my largest credit card and put at least 25.00 each paycheck into savings and increase as each debt is paid off.
My Challenge: I am an impulse spender.  I really need to stop and think about what I am buying and if I really need it.  Also, take my lunch to work everyday.  And really budget how much Hubby and I spend on going out to dinner.
My Progress Update:

Well, I am bringing my coffee from home to work everyday and I only bought lunch once-a-week for this whole month.  Now, just to curb the penchant for going out to dinner 3 or 4 times a week.  We were really bad last week and went out 3 times and 3 times on the weekend alone.  You don’t realize how this adds up till you see it coming out of your bank account or accumulating on the credit card.  So far this week we have made dinner at home.  We need to set a budget of a certain amount for going out, then stick to that.  When that money runs out, no more going out to eat.


Inspired? Become a member of the Debt Destroyers Super League today!

And now… introducing our newest Debt Destroyers!

Name: Roxie
About Me: 37 year old teacher who recently maxed out credit cards AND acquired a car payment all at once. I went from feeling financially free, and able to buy/do what I wanted to being back to the old days of living paycheck to paycheck and scraping together money for food. I’m also in a semi-long-distance relationship that requires me to spend more money than I have on gas. I went from one tank every 3 weeks to two tanks a week!”
My Goal: Pay off my credit cards.
My Challenge: To live within my paycheck. That way, when I work extra jobs and get some money on the side, it goes to paying off the credit cards, and not to “catching up” on my bills.

Stay tuned for Roxie’s update next month!

Name: Debtfreeoneday
About Me:
I run a blog called A Disease Called Debt which I started to document our family’s journey to become debt free. We need to pay back thousands of pounds of debt. We have a very long way to go but at last we’re heading in the right direction.”
My Goal: Having been in debt for 14 years, the hubby and I had our lightbulb moment earlier this year. We really want to be debt free more than anything. This would be the greatest feeling ever!
My Challenge: To eliminate the debt on a credit card that has been part of our lives for 10 years. We’re halfway there and our challenge is to pay this off by Christmas. (£3675 left to clear on this one). Plenty more challenges to follow after that though.

Stay tuned for Debtfreeoneday’s update next month!

Name: Tara Dee
taraAbout Me: I’m a marketing and communications consultant in Cleveland, recently freed from the painful hold of grad school. A 9-year journey through higher education has left me ridden with obnoxiously high student loan debt. I love all varieties of ethnic food, design, and totally geek out on urban planning issues.
Goal: I’d like to feel like I have financial freedom. As a first-gen college graduate I’m proud of my accomplishments, but financial security in my mind is defined by the ability to really prepare for the future. I’m not quite there yet.
Challenge: One of my loans (approx. $12,000) has a 9.75% interest rate. I’d love to pay that sucker off in the next year 🙂

Stay tuned for Tara’s update next month!

Name: Abbey
About Me: I’m married, working, and a mother to one child.  I work about 55 hours a week and I’ve recently decided to go back to school which has added an extra pressure in terms of finance and time.”
Goal: Pay off $20,000 in debt in one year.
Challenge: The problem is both my husband and I spend like we are making three figures each (not the case!) and don’t have a child.  The time issue “allows” me to spend more unnecessarily.  I take my lunch to work daily but I am easily swayed.  Recent weight loss has also contributed to spending money on a new wardrobe.

Stay tuned for Abbey’s update next month!

brantName: Brant Gurganus
About Me: Software developer just passing two years in professional world. I also enjoy camping and hiking and assisting from time to time with scouting.
My Goal: Get out of credit card debt.
My Challenge: No credit card purchases, pay more than minimum using the biweekly payment plan.

Stay tuned for Brant’s update next month!

Cait FlandersName: Cait Flanders
About Me: I write the personal finance blog Blonde on a Budget, which I started to chronicle my journey out of debt. By day, I’m the managing editor of a start-up in Canada. I’m also an avid reader, enjoy hiking and working out, and consume more coffee than most stomachs could handle.
My Goal: I want to save at least 25% of my income each month for the rest of the year, then build up my Emergency Fund to $10K by the end of next year. (Oops, is that two goals!?) Two years ago, I was maxed out with $28K of debt, so these are goals I never dreamt would be possible to achieve.
My Challenge: Stop giving in to cravings! I could save so much money if I stopped giving in to small cravings, like treats at the grocery store or magazines at the airport. (Doing this will probably help my waistline too!)

Stay tuned for Cait’s update next month!

KatrinaName: My name is Katrina, but I often go by Trina.
About Me: I work as a support analyst and love spending time with those I love and my 2 dogs.  I love trying new things and would love to start traveling again!
My Goal: 
My goal is to pay off credit cards as well as medical expenses.  I’d also like to start saving up so I can set more aside in my savings account as well as budget better on the things I do enjoy.
My Challenge: 
My challenge is to keep up my current action plan for eliminating debt, but more importantly to limit eating out to only once a week.  I’d rather take what I spend eating out and put it towards paying off debt sooner, and when you live in the suburbs of wonderful Chicago, it’s too hard to eliminate eating out all-together, so I’d like to limit what I do spend.

Stay tuned for Katrina’s update next month!

And now it’s your turn! Are you ready to join the Debt Destroyers Super League? If so, send an email to claire [at] and include your name, a brief description of yourself, your goal, and your challenge. We’ll include you in next month’s update!!

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  • Tara Dee

    Malori– 168 Hours pretty much changed my life. I think I need a little refresher here soon, though 🙂

    So excited for everyone’s posts and goals! I have a feeling September is going to be a great month!

    • Claire Murdough

      I’m intrigued by this book… I could always use an extra 168 hours!

      And thanks for sharing your goal Tara! We’re feeling pretty great about September too 🙂

  • debtfreeoneday

    Thanks for including me! I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s progress next month!

    • Claire Murdough

      Of course! We’re so happy to have you on the league 🙂