1. Hey Molly, I love this post! I am still a young teenager but with college and moving out just a few years around the corner, I would love your tips and tricks for saving money in your younger years. I have a savings account set up and whenever I work that money just gets deposited in there. Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. thank you so much for reading, kaytlyn!!! there is a post I wrote previously on saving money and planning for your financial future when you’re single (you can find it under the money tab) – but i will definitely keep you in mind for future tips!!!!

  2. Molly, this post has really inspired me. I’m more than halfway out of debt and every little success is worth celebrating. Now, with your story, I know I too can overcome. Tithing with no money has always been my biggest challenge. How on earth were you able to do that?!

    1. thank you so much, nicole!! i actually have a post that i wrote a little while ago on tithing. you can get to it by clicking on the “money” tab under categories. that should definitely help!

  3. Hi Molly,

    Thanks so much for writing this post even if you were a tad embarrassed. I am in A LOT of debt and I cringe every time I think about it. I accrued my debt because it was “good debt” and my entire family encouraged it – student loans. I took out student loans for undergrad and grad school and I have upwards of $90,000 in debt. I recently found Dave Ramsey and I have read his book and plan on using the debt snowball, but I was wondering if you could help me with my worries surrounding paying off my debt and having other things to worry about paying for – such as a wedding, honeymoon!,house, car… I find myself not only worried about paying off my debt, but how I will pay for my wedding and honeymoon…

    For reference, I am graduating this May from my masters program in Social Work & I have not found a job yet.

  4. Hi Molly, I came across ur blog, when I was going through, Kate from thesmallthings blog on Instagram.
    I love ur blog and just read ur story about debt.i am so happy for u and those must be hard times, u went through, those four years.that must have sucked.
    Just wanted to know were u married at that time or single?
    Congrats again.

  5. Your story is an inspiration to everyone who thinks their debt problem is insurmountable. You gave us at Novadebt a lot of credit for helping you but it was your decision to change that made it happen. Congratulations!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this!!! It’s good to know no one is alone in their debt. I myself am paying off debt from collegiate stupidity. I’d love to read a financial series!!

  7. Amazing success. It’s due mostly to that rock hard determination to be free of that debt and I know how difficult it has been for you. But you surpassed all odds, congratulations and wishing you a consistent debt free life from now on.
    Awesome story. If you have done it, then similar cases could find inspiration from you. Love it.

  8. this is so very timely… Kudos to you for tithing and giving even when you were in debt. Good for you for making the sacrifices you needed to be debt free. And for being brave enough to tell your story.

  9. What a GREAT post! I, too, am about to embark on the process of becoming debt-free. Though my debt isn’t that much by most standards, it hangs over my head constantly. I can’t wait to do my happy dance too! I would love to keep seeing more posts about finances-you area wealth of information! I’m a new follower. 😉

    1. thank you SO much, april. you can absolutely do it and i promise, you will be SO SO SO SO SO relieved when it’s done. thank you so much for following along and if there’s EVER a question i can help you with, let me know! 🙂

  10. Molly, this is BEYOND amazing. I never knew that you were in debt, much less that MUCH debt. It really is sad that they don’t teach more about finances in college, or even grade school for that matter. Thankfully, since I was a business major, I learned A LOT about finances, interest rates, and accounting, maybe too much 🙂 And really, it is up to parents to instill in their children savings and money but since most of the US is in debt to their ears maybe they are not the best teachers!! Congrats on every sacrifice you’ve made over the past 4 years to achieve your dream of being debt free!!!!!!!

    1. thank you SO much, amber. you have no idea how much that means to me! yeah – i just was young and naive and i made a ton of HUGE financial mistakes. but all the hard work FINALLY paid off (no pun intended!) 🙂 🙂

      thank you so so so so so much!

  11. This is amazing Molly!!! I can’t believe you paid off that much debt in only a few years. It just goes to show that if you really stick with it, you can do it. I don’t have much debt but I hate it, yet I go back and forth about being strict with myself. You are an inspiration and reading this really made me want to buckle down and just pay it off!

    1. Niki, thank you SO much for your kind words. You really have no idea how much I appreciate it. It was definitely a tough four years, but I definitely believe that if you commit to it, anyone can do it. Go for it, girlfriend!!!

  12. Hi Molly. Congratulations!! Good for you. I dream of the day when my family and I can drive down to Tennessee and visit Dave and scream “We’re Debt Free” on the Radio. Did you guys call in? If so, when. I try to listen to his show as often as I can.
    It’s fabulous that you are so young and already debt free…many of us don’t get around to being “weird” until much later in life. I love your story, it’s very inspirational.

    I’ve actually started a blog that was inspired by Dave Ramsey, http://www.LiveLikeNoOneElse.com.

    Thanks for sharing your story with us! xoxoxo

    1. thank you so much, margaret!! i didn’t call in… yet. i really want to but i dunno when i’m going to be able to since i work during the day when he is on. i’m hoping i can maybe make a trip to nashville?? i will definitely check out your blog! thank you so much for your kind words and i will definitely be writing about this more so i’ll keep you posted!!! you can do it!

  13. Holy moly Molly!! This is amazing!! I am so amazed that you were so dedicated to paying them off in such a quick amount of time!! Good for you!!! I would LOVE to read more about your views and ideas on Finance!! Seeing that I’m still new to the whole big person world, it would be amazing to get insight from someone who has really turned around and rocked it!! Thanks for this one!!

  14. Well, first off, I tip my hat to you! That is really amazing, to have paid all of that off within 44 months, like wow kind of amazing. Congradualtions on your hard work!
    We’re almost out of debt (thanks medical bills) but we’ve still got about a year left of payments to go, but you’ve inspired me to try for a little faster now. 🙂 Were good and don’t have any credit cards and are pretty careful, we’re hoping to get enough saved for a down payment on a house. I think this great a great post and not over-sharey, it’s something most of us can really relate to.

  15. I’m so glad you shared and four years of paying off debt is more than something to shout about! We finally have school loans paid off but still paying on medical bills from 2006 – we’re literally months away from paying it off and I can’t wait – such a huge weight will be gone! Good for you Molly!

  16. so awesome!!! i’m glad you shared!!!!! i walked away with a college degree and 100K dollars in debt… and that’s just for a piece of paper! ha! =)

    thanks for braving it up, and sharing this!!!

  17. First of all, congratulations!!! Good for you!! I am so impressed that you were willing to make those sacrifices for FOUR years!

    Secondly, this post came at the perfect time for me. I officially paid off $40k worth of debt yesterday and it feels so good! I really wanted to write a blog post along these lines, sharing with people the steps I took to make this happen, but I’m scared that it would come off like I was bragging. You wrote this in an inspirational way that made people feel really happy for you.

    If I ever build up the courage to write a post like this about my journey, would you mind if I linked back to yours and shared your story??

    Congrats again!!
    Hilary @ Measure Once, Cut Twice

  18. Molly – I read every last word. You are amazing and an inspiration to so many and so great that you posted this blog. I greatly admire you. . . I’ve been lucky in life and haven’t had debt and spend a lot on money and clothes and things I really don’t need. . but work really hard. I can’t imagine doing what you did and it just shows that when you put your mind to it – you can do anything! Congratulations and once again, so awesome you posted this.


  19. oh my goodness!! I just can’t believe that you did that!! What a learning experience!! I too give 10% to my church 🙂 love this!! SOOO much respect for you!


  20. wow!! congrats! My husband and I are in the process of paying off our school loans…having debt over your head, no matter what kind is an awful feeling. hoping to join you soon on being debt free! And amen to tithing and God’s faithfulness right? I’d love to hear that part of your story too!

  21. Molly that is absolutely wonderful news! God doesn’t want us to be in debt and you were following His word exactly. and you did it, even though it was hard, it was rough it meant you lost out on not shopping going out to eat in the end those things are so petty compared to being debt free. So proud of you girl!! You deserve a gold star!

  22. Way to go, Molly!! I love this post, and I love the idea of a financial series! I know I could definitely use one!!

    I love how you tithe 10% of your income to your Church! My Church does that too, but I didn’t realize that others did. That is so neat, and such an incredible blessing to you and others!! Thank you for your example, girl! And again, CONGRATULATIONS on being debt-free!!!!

  23. Molly, ROCK ON FRIEND!!! This is so inspiring, and thank you for sharing! I also got myself into a LOT of trouble in college with credit cards, and it took me a while to dig myself out of that hole. I still have a couple cards, but have set my limit at $500 each so the temptation isn’t there to go crazy. I like the idea of getting rid of them completely though, and am working on building an emergency savings account so that I don’t need to keep a credit card around “just in case”. So proud of you!!!

  24. You are amazing lady! And totally a rock star for having that much will power and focus to achieve your goals. So often I see something I WANT (definitely don’t need it) and think I should just put it on the credit card… most of the time I am smart enough to talk myself out of it… but it is just so *easy* to enter that number online without thinking about the future issues…
    You are stronger than most for getting through this hard part of your life… and how awesome do you feel now!? Yay yay yay!

  25. Wow this is an amazing story! I want more! I accumulated some debt during college and my first year out too (under 5K) and boy did I pay for it after. I know what it’s like to have to live frugally. I don’t miss those days!


  26. Molly!!!!! This is so great! Congratulations. And thank you for having the courage to write this post and share your journey! I can’t even imagine what you went through during those four years, especially with not many people knowing. You are such an inspiration and I can only hope to be debt free one day…I look forward to reading your post on God’s Favor!!!

  27. Wow! What an amazing testimony! Congratulations to you!! No doubt God has blessed and will continue to bless your financial faithfulness to Him. I’m encouraged by your story, as I can also relate to God providing favor as you continually tithe even when you have very little money to live on. Congratulations again and so glad you shared your story!

  28. Molly…. Holy crap CONGRATS! I cannot imagine how great it feels. I am doing better at budgeting and do have money to pay off on my credit cards, but I have a plan to pay it off within the next few months. I don’t usually take financial risks but I have taken some the past year (some that have been beneficial, like a trip to Europe with my fam and some have not… did I really need another pair of shoes?) I think this is so inspiring though and literally I feel like you are speaking directly to me through this! I have cut back on TONS of things to save money in the past month and I have felt so much better. Right now I am not using my credit cards, just paying them off as I can. Otherwise, I only use my credit cards for gas and groceries… essentials that I need to pay off.

    Anyway, I think it is very brave that you decided to share this and I am so happy for you! 🙂 You are a huge inspiration and I would love to get some budgeting tips!!!!!!

  29. Girl I am SO PROUD of you. The only debt I’ve ever had is a car loan so I can’t 100% relate, but marrying a man with almost $20K in school loans? Absolutely terrified me. God is so faithful, so merciful, and so loving, and I’m thrilled for you that you’ve come through this better, stronger and smarter. Praise God!

  30. Oh Molly I am so glad you posted this, you’re amazing and such an inspiration! I posted some details about my debt story recently too, and we have a surprisingly similar background to getting so far into debt. My husband and I both got in over our heads during college, never fully got out, and then were set back so much further during the time I was in law school. Once I graduated and got a job, we started being extremely aggressive about paying it down immediately (if you’re interested in details, I’d love to chat via email!). We’re about halfway through our debt management plan at this point (no actual consolidating, we just came up with it ourselves using spreadsheets and a lot of time/effort), and it’s a constant struggle even though we do have decent salaries (talk about being ashamed!). I would love to see a series on this in your blog, and I’m considering doing a series on this myself from my perspective, still being in the midst of the process! Great post, and as you already pointed out, stellar timing! 🙂

  31. CONGRATS on your MAJOR achievement! I can only imagine how great you must feel! Thank you for being so honest…not many people would admit/share this fact about themselves but it’s great you did!

  32. good for you…no great for you! how amazing. i have always thought that it’s close to criminal to give a college student a credit card. thanks for sharing with everyone…i’m sure you have inspired many!

  33. Another wonderful and inspiring post Ms. Molly! That is a tremendous accomplishment and many months of scarfice. Thanks for the tip on NovaDebit!

  34. Oh Molly, you are an inspiration! CNN should pick up your story and business networks too! The young debt situation is so bad in our country, and not many people can do what you did – it takes a lot of sacrifices, discipline and commitment! I think that to live within our means is the key to any debt solution because that is the only way to get out of the debt! Kudos to you and your husband to be charitable while building a nest for your future!! YOu just made me tear up a bit!! God bless you sister!! Congrats again! May you always have this sunny smiling debt-free face:-)

  35. WOW Molly congrats! I don’t have any debit — EXCEPT for student loan debt. Which is horrifying and sad and everything bad in this world. I have put myself on a similar plan to get it paid off in three years. I would LOVE to talk to you separately about your strategy. I too want a debt free!

  36. congrats to you. husband and i are currently taking the FPU course. besides our mortgage, we only have $300 worth of medical bills. its hard to not go ahead and pay that off because we disparately need it in our savings account for my maternity leave. looking forward to posting a similar story on my blog next year.

  37. Congrats! I wish more people would try and live debt-free I think we would all be a lot happier! Debt is such a burden – props to you for digging yourself out and for sharing with everyone!!!

  38. oh gosh, being debt free is definitely the best!!!
    i was lucky enough that both the mister and i were able to graduate college with no student loans. big thank you to the stock markets and our jobs. whew!
    but you are just too cute, girl!
    xo TJ

  39. CONGRATS girl! The best part about all this is you also did a wedding while paying off your debt and not adding to it! Truly amazing. I need your tips for realz. 🙂

  40. Wow, Molly, I have so much to say I just gotta send an email! Don’t be overwhelmed by my novel please! Thanks for posting this and having the courage to share your story, congrats on being debt free 🙂


  41. That’s awesome, awesome, awesome, Molly!! I’m a bit like you were. I’m terrible with the finances and budgeting and all that jazz. But fortunately, the Hubs is amazing with them! I call him the Money Nazi at times. 😉 We’re really, really close to being debt free, too. We have a credit card that we use for emergencies (ugh, car in the shop? Flat tire?) and it has a little bit on it right now. But other than that, we’re about there! =)

  42. YAY, huge congrats Molly!! It feels great doesn’t it!?? My mom once told me when I was a lot younger that I should never buy anything with my credit card that I can’t pay off immediately if necessary… and that always stuck with me and I’m SO thankful. I’m so happy for you, a huge weight lifted! 🙂

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

  43. I can’t tell you how inspirational this is, and how you are certianly not the only one who made some bad decisions with credit cards in college. So impressed. Congratulations, Molly!

  44. A huge congrats to you!!! I loved reading your story. I am in a situation now where I want to work on getting out of debt and it scares me, but the end result is what I find so exciting. The relief that you must feel! My husband passed away this year and he left me with a mess of bills to take care of and my goal is get everything taken care of so I can get my credit score back up. I find stories like yours inspiring!

  45. Loved reading this post Molly – thanks so much for sharing. Sometimes it’s definitely easy to just swipe that card…and this was a great reminder to maybe just lay off. And YOU GO GIRL! Congrats on being debt free 🙂

    The Other Side of Gray

  46. Congrats, girl!

    I totally know what you mean, shortly after graduating college, I rung up a huge debt myself (first time on my own paying all my own bills, buying a new car, furnishing an apartment, life expenses, new credit cards, not realizing that everything costs money) and it took me years to pay it all off. It was a tremendous feeling when it finally happened, so kudos to you for doing it!!!

  47. Oh Molly, thank you for opening your heart! I can’t imagine how difficult this is to talk about these things. I would love a little married financial series. I get so nervous when I think of handling finances with a partner (this was one of my parents weaknesses and I’m terrified of making the same mistakes), I would love to hear how y’all do things in order to save. Thanks Molly!

  48. Congrats Molly! I just graduated college in 2011 and am in a similar situation. I have about $76,000 to pay back in student loans. My payments are between $700 and $800 a month and I don’t make that much money at my job. It’s definitely tough, but like you said- you learn to budget. I don’t buy expensive things, I work towards paying my loans and then trying to save the rest. I’m glad that there’s hope that one day it will finally be paid off & I’m glad I’m not alone!

    1. Yes, thank you Molly for writing this, it is SOOO great to see and hear someone else make it out of that DEBT HOLE! And thanks to Rachel for your comment….I am in your situation exactly….about the same amount of debt from my undergraduate and graduate degrees (maybe a bit more) and it terrifies me…I even spent some time doing what NOT to do…ignoring them….definitely learnt my lesson on that one…they don’t just go away if you ignore them! I’m getting back on track now though, sometimes it makes me really depressed and terrified to think I’ll have these loans holding me back and tying me down the rest of my life, but my husband is really supportive and even though he has NO debt at all, is there to help me pay off mine 🙂 I for one would love to read about some financial advice, we all could use it!

      1. Lauren,

        I’m glad my story helped you feel a little better, too! I chose to go to an expensive school (something I sometimes regret) and knew how much I would owe. What I didn’t realize was how little money I would be making at my job and how I couldn’t defer, combine or lower my loans since I took out private AND federal loans. So many of my friends either don’t pay student loans or pay about $200 a month. I envy them! My e-mail address is on my blog if you want to talk more (click on my name on my comment) and I’ve even written about my post-college struggles for a column for a magazine. We’re not alone! 🙂

        1. I’m in exactly same situation! I WISH my payments were $200, even $300, a month! Working on getting them all lowered as we speak. Thank goodness for Obama’s plan, it’s already lowered a few of them down to a manageable amount. Btw, sent you an email! Thanks! 🙂

  49. You go Molly! So proud of you and thank you for this inspiriing story! You are one of a kind with who you are and we love you for that!!!! I just finished a series with one of our newhopers on Jesus on Money…I have the notes and the church has a copy of the notes…you could always borrow this to help out in your blog if you would like…there is some really awesome stuff and I am trying to live by this..but as you say, it is not easy and it is tough to get started…but when you have a goal..it is so worth it!!! Thanks for sharing!!! You Rock!!!

  50. This is such an amazing post. My husband and I just started Dave Ramsey to get our student loans paid off. It has definitely been a sacrifice, but I love seeing that number go down. I think your story is inspiring and I wanted to applaud by the end of it. Congratulations on being debt free =)

  51. Thank you so much for posting this, Molly. It really is a labor of love to reveal your personal financial history (at least in part) in an effort to encourage others. This issue is often a major blindspot in today’s church. How much more effective could we be as the Body of Christ if each of our families had their finances in order? How much more could we give?

    Stories like yours are an encouragement to our family as we seek to do likewise. It’s not easy, especially when we live in an age where the easy way out is most preferred. And at the end of the day, there really is no easy way out. Thanks again, and I very much look foward to a series of posts on these issues!

  52. CONGRATULATIONS! Wow, what an inspiring story! I think so many people can relate to this, but it’s not really talked about. Good for you for having the courage to share your story. I’m sure you will inspire so many to take control of their finances!

    xo Jenny

  53. Thanks so much for sharing your story Molly! I think this is a situation that many college students fine themselves in, so hopefully this will help inspire a lot of people!

  54. What a coincidence! My boyfriend and I were talking about ways to lower my debt last night. I don’t have as much in debt as you did, but it’s still a chunk. We came up with a plan, but the idea of having no money to do anything freaks me out. I know I’m going to have to suck it up and get with the program. Thanks for the inspiring blog, and I would love to see a financial series. 🙂

  55. Molly I think this is SO SO awesome that you posted this. There are so many people out there completely unaware of the dangers of credit cards and what carrying a balance really means, so thank you for sharing your story! I think it’s amazing what you were able to do (I mean, getting out of $36k in debt in four years? WHAT?) and it’s good to let others out there in the same situation know that they can do the same. And congrats to you for getting debt free!!

    Sea and Swank

  56. this is great molly! a good motivation to me to get my butt in gear in the finance department. thank you for sharing and i look forward to reading your financial series 😉

  57. You should be so proud of yourself and definitely shouting this from the rooftops! Seriously what an accomplishment and quite the lesson! I totally think high school students should have financial planning classes – this happens to so many people… and so many people let that $35K turn to $50K and then up and up. Way to go girl – you are an inspiration not only in fashion but in life 🙂


  58. Molly, thank you so much for sharing this with us. I think this topic is important for everyone. I’m so happy that you are now in a better place financially. I think you will inspire lots of people with your post today 🙂

  59. You rock girl! So awesome to be debt free! The only thing we owe on is our house, and we are doing our best not to owe on that either 😉
    And Dave Ramsey? He’s one smart man 🙂 I was telling a friend how we save for our vacations and their like, “oh you must have read Dave Ramsey’s book” “Dave who?” haha turns out we were already doing a lot of what he suggests 🙂

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