Paying off $81,000 in student loan debt is the toughest thing I’ve had to do. It took me many years, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

Now that I’m debt-free, I’m giving back each month to my readers, acting in my dream role of debt fairy godmother.

Last month I gave $50 to David in Brazil…this month, who knows?! But I do have some good news! I was recently interviewed by my good friend Shannon at Financially Blonde about getting out of debt. It’s a feel-good shot of inspiration if you need it, so take a listen.

She was so inspired by what I am doing that she agreed to also contribute this month! So we’re giving away $100 to someone. You can enter to win by commenting here and letting us know what BIG goal you are working toward this year. You can also tweet us your answerΒ @blonde_finance and @deardebtblog.

Let us know what you’re working toward this year!


Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

Latest posts by Melanie (see all)

64 responses to “What BIG Goal Are You Working Toward?”

  1. This year I’m working towards eliminating my $7,000 credit card debt, a $1,000+ overpayment debt, and hopefully my $8,000+ vehicle debt. I would move to have those debts paid by October 2016 but wouldn’t be mad if it s December either.
    Shirria @ GDTH recently posted…My Debt Total UpdateMy Profile

  2. I love the giving back idea! So thoughtful!
    Brian @DebtDiscipline recently posted…Net Worth Update: January 2016My Profile

  3. Hey there! Awesome podcast episode yesterday – it gave me another swift kick to focus on paying down my debt too! πŸ™‚ Me and my husband are about $85K in debt (not counting our house – that pushes it closer to a quarter million….ugh….). I only became aware of how to manage money last summer, and since then I’ve been working hard to build up an emergency fund so we can stop taking out loans every time something happens. My goal is a short-term fund of $15K, and we were up to about $5K when last month our old house (in Alaska, which we couldn’t sell when we moved over a year ago) broke and needed $3,100 worth of repairs. So we’re back to square one pretty much, but at least this time we didn’t have to take a loan out! My plan now is to rebuild the fund, then save the $10K we’ll need for my husband’s tuition next semester, and THEN throw all our money at the debt. Wish me luck, and if people are interested they can follow my story on my new blog, the Notorious D.E.B.T.! πŸ˜€

  4. Anissa says:

    My goal this year is paying off almost $15,000 in credit card debt so, next year I can pay off my car! THEN to work on my $97k student loan debt! I paid off 2 credit cards already this year, one more next month, then one more the next month, then to Orkney on the BIG one until they’re all gone. Taking baby steps to freedom!! Feels so good!

  5. Amanda says:

    I’m really focused on buying a home. I’ve struggled with whether or not to buy something I could turn into an investment property in a few years – or buy a duplex or something money smart. But truly, I want to find the place that I want to spend at least the next decade. It will be the place I travel from and the place I come back to. It will be the address on my passport. I’m not sure how I’m going to make it happen, since so much in my price range gets snatched up by flippers and developers, but I have to play it like I played the student loan. With focus. From there, who knows how it will happen.
    Amanda recently posted…A Guiding Word for the YearMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      I love your thoughts on buying a house. Though I have no interest in being a homeowner, I understand the desire to have a place to call your own. I know you can make it happen!

  6. This year I am working towards paying down the small mortgage on our primary home and our two rental properties. One of the loans on one of our rentals is almost near the $30K range now, so we’re getting close to killing that one off for good!

    And I’m investing regularly, although I might pour a ton more money in if the stick market tanks for any reason,
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Holly’s Picks: Top Credit Card Rewards Offers for February 2016My Profile

  7. Laura says:

    My big goal is to pay off my student loans this year! Last year at this time I had $44,110 in student loans and one year later I am at $26,169. While it is a lofty goal especially considering I am currently working a contract position I WILL achieve financial freedom from the last of my debt this year. Your blog gives me the motivation to keep on track even when things seem a bit overwhelming so thank you!

  8. That’s awesome of you guy!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…January 2016 RecapMy Profile

  9. That’s so cool, Melanie!
    My number one goal right now is adding 5K to our E-fund. I’m 1/4 of the way there. Also, I just signed up for my first half marathon!
    Kara @ Money Saving Maven recently posted…Budget Friendly Valentine’s Day DessertsMy Profile

  10. Our BIG goal this year is to become 100% DEBT FREE!!! We have $11,490 left on our mortgage. We should reach this goal around September, which means we will have paid off just over $170,000 in debt in four and half years!!! I CAN NOT WAIT!!!
    You and Shannon are both such inspirations in this personal finance blogging world! Thank you!
    Nichole @Budget Loving Military Wife recently posted…What Do You Eat on a Small Grocery Budget?My Profile

  11. Shannon says:

    Paying off my non-student loan debt and 2 of my student loans by the end of the year!

  12. Keshna says:

    I’m working toward paying off one of my smallest student loans, Sallie Mae aka Navient!

    Following a few other financial blogs has inspired me to pay all my debt off by age thirty!! Lets goooo!!!

  13. My goal is to pay down at least 35% of my debt and to meditate more.
    Mr. PayingMyLawSchoolDebt recently posted…My law school loans are below $134,000My Profile

  14. Samantha says:

    Hey Melanie!

    So proud of you for paying off all your debt! It was refreshing to find a finance blogger in the process of paying of debts so I could have a better feel of the timeline. I’m about 20k in debt between my car loan, student loans, and a little bit of credit card debt and I’ve decided that 2016 is the year that I knock it all out!

    I’ve also been inspired to max out my 401k and start contributing to a ROTH IRA so since I don’t qualify for my work’s 401k (since I just started) I’m going to max out my IRA AND try to live off of half of my pay so I can knock out my debts! (Which, if I can do that this year, it’ll be roughly the amount that I need to max out my 401k every year).

    I’m so pumped and I’ve had a decent start with January so only 11 more months to go (hopefully)!

    • Melanie says:

      Thanks so much Samantha! Glad I could inspire you. Getting out of debt can be a long, hard journey, but it’s worth it. Love that you are paying off debt and saving for the future! Nice work!

  15. Sonya says:

    My husband and I are working on paying down $58,000 in student loan debt. We’ve paid $40k in the last 5 years, but I’m ready to be done with this stinkin’ debt!

    Our goal is to pay it off by my 30th birthday — February 2018!

  16. Jane says:

    I am going to pay all of my credit card debt off by the end of 2016.

  17. Chonce says:

    I want to eliminate my student loan debt of course, pay for my wedding in cash, and I recently decided to choose happiness and leave my job for freelance full-time by the end of the year!
    Chonce recently posted…January Budget ReviewMy Profile

  18. Leilani says:

    This year my big goal is to pay off our $35,528.91 debt! I almost typed “pay down” but I’ve set some audacious goals and I plan to hustle!

  19. Erin says:

    You’re just too awesome, friend πŸ™‚

    My biggest financial goal for 2016 is paying off my student loans and the medical debt from my appendectomy last year. There’s around $25k to go between the two. Then I want to put $10k in savings and max out Steve’s IRA (I contribute to a 401(k), but he doesn’t have that option). Ambitious, but we’re working hard to get it done!

  20. Jessica says:

    I am totally motivated after listening to the podcast! I really want to pay off my student loans. I started out with about $82,000 and I’m down to just under $22,000. I’m also trying to figure out what I’m doing with my career at the same time, so it should be interesting.
    Jessica recently posted…February 2016 GoalsMy Profile

  21. Nicole says:

    This year, my big goal is to save enough money to pay for my first semester of graduate school in CASH while continuing to pay down my undergraduate loan debt. Oh, and also to get accepted into the program I’m applying to. πŸ™‚

  22. Isabella says:

    My goal is to make $800/month sales (after expenses) in my eBay business. Of course, I would like to get higher than that, but this is my initial goal.

  23. Erica B says:

    Our big goal is to sell our house this year. That would mean no debt (unless we purchase another anyway!).

  24. Charlie says:

    You are so inspirational and generous. Thank you for sharing your story and help so many readers get out of debt.
    My goals for this year (not so much debt-related) is to carefully watch my spending, start saving and learn about investing.
    BTW, you blog is awesome!

  25. Tyler says:

    Hey Melanie,

    So awesome that you get to talk to people about getting out of debt now that you are out of debt. I’m hoping to be able to do that as well.
    My goal this year is to get rid of credit card debt (19k as of right now) I’m doing this through cutting costs, and making more. Thanks for all you do.
    Tyler recently posted…The Mindful Budget, And My Shopping BanMy Profile

  26. Petra says:

    I have been debtfree for quite a while (and yes, it’s every bit as peaceful as you would think it is!). So my goal this year has nothing to do with debt. It even hasn’t got anything to do with money. This year, I’m aiming to lose some of the excess weight I have. You could say I’m in debt to my body and to my health. Or you could just say I could lose a few kilos… But anyway, 2016, here I come!

  27. My big goal this year is to increase our ability to pay off all debt ($141,000 down and $116,000 to go) by earning an income through writing. Lots of obstacles in the way – almost all from me. This is a great thing you’re doing, Melanie!
    Prudence Debtfree recently posted…Debt DΓ©jΓ  Vu: Get out of Debt And STAY out!My Profile

  28. Bailey says:

    My big goal– I’m saving up every penny I can for my wedding in June!

  29. Laura Beth says:

    I am also working on paying off my student loans. I am so happy you’ve succeeded in that regard. Congratulations!!
    Laura Beth recently posted…How to Retire A Millionaire – At Any AgeMy Profile

  30. Colin Ashby says:

    Debt will be paid down big time this year

    And this year I want to teach. I’m ramping up my blog and hoping to provide helpful content to people looking to become more financially literate. A course is in the works that will teach people the in’s and outs of WordPress and help them start their own blog.

    Colin Ashby recently posted…Candy Bars and the Taste of BusinessMy Profile

  31. Mortimer says:

    So inspired by everyone here working on such diverse goals. We are hoping to knock out around $50,000 of our $248k in debt this year, but we shall see how much we actually achieve.
    I love this paying it forward idea. Can’t wait to be debt free so I can contribute as well!
    Mortimer recently posted…Step 1: Do Nothing. Step 2: Profit.My Profile

  32. Katie R says:

    This year, I am working my debt snowball. I just paid off a credit card last month. If all goes according to plan, I’ll have CC #2 paid off in May, and vehicle 1 of 2 paid off in September. Vehicle #2 will be paid off the following May (3 years early). Then I’ll start into a credit line and the three houses that have loans on them (two rentals). It’s going to take a LONG time, but I’m super pumped to become DEBT FREE!

  33. Brittany says:

    I’m trying to pay off $20,000 of my student loan this year. Wish me luck! It’s so motivating to read all of these other comments!!

  34. Candyce B. says:

    This year, I’m consolidating my debt and crushing it! Okay, I might just be chipping away at it, but I’m finally in control of it. I’m finally in a place [career] where I don’t have to live paycheck-to credit card-to paycheck, and even though I have a pretty scary debt-monster staring at me, I’m staring RIGHT BACK AT IT. I will not back down, debt-monster!

  35. Amber J. says:

    This is the first year that I’ve experienced that “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel” feeling when it comes to my credit card debt. I am just 6 months away from paying off what used to be nearly $50,000 in credit card debt. So, that is my goal for the first half of 2016: PAY IT ALL OFF! Then, later in 2016 and throughout 2017, I will finally be able to save money toward purchasing a home. πŸ™‚

  36. Melanie says:

    Congrats to Jessica, our winner! Each month I’ll pick another winner. πŸ™‚
    Melanie recently posted…Dear Debt, Here’s to Losing You ForeverMy Profile

  37. Paivi says:

    This is the year we will break up with student loan debt! Crazy to think but my husband who is 48 years old will finally be rid of Sallie Mae-30 YEARS after taking out his first loan. I’m 39 and EdFinancial will never contact me again either! Together we have paid off more than $100k in just over 8 years. I can’t wait to start saving our money towards our big goal of buying a home with CASH! Yee ha! On to bigger and better.

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