No More Harvard Debt: A Short Film

I put together a short and simple film about the challenge. It’s only four minutes long and I made it in Movie Maker–the free movie-making software.

The style of the film follows that of The Amish Project that I blogged about in January. I was struck by the power of the film and even back then, I toyed with the idea of doing a video about my own story using the same concept.

One of my HBS classmates who lives here in Austin was a film major in undergrad and he wanted to turn my challenge into a documentary; he took the footage that I’ve used in this short film. We did a lot of filming in the first month, but a lot of that footage got corrupted and we  decided to stop filming after month one, so there won’t be a documentary.

I hope you enjoy it!


Filed under Uncategorized

123 responses to “No More Harvard Debt: A Short Film

  1. Cassie Olson

    I shared this video on facebook, hopefully it will encourage some of my friends who are too lazy to read a blog to read this and try something similar for themselves! Glad we can all finally put a face to the stories and congratulations again!

    • Haha, I never thought about it that way…I guess it is Cliff’s Notes for NMHD 🙂

      • Rocio

        Congratulations on accomplishing such great obstacle, this is veru inspiring!

      • Yissell

        You have inspired me to get rid of debt I should not have. Somehow, I got used to having student loan debt and did not see a problem with it….until today. My goal is to be debt free my November!!!

    • erik exner

      This guy is one hell of a man!! I am with you!! Cliff.

    • vat

      Gee…can you help someone figure out how to pay off their $90,000 student loan debt on a yearly income of $35,000? Your journal of “how to pay my debts” on a six figure Harvard salary is meaningless.

      • Mishqueen

        I realize that it’s too late now for Vat to avoid the debt in the first place, but if anyone else is reading this and can still do anything about it, please consider the cost of the dream of a career that only pays $35k a year, but costs $90k in debt. Please consider debt/income ratio and industry hireability also when you are choosing what to do in life. Now, just doing those things doesn’t guarantee success…maybe the job promised 200k a year but the industry went bust, leaving him to lay sod. I’m not saying that Vat screwed himself–I suspect its more complicated than that. HOWEVER this can be a wakeup call for other students. If you are set hard on doing what you love for no money, that is honorable. But finding another way to pay for it is wiser. School doesn’t need to be a fun era of your life if someone else isn’t footing your bill. You CAN work your way through school. You CAN be debt-free or nearly debt free through your undergrad and then save as much as you can to severely cut your grad school costs. It’s a sad story for those who are already sitting in debt, but what better reason to share our stories than for others to learn from them? Good luck in all you do, and if you’re not in college yet, please do yourself a favor and plan very very well.

    • robcapazzi

      i joined the Army to pay off my $40,000 school loan. As of 3 weeks ago, I am now debit free and it feels good. I work at the Pentagon and I have year left before I go back to Texas. In the mean time I will continue to save my money. I am very excited about my future now.

    • Mary Ann Mucedola

      Great job. I did the same thing when I had no money to attend college. I worked and saved and did without. Then when I had a family I gave up my job and we lived on one pay raising 3 sons. You can do it and I never regreted it. You have shown it can be done. Nice.

    • Good for you. This one major accomplishment tells me you are going to make a great husband and father. I love your determination and I enjoyed sharing your video. It’s an inspiration.

    • Greenway

      this story has given me hope

  2. Hunter

    Congrats on being debt free. Maybe NMHD can become a place where you can coach others who want to make similar changes or results. Don’t close the site. Let it stand aas a beacon for those to come.

    One last question: Does Harvard know about your challenge and results? They can use of to show new students how resourceful a Harvard grad really is.

    • Thank you, Hunter. Definitely no plans to shut it down. It’s getting about the same number of visitors as when I was blogging on the reg, believe it or not.

      I don’t know if Harvard knows or not. If they do know, they haven’t asked me to stop using their name, which is always a good sign 😉 I might give them a heads up and see if they want to use it.

  3. Nice to finally put a face to the NMHD pseudonym. A well-deserved congratulations for your enormous feat! I hope this inspires more people. 🙂

  4. vanessaareid

    Congrats! Favourite line: “Do a rock angel.”

  5. Paragon2Pieces

    Just last night I was talking to a friend who is about to start law school and generally concerned about student loans. She is trying to decide whether she’ll live with her parents during law school to save money. Told her about your blog and experience. We all complain about our student loan balance, but there aren’t many people putting the raw numbers out there. Thanks for being a resource!

  6. Thank you for making this! I have been following your progress, and I am looking forward to making life changes to take care of my school loan debt as well! Thank you for your inspiration!

  7. Holland

    I recently discovered your blog and read every article like it was a book. I’m sad to see the updates might stop. I would love to ‘read’ a sequel. Hoewever I congratulate you on achieving your goal, and allowing us (the readers) to follow you during this journey and finally share in your happiness as well. I wish you all the best. Greetings from Holland

  8. Argo Pondscum

    I can’t believe no one has given you props for the use of Explosions in the Sky in the video. Club Med would be proud.

  9. Jenn

    Here is an interesting article, thought you might find intriguing.

    Love your journey btw, my husband and I plan to do the same once he graduates. By the time we are done we will have paid for the educations of our children and ourselves. They are 15 and 18, thankfully their’s is already paid for, its just paying off ours next!

    Can’t wait to read about what is your next goal to overcome.

    • That is a very interesting article–thanks for sharing. I need to put pen to paper soon, don’t I? Best of luck to you and your husband. That’s awesome that your kids won’t have to deal with it, at least for undergrad. I was lucky in that my parents paid for my undergrad–I couldn’t imagine starting life in the real world already behind.

  10. Aaron

    I’m married, a year out of college, and every day I brainstorm ways to reduce expenses and generate more income. I’m sitting in about 92k of debt (mostly student loans), and have been wanting to start a blog to track my progress. I saw yours linked on Mr. Money Moustache, and it is the exact model for what I was looking for. Simple, organized, analytical, and goal-oriented. I’m going to model my own blog after yours, and get this stuff paid down quick. I’ll share a link with you when it’s up and running.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Do it to it. Best of luck to you–shoot the link over when you’ve got it set up.

      • Got my blog up and running this month, it’s amazing how a written account of your progress really keeps you accountable. Also, when you know that every post you make is going to be read by at least 200 of your friends on Facebook it puts on pressure for me to be as successful as possible. I find myself thinking a lot more about every purchase and am constantly trying to eliminate any and all waste from the monthly budget.

        My first posts are pretty similar to yours. I needed a model to help with the organization of my thoughts, and yours was a good one. I’ve adapted your pro forma statement as well, as I like the way it got the facts organized. If any of your readers were inspired by your journey, and are looking for another average guy’s story to follow, they should check out

        Thanks for inspiring me to put rubber to the road!


  11. Nancy

    NMHD, thanks for the great video! I felt almost nostalgic watching it, which is strange since obviously I wouldn’t want you to be back in debt just so I could read about it! It was neat being able to see you as an actual human being. It’s quite clear that you’re kind of amazing, and I hope you continue pushing down your own awesome path, flying by all of society’s nets (as Joyce said). By the way, try to be a bit less handsome. Thanks.

  12. Chris

    Hey there NMHD, came here via Money Mustache.
    Impressive thing you pulled off. My question would be though, I only saw you talking about the landscaping business once in regards to an actual job. What happened with the business? My apologies if I overlooked more details, have only been reading a couple of days. Will you be pursuing the landscaping? I’m looking into this to earn $100,000 to be able to pay 50% down of a rental property I would like to own.
    Good Luck on your journey!

    • Hi Chris, I hope you’re enjoying the blog so far. My buddy and I did two landscaping jobs and quoted many more. What we found is that our customers were taking our designs and detailed quotes and subcontracting the work themselves to save money. Very disheartening, and since I had line-of-sight to early pay-off, I bailed out rather than trying to fix the problem. My advice to you is to find a way to deliver a design and project quote that delights your custoomer but doesn’t enable them to do the work themselves. This is a balance of providing just enough information for them to have you do the work, but not enough for them to subcontract the work themselves.

      • Chris

        Yes, I do enjoy the blog. Even better, your blog got my girlfriend excited about the frugal living approach since we have a great goal in mind now with the rental.
        Good point with the quotes being used “against” you. I know design people that give a special “reduced information quote” to the customers to avoid the very same problem. I have to consider this.
        Keep up the great work!

  13. Is he single?

    I”M JOKING> That’s amazing!!!

    but seriously, single or taken?

  14. Kevin

    Just read your story on and confused by the following quote
    “Student loans are a strange animal,” he reasoned. “Unlike a payment towards a car loan or a mortgage, a student loan payment doesn’t go towards something that is benefitting me in a direct way.”

    A car is a depreciating asset while a mortgage currently is as well. What the student loan afforded you is an education that allowed you to double your salary. So I’m not sure that you did not receive any benefits by borrowing money for your education.

    • I’ve been eating those words all day long over at Fortune. Probably not the most thought-out or eloquent statement in the blog–I’ll be the first to admit it. Definitely provocative, though. I guess what I was trying to say is, I already got the benefit of the diploma–my education i.e. knowledge–but I’m still paying for it. Compare that to making a $1k monthly payment on a Porsche 911 that you get to enjoy every day, in the present. The connction between the outlay and the benefit are not as clear for the MBA as for the Porsche.

      Now, the obvious rebuttal is that the education I received enables a six-figure salary so it’s definitely benefitting me directly. However, in my mind, the connection is much less clear than the $1k/Porsche–could I have gotten a six-figure salary without the MBA? It’s possible–more difficult, but still possible. Through hard work, connections, luck, and smarts, I could have probably pulled it off–I was on a strong trajectory before I went to b-school, and the MBA accelerated it. On the flipside, can I drive a Porsche 911 without paying $1k/month? Only if I pay cash for one, steal one, or am given on.

      Does that help?

      • Kevin

        But remember an education is something that will last a lifetime,unlike a car. Also most cars accomplish the same thing, get you from point A to point B. I can acheive the same results driving my Honda as I can driving a Porsche.

  15. 300K

    This is pretty impressive – found your blog through a Poets&Quants article. Wondered what your thoughts would be on attempting something like this with a student loan debt closer to $300K (240K federal, 45K private). My before-tax annual earning potential for the next 2-3 years is probably capped around $80K-$100K working 6 days a week. I’m a new optometrist and this is, unfortunately, not an unusual situation for us who had to attend professional school out-of-state (4 years of it, and that is after a 4 year bachelor degree). Luckily, Income-Based-Repayment makes this debt bearable, but leaves us saddled with a 10-15% of income loan payment for the next 25 years.

    • Well, that’s a lot of debt and not a lot of relative revenue to offset it, and the interest rate situation is not helpful, either. That said, living expenses in most of the US for a single person can get down to well below $80 to $100k, so you can definitely save money and pay down the debt aggressively, but I don’t think your timeline should be as aggressive as seven months. You’re probably looking at few years, but that’s better than the alternative.

      • I think it’s easy to live in the US for $20k per year and I live in So Cal. It’s not the easiest or best, but like that guy from India said, we have it so much better here and we shouldn’t complain…

  16. Arun

    Hi. I’m a student in a top management school in India. Though I do appreciate your effort, I believe it’s far too shallow. A typical student in India (undergrad or postgrad):
    – Has an education loan (principal) of about 3 years’ salary post school
    – Doesn’t watch movies in theaters
    – Eats ONLY at home, and that’s rice/dry unleavened bread, lentils and yogurt, and is often a teetotaler, so no expensive drunken parties, let alone bachelor parties
    – Doesn’t own ANY vehicle, walks or takes the bus wherever he goes
    – Doesn’t HAVE a house to mortgage, lives in a tiny rented apartment with 4-5 others

    WHAT do you suggest this extremely common Indian student do to get rid of his debt?

    Look to the so-called “third world” countries to find people who utilize resources to the fullest and can get through life with an extremely meager subsistence! And salute them!

  17. Wharton Undergrad '10

    Whoa, what you’ve accomplished over those 7 months is beyond impressive. I can’t tell you how inspiring this is. I graduated from Wharton undergrad 2 years ago with 22k in student loans. Without going into detail about how little money I make or what it is exactly that I do with my time, I’ve come to realize that I’ve got nothing to complain about in regards to my financial situation. From this point forward, I can and WILL ONLY focus on the opportunities available to better my lot.

    Thank you for telling your story. I’ve got a lot of living to do and wish you only the best in your future endeavors.

    P.S. Those spreadsheets look sharp.

  18. FellowTraveler

    Great site. You were featured on today, which is a tribute to how incredible your story is and a great example for others to follow. I recently earned my Master’s in Finance and have been altering my lifestyle for the last 6 months to prepare for the $1k per month payment…for 10 years. I really enjoyed your simple and effective analysis of your income to expenses and your honesty throughout the process. Congrats on being debt free.

  19. Anonymous

    Commendable success on evading the consumer borg ! Interesting that your blog doesn’t even make the first page on Google when your name is entered. Might want to consider some SEO or you’re story is just media fodder.

  20. anything is possible

    When’s your book coming out? LOL I’m thinking you need to seriously consider writing one. You are an inspiration! I’m still in college and I am already trying to come up with ways to bring down my student loans before I graduate. Thank you for blogging your progress over the last year.

  21. Just found your blog today, couldn’t stop reading. You are pretty awesome! What you did is very inspiring; congrats on you success.
    By the way, I would of totally went on a hike and a coffee date with you 😉

  22. The feeling you get when you pay off a loan is so meaningful. Just knowing that you will no longer have to worry about writing a check that will have a percentage go straight to interest instead of the principal is my motivation for paying off all of my remaining debt. Congrats on your success.

  23. Justin Cambria

    This is awesome, I really enjoyed it and felt emotional and inspired!

  24. Reblogged this on the Go Bunny Books blog and commented:
    I have nothing but total admiration for this guy. What he did is not only impressive, but his actions show a high level of awareness for what is actually necessary in life. And he does it without being preachy or condescending, which is always appreciated !

  25. Really great inspiring video. I just came across this today! woohoo! great job! I have $30,000 in student loans and you have inspired me to pay them off even sooner. I might not go to drastic measures like you have, but I can definitely make some small changes that will effect the outcome 🙂

    Thanks for all your efforts and inspiration! It’s really awesome!


  26. Fantastic job Joe! You are an inspiration to so many that complain they can never get out from under their loans…etc. I deal with people everyday that have let their debt get out of control (I’m a credit consultant) and believe if they stick to a plan (a real plan) they can reduce and even get rid of their debt (you’re the perfect example). Well done and keep spreading the word.

  27. Admin - No More MBA Debt

    You got mentioned on John Byrne’s Blog btw: , former Senior Editor at BusinessWeek and Editor-In-Chief of Fast Company. Just in case you didn’t know. 🙂

  28. ndesa

    I find it difficult to root for somebody who went to Harvard Business School, but dude, you The Fuckin Man! I’m not sure “inspiring” is the right word, but what you pulled off is just plain awesome. I’m buying you a beer the next time I’m in Austin, but not without a swig from the flask.

  29. Tom.CzechRep


  30. Becky

    Congratulations and awesome job!!! You deserve to be super proud. My parents raised me to hate debt, and I don’t like owing anyone anything, including banks. It takes such determination to do what you did. And the feeling of being debt-free is priceless. If more people adopted a more modest lifestyle and treated every resource with respect and gratitude (even resources that you don’t personally pay for), perhaps this world would not be in its current state and recession would not have happened. Anyway, great job!

  31. Chris

    Congratulations – this is inspiring. I set out 2 years ago to pay off my student loan debt from B-school, 2 car loans, and remaining undergrad loan – all totaling $217,000. I have it down to $60,000 now – and your story inspires me to get it done faster!

    • Joaquin Roby

      … I mean… How you guys had this 6 figures debts and “magically” erase on a few months???!… I’m thinking on get extra income of $ 6000.- for this year to start buying my own place and still hard to get this done?!

      • Chris

        Believe me, it’s not magic. It’s living way below my means, finding ways to make extra money, and missing out on some things now for a later return. Plus, it’s all relative – my challenge would be much greater if I made less that I do now.

  32. June18

    wow I graduated in 2008 and I was single mom working full time while attending college to get my BA in criminal justice. I am now married and this 40K student loan has haunted me from day one and still is. After reading all the comments on here. Not a happy feeling and very stressful. I guess I am not alone and time to get moving and live below my means. Thanks for sharing

  33. Dalee33

    NMHD — Amazing & very inspiring story. I am new to your blog, but I will have $160k debt from undergrad, grad school, & lastly medical school (all combined) when I graduate in 2 years… So, I look forward to reading how you accomplished this incredible feat. When I graduated undergrad, my brother-in-law gave me the book “Young, Fabulous, and Broke” by Suze Orman. I learned so much from that, and I look forward to learning much from your blog as well! It’s funny because my choice of medical school (San Antonio) and grad school (Fort Worth) were heavily influenced by cost of living — so I feel like I’m on the right track. Perhaps I will start now using some of your tips to curb my currently increasing student loan debt… It’s hard to focus on the blessings of being provided educational opportunities when the burden of debt hangs so severely over our heads. Good looking out for your fellow indebted peers! 🙂

  34. Andrea

    I came across your story on CNN Money and have spent the last few days reading backwards through all your blog posts. Thank you so much for doing this. I learned some great life lessons from this…my personal favorites are the contentment with what you have and the value of a screw you fund. You should check out a blog I read called It has a similar theme with regard to contentment.

    My husband and I are working on paying off the mortgage. We are aggressively (and I mean aggressively) trying to get rid of it. We re-fied from our 15 year mortgage into a heloc at a variable 2.75. It’s our goal to pay it off before the Fed raises rates. I would love to see you blog about your mortgage payoff journey. Would you consider it?

    One more question…why didn’t you use coupons for cutting your grocery bill? I feed a family of 4 high quality food (mostly organic, all home cooked) on about 100 a week. Your grocery bills seem way to high!

    • Coupon Queen

      *lol* I just told him the same thing about his grocery bill. But even yours is wayyy too high. It takes a little time but you can get your grocery bill down to under $100.00 a MONTH. I do with a family of 3 plus 4 big dogs.
      Now I want my mortgage paid off as well as my school loan. I was already on the road of doing this, but Harvard guy gave me some more incentive.

  35. Robbie

    You know, I actually expected to watch this video and think “this is total BS”; but actually, this is really inspiring. I know when I graduate I’ll have to pay off a lot of student loans (which I doubt will be as high as yours, making this video more impressive.) The steps you took to cut costs may be drastic for some, but they’re completely realistic. Now I have a good idea on where to start when it comes to paying of my debt. Thank you.

  36. MJ

    Congratulations, I’m going to forward this to our college freshman. If you could wind the clock back, what would you tell yourself ahead of accepting all of that student money? I’m hoping your voice carries more weight than that of crazy parents….

  37. olgav100

    I read the Yahoo article and some of the comments (most of which are stupid and jealous), and while I haven’t read any of the posts here or comments either, I have to say I am impressed. All the people who claim having $100k+ salary is an easy thing for wiping $90k debt are delirious. Read get Reach Slowly, folks! When some of us (myself including) don’t make $100k, we usually also don’t have Harvard-size debt! Main point of the whole thing – to live below means! Identify wants and needs and separate reality from fu-fu stuff. Coming from a country where debt, or credit card, had never existed, always keeps me bewildered why people in US even think (or, rather, don’t) about buying crap they can’t pay out of pocket for right away, now, this second. No money – no crap! Take public transportation, cook at home 100% and don’t drink/smoke (or, when you’re a young male and still want to breathe some life of alike, find other ways). Set up priorities and stop complaining. Congrats! By the way, apparently, my DH works with you, so it’s kind of funny.. Good luck, and don’t loose these skills once you feel rich again.

    • John

      I came out of undergrad with a $80,000 debt – which is how much I make in just under FIVE YEARS. This guy’s debts were less than his income in a single year; how can you say it’s not more difficult for the rest of us?

      • Chris

        Sounds like you’re not too bright for getting a degree and getting $80K in debt and then making $16K a year. Pretty poor decision on your part that in now way diminishes this accomplishment.

      • Larry

        He, also, worked a second job, had a few roommates to lower his monthly living expenses, and emptied out his 401k account, thus, allowing him to accelerate paying off the debt. For some reason, that seems to slip a lot of peoples’ minds. Accumulating student debt is a predicament of choice; therefore, an argument that one has it more difficult than another is is a moot point.

      • meg

        to chris — this is actually realistic. more and more students are getting over their head in debts because they are told a college degree will get them a better job and now the market is incredibly over saturated. 50% of college grads now graduate without a job or a job that they are overqualified for.

        it is amazing to me how many people are patting this guy on the back for getting rid of his debt. i don’t find this inspiring. i am not going to make 100K+ after i graduate, and i’m not going to be able to sell my second car and motorcycle to pay off my debt because i won’t have them in the first place. living with roommates to help? i’ll be doing that from the get go. let me play the world’s smallest violin for you.

        jesus, everyone, get a grip on reality. i suppose the writer’s dedication is admirable, but other than that, this is ridiculous.

      • Chris

        Meg – $80K in debt with no job prospects? If I were to take out $80K in debt, I’d make sure the degree I was getting could pay it off (there are several that are still in high demand – but stay away from English and History, etc.), or go to state U or community college where the debt load, in no way, would be as severe. You can work your way through undergrad, go to a state college, and not be $80K in debt. How is borrowing $80K, pursing a degree that pays $16K out of college, and not being able to find a decent job a good decision?

      • meg

        i think you are missing my point, chris. my point is that w/ 50% of recent grads unemployed or with jobs they are overqualified for, it’s not really a lot of people’s fault. it’s a terrible job market, and if you have a job your degree is for, you are in very good shape.

        i’m not saying people should get in debt beyond their means of paying it off. my entire point is that this is kind of not close to what reality is. reality is that people thought if they could get a college degree, they would get a job — that the debt would be worth it. that is no longer the case, which is the college debt bubble is looking scarier and scarier.

        for what it’s worth, chris, i’m currently getting an engineering degree at a top public university and will graduate with about 25K in debt. you’re speaking from a LOT of privilege saying you can just work your way through college and not be in as much debt.

      • Chris

        Meg, I think you actually get my point. You’ve selected a major that will pay off, and have not gotten over your head in debt. $25K is sustainable, and we have a severe shortage of engineering talent in the US. You should be able to get a job paying at least twice that out of undergrad, even in this job market (I work with many fortune 500 companies who have a hard time finding engineering talent as there is a shortage). Your situation makes a lot of sense. I don’t think it makes sense to rack up $80K in debt, make less than $20K a year, and complain about it, and also say what Joe did was easy (it’s not).

        For what it’s worth, I graduated in the recession 10 years ago with an engineering degree with similar debt levels to you. It helps to have majored in something that’s in demand. I’ve had debt, and paid it off. If that makes me privileged, so be it, I’m happy to have made decisions that put me in a “privileged” situation.

  38. summer lopresti

    I owe that much from nursing school at a ridiculously expensive private college in cleveland, ohio that I should never have attended. Ive been racking my brain for repayment options but this article my friend is very uplifting!! Makes me want to start saving and paying back!!!!!

  39. Good for you dude. I’m currently pursuing teaching abroad as a means to cancel my student debt. I don;t have to worry about rent, food and plane ticket to and from.I see this as a way to cancel my debt and save as well…while having a little fun too.

  40. Amanda

    Your story is truly amazing. Congratulations and thank you for the inspiration!!!!

  41. Joe: This is so awesome!!! My wife “olgav…” (commented above) and I talk about this stuff often. Of course, the responses on Yahoo are mostly idiotic and full of jealously. It doesn’t matter if an individual makes $15k (I did at my first job out of college) or $100k, it’s about living within one’s means. And, work ethic goes a long way in life and you exude that trait in spades. 🙂

  42. Chaz

    Emotional decision, not a very smart one IMO.

  43. Nona

    Damn…I have got to hand it to you! I have about 40k in student loan deb and make less than 20k a year. It’s a much smaller version of your scenario but just as overwhelming I can assure you. I hope that my feat can be accomplished 2yrs! Thanks for the inspiration and added determination!! It has been really overwhelming. It’s nice to know that it is possible to actually get rid of student debt! thank you!

  44. Cheryl

    Hey NMHD, I was thinking that I was missing your posts now that you have accomplished your goal, and I stopped over to find out you are a media star! Good deal! More people can be inspired as I was. You paid the debt off and accomplished so much more in the process I think. So is your employer ok with everyone knowing about you? Are you getting ribbed at work? I see girls are asking you out 🙂 In all seriousness, would love to hear your thoughts on all the media and what is next should you choose to continue blogging. Cheryl

  45. Cheryl

    Oh sorry I should be calling you Joe, not NMHD. Habit ::)

  46. Very attractive and smart guy! I have a 60k debt (Nursing school) and now I will start my MS which will increase the debt to 100k+, so I will use his advice 🙂

  47. The Bible tells us “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8). By sharing your testimony to the world encourages others that it is possible to get out of debt if you sacrifice a few temporary pleasures in life. Thanks for giving us a great example. This is a sign of a great leader, to lead by example. Good job and look forward to seeing how you are going to invest what you would have owed, I smell a millionaire.

  48. Coupon Queen

    Ok, I’m inspired! I have a student loan of 50 grand and a house in another state that I’ll never live in which nobody is renting right now. I am off to my boring 12 hour job right now where I usually think about about my retirement that’s coming up in 3 years. It looks like you have inspired me to go in a different direction with all of this. I haven’t had time to read your whole blog, but I have the next 4 days off to do so. Hmmm..4 days off this week, 3 days off the next week. That’s my regular schedule. Looks like I could add another job in there but I’d have to do it where nobody recognizes me as my job will fire me if I have another job.
    Lots to think about and some serious planning to do. If you younggins can do it, so can I. *lol*
    PS…And you spend wayyy too much on groceries. I spend under $100.00 a month on name brand food for 3 people and my house is stocked with all the goodies. I do coupons that would put extreme couponers to shame. *L*
    Anyways, thanks!

  49. Guest

    Great job–Congratulations!

    As I posted elsewhere on this Blog, I have kids in their late 20 ‘s who do not want to give up their Cailfornia lifestyle. So far, they’ve all been successful here in CA, but I know if they were willing to cut more corners, as you have, they could save even more.

    I’ll definitely be passing all of your great ideas along to them–thanks!!

  50. chattylill

    Congratulations! Smart and good looking, rare combination!

  51. Trinidad

    Dude, this is going to become my bible. Going to Stanford next year with no financial aid or help from parents. Landscaping business was pretty innovative. Maybe I could do some mechanic stuff or something. That’s what I’m planning to do this summer. I do have a question though: did saving 40k balance out what you lost in 401k contributions (which the Yahoo article said that your employer matched), retirement savings with penalty, etc?

    Btw, love the S2000! I have a WRX, and I guess I will for a while lol.

  52. GreenSprinkles

    Congratulations! What an accomplishment. I wish I had learned about this blog back in August when you started this journey. Hopefully you’ll continue the blog to tell us how quickly you’re paying down your mortgage, and if your FOMO is gone for good.

  53. Javi B.

    I jut read about your feat on yahoo news and came here in disbelief. I have a few thousand dollars in student loan debt and am completely inspired to pay it off asap after reading your story. Thanks for sharing and congratulations on achieving freedom.

  54. Megan Mihalic

    I, like everyone else on here commenting now, read your article on Yahoo! I have to admit though I only first started reading it because of your last name. My name is Megan Mihalic and I have never seen anyone else with that last name! I had to read your article then, which lead to me your blog, which I read in full! Very interesting and inspiring to read but most exciting to me is your name. Wishing you the best.

  55. Dude! GOOD for you! Getting my doctorate at USC was awesome but I must say I’m in the 90,000+ debt zone and looking at a 90,000 annual salary once I’m done this summer. Hopefully I can pull it off like you and like the person above congrats on the freedom!! I don’t know if I’ll be able to put off alllllll the entertainment but I’ll definitely have a flask in my purse 🙂

  56. Bill

    Don’t stop now! If you were able to pay off 90k in 7 months, stay on the same path and you can save 1,000,000 dollars in just over 70 months. And that’s not including any interest that will now work for you. That’s phase two of your blog. That’s a journey people will follow.

  57. PH

    I am inspired. Congrats. I have over 120k in students loan and no, i don’t have an MBA or a doctorate. About 45k from undergrad and the rest acquired in grad school getting an MPH. I currently don’t have a job but actively looking but somehow even with all the odds seemingly against me, I am determined to pay it off perhaps not as fast as you but within a short time. You give me hope. I would love to correspond with you for some advice.

  58. theimtiaz

    It’s really an incredible accomplishment Joe! Be Happy… Always!!!

    Would love to follow you to eliminate my debt.

    • Crystal

      GOING TO ELIMINATE MY DEBT ALSO, Student debt 8500.00, and credit card debit 4500.00. Single parent, with part time job. It ia very hard to do know matter how much or how little you make. Good work young man. I have been trying to get child support for 5 years

  59. Tina C.

    Hi: I read your story in the WSJ. Can you share what exactly your job was right out of college? I’d love to know what specific position I should be applying for when I get out of school…and what kind of company would offer me a six-figure salary out of college with little job experience.

    • Christina

      Tina, if you read the blog you will learn that he reached a six figure salary after after a lot of specialized experience and a masters degree from a top program. If you read the blog, you’ll also learn his first position out of college.

      There are online resources to help you understand what types of jobs pay six figures (see for one). I’m sorry to inform you that most of them are not for freshly minted college graduates with no experience. It’s called paying your dues. Hopefully you can find something on the list that piques your interest and hopefully you have enough time left before you graduate to help orient you in that direction. Good luck.

  60. Meg

    Thanks for sharing your story! Couldn’t get the video to work, but came to your blog via the Yahoo story – and noted that many of the commenters were whining about how THEY could do what you’ve done on their less than six-figure incomes. In my opinion, it’s all relative – and it comes down to how much you’re willing to sacrifice – and those commenters won’t sacrifice anything to meet their financial goals.

    I started out with $62K in student loan debt and a less than $40K per year job. I’ve since picked up three additional part time jobs and have cut my spending (and credit card use) substantially – and I’m set to pay off my loans at the end of the year, 2.5 years after I started paying them off. I’m tired of listening to people who continually say “but I caaaaaaaan’t” do something – even though you make gobs more money than I ever will on one salary, you took action and met your goal. Bravo, and thanks for the inspiration – I’ll remember your story on those days when I’m feeling like the most over-worked underpaid fool in existence while my friends are out buying new dresses and shoes and going to happy hour (all on credit or via student loans). . . .

  61. Reblogged this on Woman's Worth Blog and commented:

  62. Stephanie V.

    Wow , watching this actually makes me feel better.. So far, I have like $8,000 to pay of loans and I find that’s a lot lol

  63. jriley94

    This is freaking awesome man! Really inspirational to see you live within your means!

  64. rnkate

    Thank You!! In a week you are the second article/blog I have read regarding the effects of student loans. Thankfully I am debt free, but in 6 weeks I am getting married to the man of my dreams and with him comes $73,000 in student loans. Our goal is to pay this off within 2 years. Its going to be hard and its going to require sacrifices, but we can do it. I know we can. I have a daughter we well which will compound the issue, but we must remain committed. Thank you for putting yourself out there! P.S. We just live down the road in San Antonio! Go Texas!

  65. I can’t wait for the day I can give an anti-climatic sigh of relief after paying off my student loan. I would love to pay it off in a couple of years, specifically, before I start having kids, but I don’t think that dream will be realized. I am going to start figuring out how to “Decrease expenses and increase revenue” per your mantra thanks to your journey to at least speed the process up (I’m in a 25-year repayment plan and the burden feels heavy). Congrats, and wish I had met you before I was taken! Cute, smart and savvy to boot!

  66. Pingback: Inspiring Video on Getting Rid of College Debt | Budgets Are Sexy

  67. Pingback: BBY021 The First Step To Riches | Building A Better You Podcast

Leave a Reply to nomoreharvarddebt Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s