073: How Amanda from Debt Free in Sunny CA Paid Off $133,763 in Debt

Hey, I'm Chris.

I'm a former Analyst, Podcaster, and Producer. My goal is to help you understand your finances better in about the time it takes to make a bag of popcorn!

Amanda from DebtFreeInSunnyCA.com joins me to discuss paying off a huge amount of debt. Amanda and her husband Josh became debt free on July 5th, 2018 after paying off $133,763! In today’s episode, Amanda shares some big sacrifices she made to pay off her debt and answers a couple of listener questions.

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Meet Amanda

Amanda works in the IT security field by day and runs DebtFreeInSunnyCA.com at night and in her free time.  Amanda and her husband Josh found themselves in a ton of debt and it has been their mission over the past 3 years and 7 months to pay it all off. 

On July 5th, 2018 they finished paying off $133,763 in debt!  Their debt consisted of student loans, credit cards, and two vehicles. They are currently enjoying life after debt and working on their emergency fund with future plans to buy a sailboat. 

Upside Down on a Car Loan

Paying off debt this large takes serious sacrifice. Amanda did just that when she decided to sell her car on which her loan was upside down.

Being upside down on a loan means that you owe more on the loan than the car is worth. This means that if you were to sell the car the money received wouldn’t be enough to pay the remaining loan balance.  This situation happens with almost every new car that is purchased with little or no money down because new cars lose value so quickly.

Amanda details exactly how she handled this situation on her blog Debt Free in Sunny CA.

High Cost of Living

Where Amanda lives is a big part of her story.  As I know all too well, California is a ridiculously expensive place to live.  At the beginning of Amanda’s debt-free journey her rent made up about 50% of her total take-home pay.  This made making big changes to her financial situation, like selling her car, a must.

Getting Your Spouse on Board

When Amanda first started out on her journey to debt freedom she and her now husband were just dating.  After a year and a half they got married and faced the very difficult task of combining their finances.  Things were a mess for a while and took some tweaking to find the sweet spot. 

Something to keep in mind is that when you are working with a spouse or partner to manage your finances it takes a lot of communication and a lot of compromise.  Amanda said that it took some convincing to get her husband on board. 

One thing that he struggled with was giving up some of the things that he enjoyed, and I know exactly how he feels.  It can be so hard to go without the things that we enjoy and have grown accustomed to in our lives.  But once you catch the debt free bug like Amanda, and with time her husband as well, these changes become easier and easier to make.


Other than paying off $133,763 in debt, Amanda has become well-known for one other thing.  She started the wildly popular hashtag #DebtFreeCommunity on Instagram.  This hashtag along with her Instagram account, @DebtFreeInSunnyCA, have become huge fixtures in the online debt freedom community.

If you are dealing with debt or just need some motivation in your life make sure you give Amanda a follow on Instagram at @DebtFreeInSunnyCA

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