- Jasmine and Jay McCall worked together to pay off $96,000 in student loans and $30,000 in credit card debt.
- They lived on Jay’s $85,000 annual salary while devoting Jasmine’s $88,000 salary to paying off debt.
- This article is part of a series focused on millennial financial empowerment called Master Your Money.
After boosting her credit score by 300 points, credit expert Jasmine McCall focused on being debt-free and financially independent.
According to records reviewed by Insider, she and husband Jay paid off $190,000 in debt — $96,000 in student loans and $30,000 in credit cards — in just four years, just before the birth of their first son.
Here’s how the McCalls did it.
1. They lived on one income
The couple revised their budget and cut unnecessary expenses.
Jasmine tells Insider that at one point they were spending $1,000 a month on food, “which is ridiculous for just two people.” She adds, “We stopped spending money on clothes, vacations and dining out. We carefully allocated funds for food, toiletries, subscription services and savings until penny.”
Jasmine says the couple lived off Jay’s $85,000 salary while using Jasmine’s entire $88,000 salary to pay off debts. This is a common strategy that couples use to speed up the debt repayment process.
2. The McCalls used stock dividends to pay big chunks at a time
When Jasmine started her career in technology, she quickly learned to ask questions of her more experienced peers. Along with her salary, Jasmine negotiated for shares in the company. She told Insider, “I had guaranteed stock options in the company that weren’t performance-based, so that was a safe way for me to start investing.”
When it came time to pay off the debt, the McCalls made the decision to use the dividends from those shares to pay off large chunks of their debt all at once.
3. They used the debt snowball method
After reading “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey, the McCalls decided to use the debt snowball method to pay off their debt. The debt snowball method prioritizes smaller debts first, building momentum as you pay off larger debts.
4. The McCalls negotiated lower credit card interest rates
Jasmine used her excellent credit score to negotiate lower interest rates on her credit cards. With these reduced monthly payments, the McCalls could afford to make larger monthly payments for the principal balance.
5. They have hustles
Jasmine handled IT support on the side, while Jay handled freelance web design and business consulting. These side hustles brought in an additional $7,350 in one year. Jasmine has also created digital courses to help others improve their credit scores as well. His digital course company earned him $100,000 in just four months, according to records reviewed by Insider.