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115R | How to Get Out of Debt

A how-to conversation about strategies for tackling consumer debt, a review of Monday’s episode with Bonnie Traux, and a few updates about the ChooseFI community.

  • Brad’s wife no longer working as a CPA – although she was technically laid off, she’s excited for the extra time in her schedule.
  • Being at FI gave Laura the ability to be happy for her previous employer and move on with a smile.
  • Bonnie Traux, from Monday’s episode, is an ultimate side hustler.
  • If you’re stuck, you’ll have to do something different if you want a different result.
  • Bonnie reached financial independence in about 13 years.
  • Before starting to save, Bonnie spent years paying down consumer debt as her husband was continuing to build it.
  • The journey towards financial independence doesn’t start at zero – it often starts with tackling debt.
  • How to tackle debt
    • Part 1: Know where to find your account information
      • Use account-tracking software – examples:, YNAB (You Need A Budget), or even Excel or a pen and paper.
      • Know what’s coming in, and what’s going out.
      • List out all the debts you have, their payments and interest rates.
    • Part 2: Acknowledging that you can’t afford debt.
      • Reasonable interest rates are somewhere near or below 6%.
    • Part 3: Debt Payoff Strategy
      • The Debt Snowball – take all your debts and organize them from smallest balance to largest. Continue making minimum payments for all debts, and commit any extra to paying off the smallest debt. When it’s paid off, roll that payment into paying off the next smallest.
        • The Debt Snowball is a psychological win, but ignores interest rates.
      • The Avalanche – the interest rate is the most important thing. Always pay toward the balance with the highest interest rate.
      • The Hybrid Method – combine these two strategies to pay off a few smaller debts at first, then commit to paying toward the highest interest debt.
    • Part 4: Creating the Margin
      • You could earn more – start a side hustle, work a little extra
      • A no-spend month
      • Optimize regular monthly expenses
      • A credit card balance transfer
      • Consolidating debt


  • Brad and Jonathan will join the Washington, D.C. Local Group on April 8.
  • One of the Colorado Springs Local Group members is hosting a weekly dinner and board game night.



YNAB (You Need A Budget)

ChooseFI Episode 100 – Welcome to the FI Community

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