Debt-Free Journey Interview #2

The purpose of the debt-free interview series are to help others learn strategies for paying off or avoiding debt.

Today’s interview is with Josh from @thebaldmillionaire.

About Josh:

I originally started off my education at the US Naval Academy with the intention of graduating debt free. About half way though my schooling, before signing my commitment to the military, I decided to take a temporary leave of absence and move to Tokyo to work for a humanitarian organization doing work with local governments for about 18 months.

While in Tokyo, I got an injury that prevented me from returning to the Naval Academy so I had to switch gears.

I went to Ohio State University where I got my business degree with a logistics specialization. I did not qualify for any scholarships at the time so I had to pay tuition out of pocket. I worked an on-campus job and took out a few student loans to help make my way through my final 3 years of school. 

Currently, I’m a process improvement consultant for a technology company based in Nashville, TN working my way to $1M in net worth by the age of 35.

@thebaldmillionaire

Currently, I’m a process improvement consultant for a technology company based in Nashville, TN working my way to $1M in net worth by the age of 35

Lets get started!

What was your age at the time of your first debt?

21 – First debt was school loans.

What type of debt did you have?

Car, student, and credit card debt.

How much was the debt?

About $45,000.

How long did it take to pay it off?

It took about 18 months to pay off the debt entirely. Slowly at the beginning but began to pick up as I got closer to the end.

What was your pay off strategy?
  • Besides that I cut out almost all my expenses. Some personal finance gurus will suggest eating rice and beans until your debt free – but I actually did that! Other than housing, food, and fuel, I had very little that I was spending on.
  • I monetized one of my hobbies, photography by building a small local wedding photography business. On Saturdays and Sundays every weekend from early spring to late fall I would spend my time at weddings photographing them for about $500-$3,000 depending on whether I was a lead photographer or an assistant photographer.
  • At the time of graduation, I purchased a small single family home. I moved into the basement and rented out the master bedroom as well as the guest room on AirBnb – people refer to this as “house hacking” as all my living expenses were covered by the income generated by Airbnb which allowed me to save even further.
  • Another way I was able to pay down the debt quickly was by reselling things that I found for free from my neighbors or on Facebook Marketplace. I found furniture to be a good niche and would buy and clean up tables and chairs to sell them at a higher price – I probably made a good $1,000+ dollars the first few months of doing this.
  • Basically any extra money outside of my normal expenses I would throw at my debt. Started out with my student loans which I was able to pay off relatively quickly then transitioned over to my credit card debt. The biggest debt I had (and probably my biggest regret) was the car that I purchased right out of college – I succumbed to lifestyle creep and bought myself a pretty nice car. This took me the most time to pay off and was the last of my debt to conquer.
What advice do you have for others?

You are not alone. There are many people out there who are also trying to fix their debt situations. Find these people and become their friends – hear their stories, ask them for advice, and help each other to learn and grow. and Having a good support system is critical to ensure that you’re able to keep at it.

Paying off debt, similar to working out, takes time and consistency. You wont get in shape just going to the gym once, you have to go day after day even when you don’t feel like it to get the results you want.

I would also advise people trying to pay off debt to learn as much as possible about personal finance. Being fluent in the language of money is a skill that all people should have. There are plenty of free resources out there on the internet to get educated on personal finance, budget advisor blog being one of them!

Key Lessons:

  • Reduce your expenses where you can
  • Increase income through side hustles or by monetizing hobbies
  • Put all extra money towards paying off debt
  • Have a good support system
  • Learn more about personal finance through free resources

Like this story? Follow Josh on Instagram @thebaldmillionaire and follow his journey to $1 million by 35 years of age.

Follow @budgetadvisorblog on Instagram for more related content! Every Friday a new Debt-Free Journey Interview will be posted. Use the button above to submit your own story!

Next up on the Debt-Free Interview Series, find out how Ore from @growingyourcoins is actively paying off $30k worth of student & car loans with various tips & strategies. Read the interview here!

Published by Dana Johnson

Hi, my name is Dana and I help teach the value of budgeting & saving early on in life so you can achieve your financial goals.

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