How I got out of $22,139.00 debt in 12 months

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Peta Serras

by Peta Serras

10 pieces of advice I’d give to anyone who wants to get out of debt fast

I clearly remember the day that it sunk in that I had debt. So much for being a responsible adult I thought.

The start of 2015 was probably the worst 4 months of my life after getting into a car accident, attempting to break my expensive lease and ending up in hospital sick with glandular fever leaving me unable to work for 3-6 months. Add on top of that a natural disaster in the Hunter Valley halved my clientele (because when life screws you, it’s always hard) making my debt higher than I wished.

I kept my debt at a maintainable level until September 2015 when I knew I had to fix it fast.

I contemplated selling my body to science or to a 60-year-old billionaire to pay the bills, but then I remembered I’m a self-sufficient female and I was completely capable of doing this myself.

I wallowed in self-pity plenty of times, but I still sucked it up and worked hard to pay it off. And in about 360 days I paid off $22,139.00 plus interest.

Your debt could be a lot more or a lot less than this, but here are the pieces of advice I’d give to anyone overwhelmed by debt.

Also, I don’t even know if I need to tell you this, but I’m not an accountant or financial planner. Duh. I’m a 28-year-old model/writer/almond croissant connoisseur who got out of debt herself, still looking polished, professional and keeping her sanity intact (most of the time).

If you feel overwhelmed and completely in the thick of it then please go and chat to someone along with these tips.

1. I made goals

How can you get your debt down if you have no idea of the exact amount you have to pay with no idea of the timeframe that you’d like to achieve it in? Write everything down and make clear goals. Just remember that success sometimes isn’t linear, so I accepted that sometimes I’d be able to pay of $2000 a month, other times $200 a month.

2. I did EFT to change my views on money

Maybe a little too woo-woo for you, but emotional freedom technique works on tapping on various meridians of the body to change particular beliefs you have about a subject like your love life, money story and self-worth. Think affirmations on steroids. Brad Yates is my go-to guy for this on YouTube.

3. I surrounded myself with good money mentors

I believe you absorb other people’s energy, so I chose to associate and chat with people who had a good relationship when money when I talked about my debt. Think of the most draining person you know. How do you feel after you hang around or chat to them? Like shit, right? I made a conscious effort to people who had a bomb career but started similarly to me. People who also had a good relationship with money, like Denise Duffield-Thomas (her tips on money manifestation are incredible!).

4. I was aware of everything I spent

I started to track all the money coming in and going out. I was spending sometimes $84.00 a week on coffee and $120.00 a week on meals out? Although I didn’t stop doing this, having that awareness there meant I could reign it in a little, still enjoy it but just be mindful about how much I was actually spending.

5. I used my blog to help me

Residual income, such a sexy thing! But PB has really helped me to kick my debt out of the park. You can find more about that in a post about the 5 ways my blog has helped me to get out of debt.

6. I still treated myself

When I look good I feel good. I’m in a better mind to work and make money. When I’m making money I can pay off my debt faster. So what makes me feel good? Dinner with my girlfriends, getting my nails done and sometimes splurging on a gorgeous lingerie set.

7. As soon as I had money I paid it off my debt

I didn’t wait until my statement was due, I paid something off it as soon as I had money. Not only did this make me feel good, but it meant I wasn’t able to spend it on something else that I didn’t necessarily need. Sometimes it would be $10.00, other times it would be $500.00, but it would all add up.

8. I kept my eye on the prize

I stopped focussing on that big figure and being overwhelmed. Instead, I kept my focus on being debt free and getting there with small steps. I focussed on how good that would feel and I focussed on that on a daily basis.

9. I celebrated my wins

Every time I paid off a chunk of money I allowed myself to feel a sense of satisfaction. Even though I was still in debt, I was doing all the right things to get out of it. Rather than resent that I had to pay money back and I couldn’t buy something fun, I acknowledged that I was super lucky to have the money to pay off my debt.

10. I learned from it

My debt happened because I wasn’t organised in business. I didn’t realise how quickly things snowball and how $2k can quickly turn into $10k if you aren’t paying attention to it. I now have a plan in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.


Peta Serras
Editor of Professional Babe, Peta has a penchant for pretty things, Tom Hardy and ginger kittens. You can find her sipping a long black, creating killer content or making sure her winged eyeliner is even. Peta is a writer, model & Pilates Instructor based out of the Hunter Valley.
  • Michelle

    Excellent advice! also thanks for the link to Denise’s site! I have just watched her manifesting videos, very cool, I shall be manifesting for all the things I want (and things I secretly want…hehe)
    I did love your last post on dating, I laughed my my ass off! I can’t help laughing everytime time I think of lost keys!

    • professionalbabe

      No worries at all! Denise gives great advice. I have 2 of her books and I get her weekly emails too. Her advice is easy to apply too. And thanks so much, there will be a few more to come and I laughed out loud at your comment at the keys haha! Xox

  • Emma Barnet

    I love Denise and I love you! Would you consider writing an article on what you’d do differently if you had the chance to start again? I’m about to venture into my first solo business project and it’s daunting to think about the amount of debt I’ll be accruing – I’d love to know the “what NOT to do” points 🙂

    • professionalbabe

      Hello beautiful!
      Do you mean start another business and avoid debt altogether or how not to get into debt? Let me know! There’s been a lot of good feedback from everyone from writing about this stuff so I am definitely keen to continue with more posts like this! xo

      • Emma Barnet

        I guess following on from how you’ve got systems in place so that you don’t get deep into debt again, but any tips on minimising debt as you start out as well! I’m a sponge – you write it, I’ll read it 😛 x

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