Paying Off $109,000 of Credit Card Debt

martinis and your money

Paying off $109,000 of Credit Card Debt

On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I am talking to Brian Brandow from Debt Discipline about his experience with credit card debt. He thought making the minimum payments on their credit cards was doing good with money. Then he woke up when they couldn’t go on summer vacation because all the cards were maxed out. After 4 years, they paid it off – all of it! They celebrated by taking that vacation – but with cash! Now he works with their local Board of Education committees on financial literacy for students. Listen and enjoy!

As a side note: the first week in March, I will be recording a ­special listeners’ only Happy Hour with three lucky listeners! If you’d like to be selected, you must:

  1. Enjoy a good Happy Hour
  2. Be a member of the Martinis and Your Money Facebook group
  3. Between now and February 24, you need to post in the Facebook group something you’ve learned or thought about differently since listening to this show.

I will pick the top three responses and schedule a Happy Hour call to record the podcast!

What are we drinking?

Brian — English Breakfast Tea

Shannon — Coffee

Podcast Notes

  • Brian and his wife started their debt repayment journey in 2010 after ten years of accumulating debt.
  • He attempted to raise his credit limits on his maxed out cards to finance his family’s summer vacation.
  • When he was denied, he realized they needed to change something.
  • Brian found Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and used it as a resource.
  • It took them 4 years to pay down their $109,000 debt.
  • He says the first couple of months were really tough as they were breaking bad habits and adjusting their routines.
  • After 3-4 months, things started to smooth out and become easier.
  • Once they didn’t have their debt payments, they began to build an emergency fund and save for their children’s college.
  • Thankfully they did because after 21 years at his job, he was let go.
  • Shannon says if you are financially healthy, you are able to handle those types of situations.
  • Brian and his wife have been very open with their children about their debt repayment journey and money in general.
  • Two of their children will be attending college this Fall, and they want them to graduate college debt-free.
  • Brian says his views now on credit cards are positive.
  • They utilize credit card rewards and payoff their balances in full every month!
  • Now Brian works with local Board of Education committees about the financial aspects of college education.
  • TAKEAWAY: Remember the importance of making a plan and sticking to it!

Random Three Questions

  1. What was your best debt-free purchase you made?
  2. What is a show you like to binge-watch?
  3. If you were to win a free vacation anywhere, where would you go and why?

Connect with Brian:

Debt Discipline


 Have you struggled with paying down debt?

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.


  1. Dave Ramsey does have a good tool to use to get out of debt. Although I have to admit I prefer the stack method over snowball for debt repayment. But good for paying back over 100k of debt. That’s amazing.

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