Zero Down Your Debt

martinis and your money

Zero Down Your Debt

On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I’m talking to Holly and Greg Johnson, founds of the popular blog site Club Thrifty and authors of the latest book Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love. They share their story of how they paid off their debts and how budgeting helped them to do it. They discuss how the zero-sum budget helped them achieve their dreams and how it can work for you!

As a side note: the first Financial Gym location has opened in New York City at 226 5th Avenue, 5th Floor. Please stop by and have a drink with us if you are in the area or check out The Financial Gym online for its tools and resources to help you break free from your financial challenges and live a financially healthier life! We’ll kick your assets into shape!

What are we drinking?

Holly — Beer

Greg — Scotch with one ice cube

Shannon — Deep Eddy’s cranberry vodka & club soda

Podcast Notes

  • Holly and Greg met in an AOL chatroom in 1999 – Shannon deems them the “grandparents” of online dating.
  • They discuss their time working together in the funeral business for 6½ years.
  • Holly quit her job at the funeral home to pursue her freelance writing career.
  • Two years ago Greg quit to join Holly and run their blog.
  • When Greg decided to work at home, Holly was earning six figures through her writing and blog.
  • They decided to write Zero Down Your Debt because they love zero-sum budgeting – they still use it today!
  • Zero-sum budgeting is planning where ALL of your money goes each and every month.
  • Holly says this type of budgeting made them think of their income and bills in terms of the month.
  • Shannon talks about how most people have a “wing and a prayer” mentality when it comes to budgeting their monthly income.
  • Zero-sum budgeting makes you face your problems, which a lot of people don’t want to do.
  • They discuss how paying off debt is a slow, winnable process and also very rewarding.
  • Zero-sum budgeting involves some estimating of bills and becomes easier the more you do it.
  • Now Holly and Greg are traveling and living the life they love!
  • Shannon says its important to try different types of budgets because you never know what will work best for you.
  • TAKEAWAY: If you have found that budgeting doesn’t work for you in the past, keep trying other budgets until you find the right one for you!

Random Three Questions

  1. What is your favorite location you’ve traveled to?
  2. What is a pet peeve that each of you has for the other person?
  3. What is your favorite movie?

Connect with Holly & Greg:

Club Thrifty

Zero Down Your Debt

Twitter: @ClubThrifty



 Does Budgeting work for you? If so, what kind of budget do you use?

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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. I have tried many budgeting systems before. It is true that you have to go through a lot and keep on looking for the best one that works for you.

  2. My budget is just simple, as long as we’re saving 25% of our income. I think every budget has to work or should fit to own’s needs and goals. But, what I like about creating a budget is that there are lots of advice and tips from bloggers that can help mine work best.

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