By the time he turned 30, Derek Sall had paid off more than $100,000 worth of debt.
Sall, who chronicles his financial journey on his blog, Life and My Finances, first realized he needed to take his debt seriously when he and his then-wife realized they were starting out their post-college lives already underwater. They resolved to get out of debt as quickly as possible and paid off $20,000 in 14 months.
When the couple divorced a few years later, Sall found himself in debt again. Because he wanted to keep the house, he owed his ex $21,000, plus the $60,000 left on the mortgage. Again, Sall buckled down and paid off everything within a few years. He became debt-free just shy of his 30th birthday.
His ability to pay off his debt wasn't made possible by a high-profile job or a windfall. Rather, he focused on earning as much, and spending as little, as possible.