Derek Sall speaks from experience when it comes to paying off debt: He conquered more than $100,000 worth of loans by the time he turned 30, and he did it not with a windfall but with a spreadsheet.
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.