“[A budget] is a behavioral modification. It’s like doing yoga for the first time. There’s pain and discomfort.”

How One Mint User is Crushing $11k in Debt in Just One Year

Aaron Hahn vividly remembers the moment he decided to crush his debt.

It happened in March, while visiting his retired aunt and uncle in Arizona.

Their home, with a lush, sprawling golf course as its backdrop, symbolized to him the power of hard work and consistent savings. Not to mention, this was their vacation home, a place where his “snowbird” aunt and uncle enjoyed visiting during the winter months.

“It was my ‘aha’ moment,” says Hahn, who, at the time, had about $42,000 in debt spread across student loans, a car loan and credit cards.  “I was like, ‘O.M.G. I want this life.’ I want to do what they’re doing. I want to be financially independent.”

Hahn had also just celebrated his 34th birthday, which served as another wake-up call. “It was a confluence of events…I realized that I just wasn’t taking care of money like I should be, like a grown-ass man,” says Hahn. “I feel like there’s an awakening when you’re in your 30’s.”

His first plan of attack: Obliterate his $11,000 in credit card debt. For Hahn, credit was just a tool to for buying stuff when you didn’t have the cash. “The credit card debt was just something I was misusing,” he admits. “It became another part of my spending arsenal. I used credit for more spending power.”

Since March Hahn, who works in the Navy, has embarked on a diligent plan to reach debt zero across his four credit cards. He’s given himself 12 months to eliminate all balances and has, for the first time ever, begun budgeting.  He’s using Mint to stay on track.

Will Hahn cross the finish line in time? I thought it would be interesting (and fun?) to check in from time to time to report on his progress and setbacks. He says he likes having me as an accountability partner.

Head on over to the Mint blog to see how Hahn’s staying focused and handling some setbacks in the first few months. We’ll check back with him in the fall.

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