“We Paid Off Over $30,000 in Credit Card Debt”

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Welcome to the next installment of our interview series where folks share their thoughts about Big Travel with Small Money!

Miles & Points Interview:   Eyes on the Dollar  

Kim started Eyes on the Dollar to document her and her husband’s journey from broke to debt-free.  Now they have paid off their debt, learned how to use credit cards responsibly, and travel the world!

Eyes On The Dollar - Interview With Kim

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

How and when did you start collecting miles and points?

My husband and I used to break all the golden rules of travel hacking by never paying off our balance and living beyond your means.

After 18 long months of recommitting ourselves to being debt free, we paid off over $30,000 in credit card debt and learned that if you use credit correctly, it allows you to see the world for minimal cost.  We started seriously collecting miles and points about a year and a half ago, after we said goodbye to consumer debt forever.

Why did you start your blog?  What’s special about it?

I started my blog in August 2012.  I wanted readers to see that it is possible to change your situation and live the life you always wanted, even if it seems like you are starting from the bottom of a pit.

Eyes On The Dollar - Interview With Kim

After the Storm Near Silverton, Colorado

What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?

Obviously credit card sign-up bonuses are the bread and butter for any points and miles collector, but it’s also important to use category bonuses to your advantage.  Unless you are meeting a minimum spending requirement, you should be getting at least double or triple points on every purchase.

What’s your most memorable travel experience?

I don’t know if I can pick one.  Any new experience with our daughter is amazing.  Watching her see the ocean for the 1st time or master her 1st blue ski run are 2 that rank pretty high on my list.

Eyes On The Dollar - Interview With Kim

On the Beach in Coronado, California

What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?

My husband used to roll his eyes every time I discovered a new trick for earning miles and points.  Now he can call the credit card company all by himself!  Our families don’t like to travel, but friends are slowly catching on and I am the authority when someone needs to plan a trip.

Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?

Reading miles and points blogs is how I learn all the tricks.  I’d still be using my debit card if I’d never discovered all the information that you and your fellow travel bloggers share with the world.

Eyes On The Dollar - Interview With Kim

Mount St. Helens, Washington

What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?

I won 5,000 Hyatt points from the Million Mile Secrets Saturday giveaway.  Thanks!

What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?

We could have traveled so much more if we’d used our credit cards the right way from the beginning, but I’ve learned so much from our journey out of debt that I am almost grateful for that experience.

What would your readers be surprised to know about you?

Of all the places I’ve lived or visited, Memphis, Tennessee is 1 of my favorites.  I love Elvis and have been to Graceland 6 times.

Eyes On The Dollar - Interview With Kim

Northern Oregon Coast

Any parting words?

Thanks so much for having me.  I’d love to tell the world to stop putting off life because you feel stuck or unable to afford travel or whatever your heart’s desire might be.  I am living proof that you can do a complete 180 in mid-life and still come out ahead.

Kim – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on having Big Travel with Small Money!

If you’d like to be considered for our interview series, please send me a note!

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11 responses to ““We Paid Off Over $30,000 in Credit Card Debt”

  1. Hello. Can you explain how exactly you got out of such debt? I assume you were in it before because you didn’t have money to pay for it. How did you save or generate such an amount to pay back? Thanks

  2. It’s nice to hear from people who really did start from the bottom of the pit.

    Freedom from debt and travel are two of my favorite things.

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  4. @Stone, Basically, my husband and I had to take a really hard look at our debt and commit to changing our whole way of thinking and how we lived our lives. It was hard. We cut out everything we could and sold lots of stuff, but really, the only way to pay off that much debt without taking a decade is to earn more income, so I took a second job and my husband did extra work as he could and we spent a year and a half basically working for Visa and Mastercard. I have lots of posts on my blog about it if you want more details.
    @Anne, Thanks. I am not proud of getting into so much debt, but being able to pay it off has shown us that anything is possible.

  5. Great reminder Kim. Debt is such a stone around people’s necks. The average person doesn’t realize it because so many others share their plight. But trading that debt in for a vacation or the ability to spend more time with family is such a blessing.

  6. Love the nature shots. Such a different change of pace. Were you roughing it out there or staying in some nice hotels with your points? That’s my idea of camping! 🙂 Glamping, as they call it!. Also well done with the work hard approach. It’s very easy to claim bankruptcy as I did this myself when I was younger. Real respect for what you did.

  7. Great interview Kim! Glad to see that your debt payoff story has lead to earning awesome credit card rewards. I am in the same boat as you, but just started getting into travel miles. I am getting hooked though!

  8. @Steve, I’d rather take a trip with my family than have just about any material thing I can think of.

    @Kent, We stayed with points along the Oregon coast as much as possible and also used VRBO. We have a favorite little hotel in Coronado that isn’t a chain, but we used Barclay card points to stay there this year. We also have a pop up camper and use that for road trips. I am not a tent girl anymore, but love to be outdoors, especially when I have a nice shower and bed at the end of a hike! We will branch out to some more urban and faraway destinations as our daughter gets older, but there is still tons to see if you go off the beaten path sometimes.

  9. Dear Darius,

    My name is Pramit Bhasin and I am a Neurologist in Ashland, Kentucky. My spouse is also a physician and we have two little children. During the span of 2007 thru 2010 all members of the Bhasin family maintained status with Delta. I had Platinum Medallion, my wife had Gold Medallion, and my sons were both Silver Medallions with Delta.
    I would be delighted if you would consider us for the interview series. Coordinating schedules of two busy physicians with an infant and toddler in tow was no easy feat to accomplish – but despite obvious challenges our travels (business class Yoo hoo)spanned several continents. My sons ages 9 and 7 have already amassed approximately 200K BIS (butt in seat )miles with Delta and approximately 50K with United. We were living the earn and burn dream and still are (school schedules do put a slight damper on travel plans from time to time)

    I believe my story will resonate greatly with your readers as your core audience demographic seems to be professional twenty to thirtysomethings who seem to be just starting to get married (yourself) and have a child or two.

    Best Regards,
    Pramit Bhasin MD

  10. Great story! Getting out of a big amount of debt like that has to feel empowering. 🙂

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