Dropping debt while building a YouTube business


Sarah Wilson, aka  Budget Girl, first came to my attention when we were both guests on Gaby Dunn's podcast Bad with Money. But apparently I was late to the game. Her video's chronicling her very public journey to get out of debt have an almost cult-like following with serious engagement. She is not only raw and real about her own mission to be debt free- she also gives her viewers specific tools to get started themselves, like this video complete with budgeting tools. But most of all, there's just something about Sarah that makes you just root for this woman and want to keep watching.


 So after the podcast I tracked her down. It took almost 6 months to meet her in person, and when I did at FinCon17, I sat down with the YouTuber to get her Financial Grownup Moment. 




Sarah's Moment: As people on the internet may know, I got out of $33,000 of student loan debt in just 3 years, making a reporter's salary of just $26,000 for the bulk of it. My financial grownup moment was when I lost my job making $26,000 a year and suddenly had all this debt behind me that I had to take care of. It was terrible. I decided to start getting on YouTube and become completely open about my financial situation in an effort to commit myself to paying it off. So I started talking every single week and telling you exactly how much debt I had at that moment and show you what i was spending every single dollar on and along the way I figured out how to save a ton of money, increase my income via side gigs and grow my YouTube channel into a business. 




Sarah's Lesson My lesson to share is to not wait for some giant windfall. Some people may not realize that I did not get out of debt because of my YouTube channel. I actually did not start making a lot of money on my YouTube channel until kind of the end of my debt journey.





The way that I got out of debt was by sacrificing a lot. Cuttng my life style down a lot. And hustling with side gigs and figuring out ways to increase my income even though I was only making $26,000 a year during my day job. I delivered pizza’s, I did secret shopping. I trained dogs. I cleaned houses. Essentially I traded all my spare time and hobbies for things that would make me money.  Instead of hobbies that would cost me money.


You get to get really creative. My friendships deepened during that time because we were having to talk to each other and spend a lot of time with each other for super cheap and we had so much fun doing it. You don’t have to give up everything. I didn’t spend 3 years watching paint dry on the wall I had an amazing three years. I did incredible things. Fun things. I lived a very full life during that time, while still saving as much money as humanly possible. So that I can have an even better future. 

In her own words: Sarah shares her Financial Grownup moment and her lesson for financial freedom