Four words that ‘crushed’ $97k debt
AS A 20-something uni graduate, Adeola Omole found herself more than half a million dollars in debt - and then, she lost her job.
The Canadian law graduate had racked up a consumer debt of more than $97,000 thanks to car loans and credit cards, and she and her new husband also had a $444,000 mortgage on top of that.
Ms Omole was earning around $55,000 a year and her husband over $40,000, but their comfortable life was thrown into chaos when Ms Omole was laid off when the dotcom crash hit the economy.
It was a much-needed wakeup call, and Ms Omole realised something needed to change - fast.
She told Business Insider she had to completely alter her mindset about money and "unlearn everything" she had been taught about finances.
Ms Omole began by cutting back on everyday items like clothes, cosmetics and groceries, and bought "virtually everything" at 50 per cent off or more by only buying at the end of the season during big sales, and buying discounted grocery items in bulk.
The couple gave up small luxuries like going to the movies or on holidays, and at one stage had just $25 to spend on groceries in a week.
But in just two years and 10 months, the $97,000 debt had completely vanished, and in 12 years so had the mortgage.
Ms Omole also managed to build up a "seven-figure" net worth during that time.
She told Business Insider it was largely thanks to one simple, four-word mantra: "Spend passion, cut junk".
"In a nutshell, it means that you need to start spending your money on things that bring you joy and that you are passionate about," Ms Omole said.
"You need to do everything in your power to stop spending your money on things that don't bring you joy, things that you're not passionate about, and things that don't add value to your life."
During a recent episode of Farnoosh Torabi's So Money podcast, the mother-of-two said despite her previous debt, she didn't "fear credit" today - but had learnt to use credit cards strategically.
"I still have credit cards. In fact, I use one … for groceries and for gas and I get points. I get about $US500 ($AU694) worth of free groceries every year," she said.
"I'm not one of these people saying never touch a credit card again. I do use credit cards and I pay them off to zero every month."
Ms Omole, who now works as a money coach and has recently published a book, 7 Steps to Get Out of Debt and Build Wealth, said she decided to be "the master of my own financial destiny" after losing her job - and finding she had "literally minus $350" in the bank.
"I reached out to my credit card company. Gave them a call, told them about my situation, asked them for a $1000 credit limit increase. I thought all I need is a $1000 to tie me over," she said.
"Well, they rejected me. That was my big 'aha' moment. Because when they said no, I realised, 'Oh, my goodness. I have been relying on my credit cards as my emergency'.
"I vowed at that moment, not only was I never going to rely on a credit card company, I was not going to rely on a company of any sorts, like an employer."
Ms Omole said it was essential to find out your true motivation before tackling debt and building wealth.
"Your 'why' basically has a lot to do with your mindset, your money mindset, your beliefs around money, your limitations surrounding money," she said.
"I get into the psychological side, because … for me personally, this was why I was able to not only crush that debt, but also build seven-figure net worth, because I really focused on my money limitations and got around that, in order to tackle it."
Ms Omole said she had grown up believing debt was normal after being raised as one of six kids born to immigrant parents who struggled with bills.
"I had to unlearn a lot of things that I learned as a child," she said.