Single mom who paid off $34,000 in debt empowers other single moms to deal with their debts


A single mom who found herself saddled with over $34,000 in debt six years ago shares her journey to becoming debt free and is now empowering other single moms to take control of their finances .

Dyana King, now a mum-of-two – Mikayah, 9, and King, 5 – said it was her firstborn that motivated her to get serious about paying off her debt.

“The bottom line was that I was a mother,” the 30-year-old told “Good Morning America.” “Obviously I wanted to bring more to my child but also I didn’t want her to become me. Because in a way, I saw myself becoming my mom… She became a single mom and I saw how how hard it was for her to take care of three children when she didn’t really know how to manage her money properly.”

“I didn’t want to keep that pattern spinning. It was literally up to me to break that,” King continued.

PHOTO: Dyana King made her last debt payment in September 2020. Overall, she has paid off over $34,000 in debt.

Courtesy of Dyana King

Dyana King made her last debt payment in September 2020. Overall, she paid off over $34,000 in debt.

But even if she wanted to start, King didn’t know where to start. So she turned to blogs and social media to figure out what she needed to do to reduce her debt, which consisted of a car loan, several student loans, credit card balances and personal loans, which totaled approximately $34,907. .

PHOTO: King's debt started with a car loan for his first car.

Courtesy of Dyana King

King’s debt started with an auto loan for his first car.

King discovered the snowball method — the practice of listing all debts and tackling and paying off the smallest debt before moving on to the next smaller debt — and started paying down his debt in earnest in 2016. At the time, she was working as a customer service representative and earning around $32,000 a year.

“I started with my smallest balance and I figure if I can reduce it, that gives me more money for my budget. And so, I kind of went through this phase of trying and mistakes that way,” King explained.

PHOTO: King kept a budget, listing all the items she had to pay for per month.  Eventually, it became routine for her, and King said she became disciplined to stick to her budget.

Courtesy of Dyana King

King kept a budget, listing all the items she had to pay for per month. Eventually, it became routine for her, and King said she became disciplined to stick to her budget.

“I had to get creative and leverage what I had,” she added. “I worked days, then nights, was freelance for a few clients, and it made me about $200-400 more a month, depending on how much time I had, because I was still a full-time parent. .”

Along the way, King figured out what would and wouldn’t work for her, maintained regular payments, and allocated extra money, like her tax refunds, to her debt. When life happened and she got back on track, she would reset herself and come up with another plan, all with her long-term goal in mind.

PHOTO: King began paying off $34,907 in debt in 2016.

Courtesy of Dyana King

King began paying off debt of $34,907 in 2016.

“What worked for me was changing my mindset about what success was and what was enough because we often say to ourselves, ‘I’m not earning enough. These payments are not enough,'” King said. “But the way I’ve seen it, even if it’s $20 more, if I keep making $20 more, I’m going to cut it down eventually.”

“I had to allow myself to have a little something in my budget, be it coffee or whatever, to stay motivated,” King added. “I tried to be super strict. ‘You know, I’m not going to walk into a restaurant, I’m going to eat everything at home.’ It didn’t work for me. I’m someone who hates to cook. I like to eat out. So I had to be okay with that too.”

In particular, King found inspiration and motivation from others on Instagram and social media. But in 2018, she launched her own online business, Money. Chief. Mom, to show other young black women and moms like her that their financial goals can be achieved.

“I’m a young black single mom on a single, low income. I couldn’t find anyone like me,” King said. “I just wanted to show other women that they could do what I did and that they didn’t need a very high income and it was possible, just trying to be the representation that I didn’t. didn’t have.”

“A lot of stories [online], they were couples,” she continued. “Some of them didn’t have kids, some did, but for a single parent on one income, a lot of that advice doesn’t will not really apply. You need to make sure you customize them to suit your unique situation and that’s what Money was made for. Chief. Mom and her need.”

PHOTO: Dyana King made her last debt payment in September 2020. Overall, she has paid off over $34,000 in debt.

Courtesy of Dyana King

Dyana King made her last debt payment in September 2020. Overall, she paid off over $34,000 in debt.

Thanks to the money. Chief. Mama, King, who now works as a business curriculum and course developer, offers online courses for single moms to understand emotional spending and build savings.

After beginning her debt-free journey in 2016, King finally paid off her last debt four years later — two student loans of around $10,000 — in 2020. For her last debts, she also went snowballing. avalanche, listing all his debts with their interest rates, then tackling the debt with the highest interest rate first before moving on to the next one.

“The last key part of this is just patience,” King said. “You literally have to get out, I call it maintenance mode on your debt-free journey, where you’re not really working very hard. You have your payments where you’re going to get them. Now it’s just about consistently apply those payouts and be patient and wait to get to that $0.”

For anyone just starting out with debt, King said the first step is to realize that much of the journey will be mental.

“You have to really work to accept the fact that you deserve a better financial situation,” King said. “You have to work to believe in yourself and have confidence in yourself, because that’s literally what will get you to the finish line.”

“You lead your own race, you’re not behind,” she added. “You’re on time exactly where you need to be, and realize the only person in the race is you. So take your time. You’re on time and you can do it.”

Comments are closed.