Paying Off $51K of Debt as a Teacher & Single Mom with KT Lynn – EP 239

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Old habits die hard — an old saying believed by many up to this day BUT not for this episode’s debt pay-off journey. Shifting mindset and energy have freed KT Lynn not only from her debt but the obstacles she has to face as a teacher and single mom. Here in Frugal Friends, we love hearing debt payoff stories to learn from and represent somebody within our listenership as we want you to know that you are not alone. This episode will fill you in with our guest’s relatable and lighthearted debt pay-off journey with realistic and actionable tips.

Paying off your debt at all cost, gets you there faster BUT taking time to experience life throughout the journey will still get you to the same point and with less debt pay off hangover at the end.


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Katie is a 35 year old single teacher mom who has spent the last 4 years navigating life’s difficulties while slowly paying off debt.

How KT Found Herself in Debt

As appalling as it sounds, KT found herself in debt around Christmas time (Dec 2017). Despite the festive season, Christmas was hard as she was trying to figure out the presents to buy that she ended up having to put these expenses on her credit card which in return she earned a debt. KT realized all the stuff under her tree are going to be the things she will be paying for next year. 

Kt’s “AHA” Moment

KT’s son was only a year old and was still married when she discovered her huge debt. It wasn’t just the money, it was also the clutter in the house that made it difficult for her. As a new parent, you have all of the stuff coming in (toys, diapers, etc). KT felt overwhelmed and couldn’t catch up in doing household chores and making extra payments to debt. Even though at the time, they had a joint account for bills and mortgages everything extra that she wanted was constantly solved through the use of her credit card. For the first time after KT received her debt total, she found herself saying, ‘We can’t keep doing this’. 

The Challenges of Paying off Debt as a Teacher and Single Mom

When KT became a single mom, she made sure she had a buffer in her checking account at all times. It’s not technically a savings account but a buffer account that should always have at least a thousand dollars in it. Hustle culture has cultivated this mindset that you have to get a second job when that’s not an easy option for KT and most single moms. They don’t have the luxury of going out and getting a second job. It becomes a job to find more money on your budget just based on the little things you could do. If you have the means to get a second job, do it while you can. You don’t want to start doing it once you have a family and it takes your time away from your home. 

How Fellow Teachers Can Minimize Debt

Groceries became a huge hurdle for KT as she found herself spending way more than necessary. She realized she needed to start using what she already has. KT would make one big lunch for the week and divide them into 5. While for some they might think, “I can’t eat the same thing every single day”, understandable but it just wasn’t KT. You should put into your mind frame that you don’t have to have everything you want. Also, maybe you can do one foodie night and the rest is more budget friendly. 

KT made a decision not to buy any name brand stuff (Doritos, Pop Tarts except Oreo, she would eat it sometimes). She would look at her pantry and fridge, figure out what she already has and would try to make meals based on it. 

What we would have done differently in our debt payoff

  • KT: re-considered life partner – recognizing now the value of being on the same page financially
  • Jill: wish I would have gone to community college for the first 2 years of undergrad
  • Jen: wish I did not put as much pressure on myself to pay off debt in the speed at which I did

Get more from KT Lynn

Bill of The Week

Thank you Katie for sharing your bill about your cell phone bill that you got lowered during your debt payoff by switching your provider AND getting it for free based on your referrals!

Thanks so Much for Listening!

Thanks so much for listening. Many of you know we have a private community where we do monthly money challenges and offer accountability groups. We want to congratulate one of our members for a big win.

I'm loving everyone's decluttering photos!

I've had a very busy work week, so I haven't really dug into any major decluttering projects in my apartment quite yet. However, I am keeping a bin handy that I can quickly throw an item into when I come across something I can part with. I've already found new homes for some items in the bin with friends. Some clothing items I plan to send into ThredUp for consignment. And some items are TBD.

Congrats! If you want to check out our monthly challenge community head to to see what challenge we have coming up next.

And keep leaving us reviews on iTunes or Stitcher, and sending the screenshot to And don’t forget to share your favorite quote from the episode by using the hashtag #FrugalFriendsNote. 😉

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