To get out of more than $230,000 of debt, Ludwig Rosiclair had to get rid of his dream car.
He was already in six figures of student debt when he traded his Subaru hatchback for a “super fast” Audi S4. He had racked up most of his debt earning a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Connecticut, and after a promotion at his retail pharmacy job, he traded up.
His Audi was sparkling black with a red interior. It was hot. But it came with a loan of over $47,000, which meant a roughly $740 monthly payment, plus the cost of insurance, gas and repairs.
And Rosiclair, 33, was spending in other ways at the time, eating out with friends a lot, going out, and buying new shoes and clothes. “Blowing through everything I had,” he told MarketWatch.
Rosiclair appears in “MarketWatch Money Matters,” a video series about young people making money moves like paying off debt, starting businesses, and making wise investments.
He was also stressed out at work. Staying late, coming in early, working on days off. But he felt like he couldn’t quit or move to a lower paying job because of the amount that he owed. He was stuck.
“That was kind of the moment where I said, I’m never going to feel like this again,” he recalled.
Rosiclair decided to attack his debt with a vengeance.
He started by looking at how much he was spending each month, along with how much he was earning, and cutting down every expense that he could.
He was living with one roommate at the time in a nice downtown neighborhood, and moved to a cheaper town to live with two roommates. This helped him cut his rent from about $1,000 a month to $450.
He sold the Audi and bought a used 2011 Acura TSX for a fraction of the cost. He shopped for better rates on car insurance. He ate out less, and bought fewer things he didn’t need. And he started a side hustle in photography.
“I did everything possible to minimize spending and throw everything at my debt,” he said.
Rosiclair paid off his loans from smallest to largest, using Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball method, appreciating the emotional investment he felt paying one loan at a time, one payment at a time.
He looked deeper into his past spending habits, and shifted his focus to his mental and physical health. He spent some of his extra money on therapy, and a nutrition coach who helped him improve his eating habits.
In August 2020, he became debt-free. He did it in less than six years, years faster than he would have had he only made minimum payments.
“That was honestly the most incredible feeling I have ever felt in my life,” he said. “Like a full high for days.”
Rosiclair met his girlfriend pursuing one of his hobbies, salsa dancing, during his debt payoff journey, and inspired her to pay off her own student loans and other debt.
He felt financially secure enough to quit his job. He got a new one he loved, as a pharmacist at a medical marijuana dispensary.
He continued to budget, but allowed himself wiggle room on spending categories like groceries and coffee. Even living in a more expensive apartment, he was able to easily stay within his means and enjoy life.
And while this self-described car guy might watch “every YouTube video of every new car that’s coming out,” he was at peace owning a car that had 195,000 miles on it and counting.
The far more important number to him was his debt balance: zero.
Paul La Blanc contributed to this article.