Today I have a special guest with me here Anthony Hartzog, who actually created his own debt challenge, so I’m going to sit here and chat with him ask him a few questions about how his debt challenge go. For those of you guys who don’t know I actually created a debt challenge a few years ago now, where I helped ten people eliminate $39, 500 worth of debt in just eleven weeks, and Anthony here actually heard an interview that I did with pay checks and balances, and he was inspired to create his own debt challenge, so welcome Anthony.
Anthony: Thank you for having me.
Interviewer: Yes, I’m so excited to learn more about you and your challenge. So what first made you even want to start your own debt challenge?
Anthony: I started because, obviously I heard the interview with Pay Checks And Balances, I heard your name mentioned I started researching more about yourself and your story, and I read across the debt challenge and it’s something that me and my wife have been pretty passionate about over the last two years, just eliminating debt and we’re kind of like at the last part of our debt, like the last 20,000 or so. So we just needed a little bit of motivation, so I said let’s, we had our old debt challenge which was to get focused, but I said let me just open this up to a few people who are also I know are on the same financial journey, and then I reached out to you for that information, you kind of helped me set it up so that was the real reason just keeping myself accountable and just getting some people along with the ride.
Interviewer: Wow awesome, and do you feel like it was easy to get like friends and family on board?
Anthony: Yes, so what I knew was going to happen just with anything in life, everyone wants to be involved with it because it sounds cool, but then once it kind of got down to it I said alright well we’ll have a $6 buying to kind of eliminate, I had 60 people respond, I put it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter 60 people said they wanted in and I sent out the email, from that email I said respond to this email if you’re interested furthermore. 20 people responded and 15 people actually send the initial buy in of $6 in. So it was easy getting people involved just keeping them engaged on throughout the job is more interesting.
Interviewer: Okay, so for yours they had to pay a $6 buy-in, and then was there any other cost they had to pay? Because I know the winner ended up winning $700 at the end.
Anthony: Yes, so it was a six dollar initial buy in and every Friday they had to send $6 in, so the total cost was $66.
Interviewer: Nice, I like that, so you did it every week?
Anthony: Exactly. So It was some people that actually had some connection with me, but it was others who really didn’t know me from just today just saw me on social media, so I didn’t want to have people that didn’t know me send me $66 and I run away with their money. So I just said you guys can send in increments but everyone who knew me send it in when I started the challenge.
Interviewer: That’s good, so as they’re sending you their debt updates they are sending you the money at the same time?
Interviewer: Nice, that was different for mine. I just had the money paid up front…
Anthony: But you are already established as a money guru, so people just knew me they knew my story a little bit they knew I was paying on debt with my wife and I was kind of, I’m open with my story so they had some understanding of my journey itself.
Interviewer: Okay, that makes sense. So what is something that you feel like you’ve learned while being part of this debt challenge?
Anthony: Well, being a part of the debt challenge I realized that number one, the group that we had they kept each other accountable so I guess one of the major things I learned was putting a group together, if you can see people’s numbers it makes you more competitive to kind of get to your end goal. So we had a lot of people who were just talking crap to each other and posting their daily updates, I just saved this money, I just picked up this job or people were doing like research where they would get like $200 to just complete a form or something like that, so the level of competitiveness taught me that you see people’s numbers it makes you want to get more focused.
Interviewer: Yes that’s so true, I found the same thing like just seeing how much people were paying off it made you kind of step your game up, like wait a minute I need to pay some more debt.
Anthony Exactly. And one of the other things I learned along in the challenge was that, this is something people want to do they just don’t know how and I think having a why behind it makes it more powerful for them. So once we started discussing people’s why, why do you want to pay up this debt, why do you want to pay up this credit card, it made them to get more focused as to what they were doing.
Interviewer: I agree, yes I think a why is like super important. And it just keeps you focused too if you’re feeling like you are getting off track you got to remember your why, why did you start in the first place?
Interviewer: But did you feel like there was a majority of debt that people were paying off, was it like credit card debt? Was the student loan debt? Was it the car loan?
Anthony: So one person paid off their car loan, they had a couple thousand left so they was going to let it ride out but they paid off their car loan. The majority of the debt was actually on student loan, some people had lingering credit cards a couple thousand here and there but most of it was student loans. Some person was paying off some medical debt, but aside from that it was mostly student loans.
Interviewer: Do you feel like you found yourself paying off debt differently in the challenge, versus paying off debt on your own?
Anthony: I think the only difference that we actually had was now that people were looking at our numbers, we made sure we had at least a hundred dollars every single week at a minimum. I think one week I forgot to submit a payment which was on me and the group kind of got on me about that, but aside from that every week we had at least; looking at my numbers it was at least $200 every week. So normally I would wait till the end of the month and end of the budget and put that money to the debt, but we made sure every week throughout the ten weeks we had something on the debt.
Interviewer: Okay, and well did side hustles play a role into this at all, because I see like dogs on your Instagram so?
Anthony: Yes, the side hustle is something that we take great pride in, we have a lot of them I’m a director at an IT company so my boss doesn’t understand why I do so much outside of work. My conversations is really simple with him, it was like you guys pay me a salary but I’m limited with what you guys can pay me, but outside of work I can make as much money as I want when that time allows me to. So side hustles we both work at Equinox part-time, we do Rover.coms, we watch dogs, when we first got him he wasn’t really fund of other dogs but this allowed us to bring dogs to our home which made him more comfortable.
So here to date we’ve watched I think 45 dogs in total, there’s only a couple that part brings in about four hundred dollars a month it’s not really too crazy, but it’s just something that we’re already doing. My wife works at a private practice, and on her free time she’s a mental health counselor she does that on her free time. I used to rent my car out as well with this application called Toro, it’s a Peer to Peer car rental service, I was doing that for a while. I mean once I paid up my car I stopped doing it and I wasn’t really comfortable with people using my car, so I’m pretty sure it does help out a lot when you are trying to pay off debt.
Interviewer: Wow, a lot of side hustles there that’s awesome, and I love how you guys do the Equinox part-time because now that’s like your gym membership and…
Anthony: Yes, and that was the exact reason why I started working at Equinox I wanted a gym membership and I love Equinox, when I was in New York I used to go there but they had an opening when I went there and I applied and I got the job. We also started a cleaning business during his time too, so…
Interviewer: Wait, first of all when do you guys sleep?
Anthony: There’s always time, like my wife she leaves the house to do her side hustle a lot more than me, so there’s always time. Afterwards she goes to Equinox or after her full-time job she would go to the actual her side hustle which is the mental health counseling she would do that and go to Equinox after that. So this weekend I didn’t see her Saturday, I was supposed to have time to do the interview on Sunday because she didn’t come home to like 6-7 o’clock on a Sunday and then Saturday it was like 8 o’clock at night, so you make time for what you want.
Interviewer: Yes, that’s awesome. I love how you also mentioned that like you are in control of how much you make versus like your job, so a lot of people like I can’t make more money because my job only pays me this amount but no you can make more money.
Anthony: You got to find out what you’re able to do.
Interviewer: Yes definitely. Okay, so last two questions were there any challenges that you faced during this challenge or with the group?
Anthony: Definitely, I would say that one of the major challenges was trying to keep people motivated, there’s always so much you could do if they lose that that fire there is only so much you can do. One person jumped out to a lead early that’s why I hit you up and asked you like how do you keep people motivated because that person was out by like, they had a good three-four weeks ahead of other people their track of paying off their debt. So keeping people motivated, keeping them engaged was another one we had some people set, he was real he was talking a lot of crap in the group so he kept people engage, so just motivation and engagement are probably two of the hardest parts, but people once they got their numbers in and they saw every week how much we paid off as a group, we kept them excited.
Interviewer: Okay awesome, and what was the total amount that you guys paid off and was yours eleven weeks?
Anthony: It was ten weeks, it was supposed to be twelve and I thought it was too long and I came back to you and I said do you find ten to be okay? He’s like this is exactly what I’ll pick.
Anthony: And the total amount of debt paid off in the ten weeks was sixty eight thousand, seven hundred and twenty-five dollars.
Interviewer: That’s awesome, wow you guys were definitely working hard.
Anthony: Yes, but the rangers were, during that time I paid off thirteen thousand and I put my numbers in there to make sure people knew I was participating in it and keeping myself accountable as well. But it ranged, like technically I won the competition because I saw their numbers before they submitted to the groups, so I was like all right well they’re putting in this amount, let me try to find some money to put in this amount.
So I made sure I won the competition number one, but I didn’t take the money, but it range from that and then some people paid off like a thousand dollars which was like their last credit card. And the reason they did it was just to kind of push themselves to that last amount of money. So one of the post that my friend Glenn has, who’s actually the grand prize winner he paid off $12 and he said at the end of the day you didn’t really lose the competition because obviously he won the competition but he said that, as long as you were paying off debt no one is really losing.
Interviewer: Yes, that’s so true it’s like a win-win either way, even if you don’t win.
Anthony: Yes, you pay $66 and you paid off two, three, four thousand dollars in debt that you wouldn’t have paid off before, so it worked out.
Interviewer: Definitely, there’s something powerful about having a community behind you to reach your goals, and yes so well thank you so much Anthony for being here today.
Anthony: No problem.
Interviewer: How can people get in touch with you?
Anthony: Social media Rockstar1906 on Instagram and Twitter, Facebook I think is Anthony Hartzog or just via email AnthonyHartzog@gmail.com I try to be responsive.
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