How a Fort McMurray YouTuber eliminated $30K in debt in a year

In 2018, not only did Jeff Batchelor pay off $30,000 worth of debt within a year, he donated thousands of dollars and paid for six vacations.

Jeff Batchelor committed to a self improvement video a day and has amazing results to show

Jeff Batchelor is a Fort McMurray YouTuber who made videos daily in 2018 showing all the progress he made getting out of debt, eating better and getting fit. (Jeff Batchelor/ YouTube)

Last year was a big one for Jeff Batchelor. Not only did pay off $30,000 worth of debt in a year, he donated thousands of dollars to charity and paid for six vacations.

The Fort McMurray car salesman did it all adopting healthier habits for a year, sticking with them and documenting them on YouTube.

Batchelor's daily videos don't just focus on how to make and save money, they run the gamut of topics including how he's given up alcohol, cigarettes, sugary foods and how volunteering has made him a happier person.

"If anyone was to look at the goals I set out to accomplish," Batchelor said. "I don't think anyone would think it was humanly possible." 

How did he pay off $30K of debt?

Batchelor says his personal finance videos garnered the biggest audience.

Jeff Batchelor and his friend Stu Dancey pledged to shoot a video each day for 2018 and upload it YouTube. (David Thurton/ CBC)

In them Batchelor reveals how he accumulated a mountain of debt — $30,000 in credit card bills, loans to his parents and owed years of back taxes.

Much of the debt came from buying too many things he didn't need and not saving.

In one video he spoke about how at one point in his life he ended up with over 25 Nixon designer watches that he barely wore.

So in 2018 he committed to eliminating his debt with the help of the following steps:

  • Increasing his income by asking his boss at the car dealership for a raise
  • Making a list of wants versus needs and only spending money on needs
  • Giving up all online shopping
  • Packing and eating homemade soup everyday for lunch.
  • Sticking religiously to a budget of $3000 a month for all purchases.

Batchelor did not disclose his income to CBC News, but after he paid off all his debt, he had enough money to go on six vacations in 2018 and even donated $6000 to charity.

Now that his daily video challenge is over, Batchelor can also boast of a number of other accomplishments.

Last year he worked out six days a week, ran a marathon and gave up doughnuts for a year — a big change for him because he remembers somedays he would eat about six.

Now in 2019, he's stopped posting daily videos but will keep up with some of his new habits.

He hopes his YouTube channel continues to inspire others searching online for self-help advice. 

"If you're watching all these videos and wondering what the heck was the point," Batchelor said. "I think the biggest point was just to emphasize that we are are own biggest obstacles."

Connect with David Thurton, CBC's Fort McMurray correspondent, on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn or email him at david.thurton@cbc.ca 

About the Author

David Thurton is a national reporter in CBC's Parliamentary Bureau. He's worked for CBC in Fort McMurray, the Maritimes and in Canada's Arctic.