This Brampton, Ont., man paid off his $48K debt in a year

Daryl Marritt wiped out a $48,000 debt in one year — and three years later, he has $85,000 sitting in the bank. The 30-year-old Brampton, Ont., man didn’t win the lottery or get some other windfall.

Daryl Marritt saves by living in a house with 12 people, sharing a car

Daryl Marritt lives in a communal house with his two nephews and a dozen members of his wife's family. That lets the couple save for their future, with Marritt paying off a $48,000 debt in a year. (CBC News)

Daryl Marritt wiped out a $48,000 debt in one year — and three years later, he has $85,000 sitting in the bank.

The 30-year-old Brampton, Ont., man didn't win the lottery or get some other windfall.

Instead, he made some radical changes that included selling his car, moving into a communal home with a dozen people and limiting his rewards to the occasional sushi dinner or camping trip.

While it may sound extreme, Marritt says that he feels unburdened, not only by his debt but also from possessions he never really needed.

"Debt is a ball and chain," he said. "I think it limits your ability to be free and I didn't want it to have control over me anymore."

Marritt's reality check came in 2012. He'd been offered two dream jobs in Honduras – each of which would see him working with underprivileged kids.

But instead of getting to use his new masters of education degree, Maritt had to turn both jobs down. He needed something more profitable in order to pay off his student loan.

"It was a kick in the pants," he said.

The plan

Marritt decided he could pay off his debt within a year after accepting a job in business development at Toyota in September 2012.  Instead of taking the $48,000 salary offered, he negotiated a package of $45,000 – with a company car.

That meant he could sell his own vehicle for $18,000, paying off the $12,000 he still owed on it. The surplus went toward his student loans.

Then, it was time to tackle how much he was paying to live.

Bartering

His Dad invited him to stay at home for the year and the entrepreneurial Marritt bartered a good deal with rent. He'd clean the gutters and do odd jobs for the family.

"So I was able to keep my rent low in exchange for some help around the house and a promise that I would just continue to pay down my debt vigorously."

Then, he took a second job, working 10 hours each week with local youth.

He sold his road bike for $2,500.

And every month, he kept putting at least $2,000 of his salary toward his debt.  

But Marritt said that he would still reward himself so that he could stay on track. For him that meant the occasional sushi dinner or going camping – for free – on Crown land.  

 "I didn't really do anything else," he said. "But I knew that it should take me about a year so it was one year of sacrifice to get through this."

Getting married

Marritt's frugality influenced his partner.

He and his wife are now both debt-free, something made easier by the fact that they kept their recent 250-person wedding simple. She made her own dress and they went backpacking in Costa Rica for their honeymoon, using travel rewards to procure flights.

They're also saving money by renting a home with his wife's family – right now he lives with his father-in-law, his nephews, and his brother- and sister-in-law.

All told, there are about 12 people living in the house.

But that means they all share one lawn mower, one power bill, and future babysitting costs are non-existent.

"There's a little bit of sacrifice involved… but we just looked for ways to simplify our lives."

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