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Daphné Vanessa

Shamil Rodriguez



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About This Episode

Brandyn Rodriguez, founder of PositivelyB (@debt_free_2020), shares how she and her husband, DJ, paid off over $130k in debt! This episode provides real life advice for working together with your partner to pay off your debt together. Brandyn hopes to inspire faith, family and financial freedom by sharing her personal finance journey with you.

If you and your partner are discussing debt and ways to pay it down together, then this episode is for you!


  • The importance of developing a debt payoff plan;
  • Communicating your plan with your partner;
  • Working together as a team to provide for self-care;
  • The benefits of resetting and recharging after hitting milestones; and
  • much, much more…


Enjoying the show? Leave us a rating and review. Every comment helps! Drop in your IG handle so we can thank you personally!

Brandyn Rodriguez (00:00): And we just support each other. Like when we were at like extremely tired or exhausted, like we knew, Hey, we need to take a break. We're not going to side hustle this weekend or, Hey, I'm not going to still hustle, but I'll go out and do some stuff that for a couple hours, you know, you take a nap or you rest, or for him, his self care is golfing. So he's like, I need, I need golfing. Okay. Go back and do your thing. I can do the girls over here. So it just, you know, being real intentional with what your goals are and sharing that with your partner, for those that are married or in a, a relationship so that you can work towards that goal together

The Student Loan Podcast Intro (00:34): Asked here, you'll find practical advice on tackling student loan debt, paying down your higher education expenses,

Daphné Vanessa (00:42): Inspiring stories about paying off student loans, where your hosts, Daphne, Vanessa

Shamil Rodriguez (00:48): And Shamil Rodriguez,

Daphné Vanessa (00:51): Please rate review and subscribe to the student loan podcasts by visiting the student loan podcast on apple podcasts or wherever you find your podcasts. This is not

Shamil Rodriguez (01:02): Professional advice. And we speak from our own personal views

Daphné Vanessa (01:06): And opinions. The student loan podcast is brought to you by start new, where you can serve your community and get rewarded with tuition and student loan payments to check out of start new is on your campus. Visit start new.com. Hello everyone. And welcome to another episode of the student loan podcast. Today, we have none other than Brandyn Rodriguez from positively B. Who's here to spread a little bit of knowledge, family, life fun, and of course, financial freedom with our audience. So with that, Brandyn, please introduce yourself to the audience.

Brandyn Rodriguez (01:43): Hello everyone. I am Brandyn Rodriguez out of San Antonio, Texas. My husband and I have two daughters, a 16 year old and a six year old. And most recently we paid off $137,000 with a debt holiday. You think you choose to be on the other side of this journey which was a long journey, but we work together as a team to get that done. And I'm so excited to be here. So thank you for having

Daphné Vanessa (02:09): So exciting. Well, you went right into how much you paid off. I mean, that's an impressive number, but before we get into that, tell us a little bit about your story, how you came to even be interested in financial independence and where you are today.

Brandyn Rodriguez (02:26): Absolutely. so I started learning more about debt paying off debt. I can get into it very fine, you know, easy to get into that, but learning to pay off debt took place in 2010. I was a single mom at the time and my church was hosting a Dave Ramsey, financial peace university. So that's the first time I ever heard anything about Ramsey solutions and financial peace. So I joined that course had great leaders that taught the program and, you know, the first day cut up all the credit cards. And I was so excited and started working on paying off, you know, the smallest credit cards. Again, I was a single mom at that time DJ and I had separated. I kinda just like worked the process, but then also I was a single mom and younger and you know, life happens and things changed.

Brandyn Rodriguez (03:06): So it was like, let me open up these credit cards again. And it was like going back into the same cycle, fast forward to 2014, my husband and I, we get married 2015. We have our dart, our second car sold our house, bought a house, did all this stuff right. All within like 12 months. And then it was like, you know, we had our come to Jesus moment and it was like, okay, now we're married. We're coming together with our finances, looking at all the debt. It was no longer your debt versus my debt. It was now our debt. And then looking just at like interest rates, those interest rates on student loans on mortgages is this like, what, like when you were finally like, I want to pay off my home and if you, if I want to have my home in 30 years, I'm almost going to pay like double the price of my house because of interest rates.

Brandyn Rodriguez (03:46): So once I really looked at that and share this with my husband, I was like, I think we should like attack our debt and like pay it off to like, do this for ourselves, do this for our daughters. So they don't have to grow up anymore in debt or, you know, no, we can't do this Sydney because we have this or we can't go on that vacation because we have to pay off this car or this student loan, whatever it may be. So that was like really the catalyst in 2015 with, you know, buying the house on the house, doing all these major life changes from married, two kids. And we just, you know, wrote out a plan and just started working that plan. And it took us 59 months to get through it long journey. Right? you name it. We had it from student loans, car payments, credit cards, medical bills, furniture, payment, tires, discount tire, you know, we had it and we just slowly just worked that process and kept going. We did side hustles. We did everything that we needed to do to get rid of the debt because I was over it. I did not want to pay anyone else except for my mortgage. And I'm over this too. So hopefully in the next 10 to 12 years, I can pay off my mortgage.

Daphné Vanessa (04:45): I love it. I love it. Sick and tired of being sick and tired. So tell us, you said you, you use a lot of strategies, right? You're doing side hustles. Tell us specifically for the student loan debt piece, what do you think was the difference maker and how you overcame those hurdles?

Brandyn Rodriguez (05:07): So student loans. So we, when we did our debt free journey, we put everything into milestones and we had muscle 1, 2, 3, and four milestones. Milestone four was our last one, which was the student loan and car payments. Right. So we had to get through all of that before we got to student loans. So it was literally 2019 when we finally started working on those student loans. And, you know, we each have different loan service providers and, you know, figuring out what's the best way to pay those off because sometimes they don't let you do an extra payment or the payment that you want it to go to. I want to focus on this one. It's like, no, you have to do it to the whole bunch of them. And we'll put whatever it is going towards the principal. So I'm like, so maybe we worked on Navy at first and that's the first one that we paid off.

Brandyn Rodriguez (05:46): And it was so good when you would get those emails coming through. And it's like, maybe at one I'm paid off and then maybe two paid off. And it was like that girl that's on the email communications, like my best friend, because seeing her emails come through. And so we just of just started working that process. And then fortunately, but fortunately, unfortunately pandemics absolutely awful. So many lives lost. So many people impacted, but with the 0% interest worked out in our favor. So I was like, you know what, I'm going a hundred percent to pay off the student loans. So I feel I started doing in late 29. No, Maria, the COVID years are throwing me all off. I'm like, I don't know what year.

Brandyn Rodriguez (06:26): Yeah. So 20, 20 March, 2020, when they did the 0% interest, I was like, I'm just gonna go. Like, by that time, it was literally just the student loans that were left. So I just went full throttle. But my husband at the time, he was like, you know, I'm kind of tired. We've been doing this for five years. I don't want to like go full throttle. I want to ease up. And I'm just like, no, we're almost there. Please don't let us get to the finish line. And so he did. So we compromise. I'm like, okay, well I'm a go full throttle. I want my student loans to be done. And so that's why I did, I kept going on my side hustle, many went to it. My paycheck went to it. And between March, 2020 and September, 2020, I was able to pay off the remainder of my student loans, which was like $12,000.

Brandyn Rodriguez (07:05): That was amazing. And then my husband, he would pay us on his, but he was like, I'm good. Like, I'm just gonna ride it out and see what happens. So now he's just trying to see what's going to happen with any mean forbid forgiven, because we've paid off. I paid off everything, but he left like $2,500 on his case by it and decided to say, Hey, we're going to take some, we'll take it off for you. So he's like, okay, I'm going to leave $2,500 there. Just in case we have it in our savings. If it doesn't come through fine, January 31st. So they'll make that final payment before any interest comes through. But me, on the other hand, I said, no, I'm ready to pay them off. And so that's exactly what I did.

Daphné Vanessa (07:36): I love the 25,000, the small amount, you know what, just in case I'd like to have some forgiven, somebody back,

Brandyn Rodriguez (07:48): He was like, you know, I'm like, all right, I'm like, DJ, just pay it. He was like, no, I'm just going to wait. So again, 2,500 chillin. And I'm like, all right, well, July, I mean, January favors, if they don't forgive it, then I'm gonna need you to make that payment.

Speaker 5 (08:02): Oh yeah. We paid it off over a hundred thousand dollars, but you know, this last,

Daphné Vanessa (08:08): Okay. We keep mentioning like teasing the side hustle piece. Right? What specifically, how specific in your side hustles pay six figures worth of student loan, debt of debt, very consumer debt. That's a lot of money to pay over time. What side hustle are you doing? And please sprinkle some knowledge with the audience.

Brandyn Rodriguez (08:29): So they weren't any glamorous side hustles that's for sure that they got the job done. So in 2016, when we first decided to get side hustles, I decided to work at a local Mexican restaurant here in San Antonio. I remember in high school, I had several friends work there and they were making you big time money 20 years ago. So I'm like, oh, they still gotta be making great money 20 years later. And so I went in there, I applied on a Wednesday, did an interview on a Thursday. And it was like, starting on that Friday. And my husband's like, are you serious? And I said I think, and I was like, and I got hired, like, how are you going to do this? I'm very involved in my church. I think in a flyer I'm like involved with work and community service, our kids.

Brandyn Rodriguez (09:03): And he's like, how are you going to do this? I'm like, I don't know, but we're going to work it out. So I worked Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday waiting tables. I did that. And I was like, let me just do it for three months and see what happens. It worked, did it for three months, knocked off a lot of debt. And then inside of like the billfold that you have, you know, the waitresses have to give you your receipt and stuff. I kept a running list of all of our debt. And again, all of our debts were put into milestones, milestone 1, 2, 3, and four. So I was there really focused on milestone one. And so my husband I'm like, okay, let's see if we can take care of milestone one and like three months. And if so, we'll reevaluate to see if we still want to do this process.

Brandyn Rodriguez (09:37): We got through milestone one and the three months and I'm like, well, let's keep going. Like, we kind of got this. Like it's a lot. At the same time he was working at home Depot on top of his full-time job on top of my full-time job lives and all that other good stuff. So we did it for a Lennon month. It came up on a year and I was like, yeah, I'm tired. This is not gonna work. So I quit my job. I quit my part time. But in that timeframe, we knocked out like two of our major milestones, which was like 10 to 12 debts as it was by themselves.

Daphné Vanessa (10:07): If you don't

Brandyn Rodriguez (10:07): Mind sharing, I think we were like in the 26, 27 number worth of debt, like again from the smallest one being $120. Oh yeah. Yeah. And so we knocked out like a big chunk and that was, you know, 20 16, 20 17. Then we stopped again to sitter, choose our paycheck through the debt snowball. And then at 2019 came around and I'm like, oh, I'm done. We're again, milestone four. It was like, the cars were done. It was now entering student loans. I was like, I'm going to have a part time. He's like seriously. And I'm like, I think so, but I wanted something. I was gonna be flexible where I didn't need to call, you know, Carlin, oh, I'm not coming to work or blah, blah, blah. So I started doing favor. So favor is a Texas based delivery service, like door dash and grub hub.

Brandyn Rodriguez (10:48): But they do more than just food. You can literally deliver anything. That's why it's called favor. Yeah. Anything possible you need delivered. We can take it. So I was like, okay, well I'll do that again. Very flexible. I can sign up on my phone, do two shifts and someone's I got going awesome. Kind of works. You know, I'll do you know, two, three hours a day, Friday, Saturday, Sunday goal is to make two 50. If I make two 50, when I am done on Sunday night, when I clock out at eight, I will log in to Navien or Mahayla make my payment for $250. Cause that's what I made for the weekend. And I was scheduled for Tuesday. So I know that when my money got deposited from favor on Tuesday maybe it and Mahayla was also taking their money on Tuesday. So it was like an hour.

Brandyn Rodriguez (11:28): No problem. That's what I did. Like a bowl was like 800 bucks a month. Like if I can do 800 bucks on the side hustle, plus my patients, I can push out 2000, $1,800 a month for those student loans. So that's what we did. And then DJ did the same thing, right? So once I did favor and he said, okay, I can do this. This is flexible. And again, we can do it together. We can do it as a family. So the girls will load up in the car, like we're doing a favor. I'm like, yeah, we're going to do a favor. And then it was like, well, can I get a snack? Can I get this? I'm a little guy, his mom's trying to make money and y'all gotta be spending money just to get out here and for y'all to come with me, It was fun time for us to do it. And then I just got lazy and I switched over to door dash cause favor, you have to call in the order for the customers versus DoorDash. The customer takes everything and you just have to go pick it up and deliver it to the house. So I was like, yeah, I'm going to door dash, got lazy, still do the same thing. So maybe same kind of money, but I was like, door dash is easier. So I flipped over there, DJ famous.

Speaker 5 (12:22): No, I like, I liked that because what I'm hearing and I want to make sure we go over, you know, over this topic is that you and DJ really worked well together to like play off each other. So what was the, what were the conversations like? Cause a lot of what I'm hearing is like you, you were really instigating like this process. But how did, how did that conversation happen? Like how'd you guys plan it out because I know you glossed over the idea that you're like, in addition to our full-time jobs, in addition to, you know, church, in addition to bottle wo you know, we have listeners that have families too. Like how, how would, how was that conversation? Any tips that you've learned, you know, from actually going through that process with your partner? Like, what's that like?

Brandyn Rodriguez (13:01): Yeah. Just be open and have an open communication and be willing to compromise. I've said this before on Instagram, take one word for my debt-free journey between my husband and I, and that would be compromised. You know, we worked together as a team throughout this journey. Do we always agree on everything? No. And that's where we compromise. Right. And so it's like, you know, I DJ says, I think we should pay this card, offers this card. And I'm like, no, we have to go in order. That is not the card. That is number 18. And we're perfectly on number 16. He's like, no, like this, we have a bigger bang for our buck if we pay this one off. So I was like, okay, bye. And that's what we did. So we compromised and it worked out that way. And and we just support each other.

Brandyn Rodriguez (13:40): Like when we were like extremely tired or exhausted, like we knew, Hey, we need to take a break. We're not going to side hustle this weekend or, Hey, I'm not going to still hustle, but I'll go out and do some stuff that for a couple hours, you know, you take a nap or he rest or for him, his self care is golfing. So he's like, I need golfing. Okay, go back and do your thing. I can do the girls over here. So is this, you know, being real intentional with what your goals are and sharing that with your partner, for those that are married or in a relationship so that you can work towards that goal together,

Speaker 5 (14:10): It's really helpful for everyone to listen to. And I want to make sure that we highlight the idea. One Daphne was laughing her butt off because set a very familiar that order and structure that you guys won't have. It sounds like DJ and I have more coffee than as I learned more, but I wanted to highlight the idea of self-care. Would you mind just briefly, like just talking about like what that really means, because oftentimes people can really overlook the importance of self.

Brandyn Rodriguez (14:40): Absolutely. I am huge. When it comes to self care, I will say during our journey, I didn't remove a lot of items from my budget or from our lifestyle. Like there's certain things. I was like, I want that, like, I'm here then. I'm sorry, I'm going to get my hair done once a quarter. And that's going to be every quarter. I'm going to get my feet done. And then if it's summertime, I may have to go a little more and again, DJ likes coughing. So he's going to make sure that those things that we enjoy stayed in our budget. I even talked about today in my own Instagram about, you know, don't grind, grind, grind, grind, so hard. And go, go, go, go, go, go. And don't forget to take care of yourself because when one or two things is going to happen, one, it's going to imagine, not take care of yourself, that your body's going to make you sit down and then it's going to be a worse situation.

Brandyn Rodriguez (15:20): But if you build in that time for self care, whatever it may be, whether it's nap, I love naps. My family knows on Sunday afternoon when I come home from church, I'm eating and I'm going to sleep and I will talk to y'all around five o'clock. Every windows leave momma alone. She's going to take her nap. And that's my self-care. I need a nap. DJ self-care is golfing. So he's going to go hit golf balls in the evenings if he wants to, or he's going to go do a whole round of golf on the weekend, but you know, whatever self-care means that you choose or like, you know, make sure you take care of yourself because you're not going to be any good to yourself or your family or your job. If you're describing so hard to work towards a goal and you just fall apart,

Daphné Vanessa (15:54): Thank you for sharing that. So I'm the worst person to talk about self-care too, because I just don't tend to do it. But I think it's a really good reminder that even in the debt payoff journey in the financial independence journey, after you've paid off your debt, even though you have a goal, I do agree that it's super important to take time. It's come up in a few podcast episodes, so I'm really happy with bringing it up again, but just that, that ability to take five seconds, just celebrate a win. You know, I paid off this debt or I made this milestone in my investments or like, whatever, wherever you are in your financial independence journey, super important. Unfortunately, I have nothing personal to add because I am learning to do this as we speak. So thank you, Brandyn, for sharing that with your audience, because I also love getting my hair done and my nails done, but I need to actually do it more frequently, you know,

Brandyn Rodriguez (16:52): I'll take care of yes.

Daphné Vanessa (16:55): So very cool. I like how you guys work together as a team. I love how you sort of brought your kids into the activity. That's an example, almost of like what work it takes to get something done. Do you instill financial independence, sort of mini lessons like that intentionally in kids? Or are they just learning through observation?

Brandyn Rodriguez (17:18): I would say a little bit of both. Right? So they seen us going through this process for the past six years. Our daughter, our youngest is six. So all this is all that she knows. It's kind of like budgets and money. Like just picking up things in our conversations. And you know, once we paid off my last student loan last September, it was like, oh great, mommy. So we don't have to do door dash. No more of my kids don't have to do door dash. Like we're done. I'm like, if we're doing that again. Yeah, no, we didn't have no intentions of going to do that again. But our, again, our oldest is 16. And so bringing her in the conversation, she's part of budget meeting. She hears us talking all the time about finances and she plays club volleyball. So she knows that cuts, cost a lot of money and she's in the car.

Brandyn Rodriguez (18:03): I'm like, Hey girl, like, okay, we're taking care of this, but I'm also need to make sure you take things off the court. Right. So here at the house, you're in your classroom you know, lots of traveling. She hears us when can I, like I told my husband, I'm like, Hey, we got to book like three more hotels for club volleyball. So we need to get on, do our research and, you know, see if it's best to use our points for this one, or it should be used, you know, our dollars for that to see is learning and hearing about, you know, the credit card rewards and, you know, trying to use that, to help us in these certain areas. She recently got a checking account and a savings account and, you know, teaching her to budget. You know, we recently told her like, Hey, you're going to start paying, like, we're going to give you the money to pay the bill.

Brandyn Rodriguez (18:41): Right. But you are going to go log in and like, learn how to pay a bill. I didn't know how to pay a bill. I moved out at 18 and got an apartment and did all kinds of stuff. And it was just like, and I went straight into debt and that very moment, because I wasn't prepared when I moved out of my mom's house at 18 years old and they were trying to, you know, help her and be, be prepared when it comes to that, you know, like said you have two more years while you're still in this house until you go to college and then it's gonna be a different story. But I've also told her like, Hey, when you graduate college, like you don't have to go live on your own. Like, you don't have to go get an apartment, like come back home. Like, it's totally fine for you to come back home, find a job, you know, work, save your money and invest your money. Don't feel just because you're 21, 22 and I'm grown now, but I need to go out and get into debt, you know, just because no, come home, come home. Like he can, I was like, you may not have your room anymore. Your little sister may be in your room, but you can have the guest room.

Brandyn Rodriguez (19:39): I like your room. You know? Cause Emory Emery's like, I want, it said these rooms, she wants to move upstairs. I'm like your roommate, Abby there. I was like, but come home. You know, and just read this, pray that her watching us, that she makes good financial decisions. And now as well as her adulthood.

Daphné Vanessa (19:54): Oh my goodness. That is so inspiring. And I feel like you took what happened to you right in college. And it said, how can I make this better for my children? And I think that's beautiful. A lot of people sort of forget to implement the next step and you already did that. So that's fantastic. Do you talk about any of your family life aspects on your blogs, your social channels? How do you share that journey with?

Brandyn Rodriguez (20:24): Yeah, so my blog focuses on faith, family and finances. So we try to do a little bit of all three across there. I will say I started the blog February of this year with great intentions to do two posts a month. Hasn't always been that way and trying to kick that back up somewhere. But share a lot of our family in our stories. I mean, most times on the weekend I'll basically share everything that's going on. And I think we call ourselves team Rodriguez and we're big goose balls and we like to have fun. But we're responsible adults, but you know, even our oldest daughter, I mean her and I go out all weekend. And regardless like this past weekend, she went, she took my car and she was like, I'm putting acid. And I'm like, okay, cool. I'll transfer you the money.

Brandyn Rodriguez (21:04): Well, she kept asking me, you're gonna transfer the money. You transfer the money. I'm like, I'll think about it. And so it was just like the mom's going to give him my money. And I, I had took her, I took the girls to the movies this weekend and we went and Cindy fell asleep in the movies. Oh my girl, you owe me $25. You didn't order these nachos and popcorn and you fell asleep. So that was Saturday afternoon, Saturday night. She was like, mommy, wanna watch a movie? I'm like, cool. So we go upstairs in our house and watch a movie. And so I posted on my Instagram. I'm like, yeah, I'm about to fall asleep on her. I was like, she fell asleep on me and I don't give her back the gas money that she used on her card. Yeah. I try to share our family, especially on the weekends on our stories. I'm on Instagram as well.

Daphné Vanessa (21:42): I love it. I love it. So, okay. I want to just go back into the specifics of student loans is this is the student loan podcast guys did the snowball method, right? And so as you were approaching your student loan, I mean, minus the 2,500 who sort of used the snowball method and you listed it as milestones for, for the audience who hasn't listened to one of our do something episodes as the snowball method is a plate. Brandyn, why don't you define it for the

Brandyn Rodriguez (22:15): Sure, absolutely. So there is two ways, I guess there's more than two ways, but two major ways to pay off debt there's. Instead snowball debt, avalanche snowball method is taking your lowest debt owed and start working on that as your first debt. So say that that is $300. Your minimum payment is $25. You're going to put as much money as you can on that first debt. And then all debt after that, you're going to pay the minimum payment. Once that first debt is paid off, you're going to take the first debt's minimum payment plus any extra you're putting in there. Plus the second debt's minimum payment and just keep doing a snowball effect. I prefer the snowball method because you have great momentum, see stuff going quickly, especially again for us milestone one and two went really, really quick because those weren't large amounts.

Brandyn Rodriguez (22:57): But then when you were getting to those $25,000 car payment, I mean a car notes and $20,000 student loans, that's when it's like, oh, but if you keep working, the plan snowball gets bigger and bigger from where your snowball, maybe $200 one month to $700 another month. And by the time you get to the end of your journey, depending how much debt you have, it could be, you know, $1,500 plus each month. So I liked the snowball method. I know other people like other methods, but again, I will always advocate for do what works best for you and your household.

Daphné Vanessa (23:25): Yeah, absolutely. Or a combo. And so, and while you were doing that method, you're hustling, you have a profession, right? You have a day job that you are proud of, that you prepared for and you still chose to do a side hustle. Talk to us about the psychology of being humble enough to take a side hustle, even though you're in a profession that is your career.

Brandyn Rodriguez (23:56): Yeah. it's a humbling experience for sure. It's one of those things it's like when you choose to do the side hustle part-time job and, and particularly like waiting tables, right. You're going to see people in the public. It was one of those things like, are you sure? You know, DJ's like, are you sure? I'm like, yeah, I'm doing it. It is what it is. And then, you know, we told a few family and friends what we're doing, because again, thankful to our family and friends especially helped us with our kids when we were going, you know, meaning on the side of the highway to pick up a kid to drop off the kids. So I can go here and DJ can go there. But it was those, you know, awkward moments too, when you're waiting tables and you see someone that, you know, and it's like, oh my God, did you lose your job?

Brandyn Rodriguez (24:32): No, I didn't lose my job. I'm here to pay off debt. Oh my God, do you not get paid enough? My income is fine. And then again, like I said, I had that billfold in my, my, my running list of that's in my folder. So it was like, I pop it up. Look, these are all my debts. Do you want to see them? And this is what I paid off. And this is what I would show them. Like, this is why, this is why I'm here. Every person that I worked with at Alma cafe and the restaurant knew why I was there. And the manager knew why it looks, dude, I don't, this is not a full-time job. I have a career and even so much awkward experiences. I waited on my CEO of my company. I didn't tell him that I had a part-time job.

Brandyn Rodriguez (25:05): I was very busy on a Sunday afternoon and I'm renting, you know, going back and forth. My section was slammed. I turned the corner. Hey guys, I'm Brandyn, what can I get for you to drink today? And as I turned, it was like, then into the space, like, and he was, wait, do I not pay you enough? And I'm like, you don't get bonuses. I work for a nonprofit. Right? I'm like, don't get bonuses. Like all I could really say. And he was just like, oh my God, we sat there for like three minutes. And I was just like, okay, I'm kind of busy. So w what would you, you know, soda Sprite, water, tea, kind of go from that. But, you know, I saw friends in high school from high school that were there and I didn't know. And they were like, wow. And I'm like, Hey, this is what I'm doing.

Brandyn Rodriguez (25:46): You can follow me along at debt. And for free underscore 2020, I'm sharing my entire journey over there. You know, again, at my job, I also do media. So, you know, I'm the spokesperson for my organization. So at the restaurant, people were like, Hey, I thought you on the news last night. And I'm like, yeah. I mean, again, guys, this is not my career. I am here for one reason only. And they're like, oh, well, that's cool. So what do you do? And I was working with kids, young college kids. And there's some people that have been there for 20 plus years. And then the restaurant was their career and that's totally fine, but I have a career and I'm thankful for my job. And I'm also thankful for that time. It helped me pay off a lot of my debt. And I did my year and I told them goodbye. And they tried to keep me on, well, he does kind of work once a week.

Speaker 5 (26:27): And like I had, I had a very specific goal, but accomplished, done. I'm out of here.

Brandyn Rodriguez (26:33): No, I appreciate it. And it was great. It was again, good money. And I'm like, yeah, no, I'm good. Once a month, once a month. Not thank you very much. I'll see. Y'all when I'm a customer once a year,

Daphné Vanessa (26:45): That is a humbling experience. But also you were like zero pride, zero ego. This is for a goal. This is for my family. And you just executed, like, I just have to say, I have so much respect for you because I care about like, what other people have to say and like, oh, what is this person going to say? When they say you're doing X, Y, and Z, and you were like negative. Nope. I think that, I wish there was more of that. Like, you are a real person and authentic person. Like, I love that. I just thought we'd hang out. We're coming to Texas.

Brandyn Rodriguez (27:22): Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. After that one year at the restaurant, and when I quit, you know, I posted on my personal Facebook and I wasn't sharing my debt free journey on my personal Facebook. And I posted a picture of myself on my uniform, like, Hey, today's my last day at Alamo cafe. For those who don't know, I've been working here for 11, 12 months. I paid off all this. And it's like all the comments that came in like, wow, I had no idea. Like, I can't believe you're doing this, but you know, good for you and your family. And, you know, and it's like, I quit. And he's just like, all right, I'm at a home Depot, I'm at a home Depot to buy here's my two weeks notice.

Speaker 5 (27:54): It was like, I was just waiting for you to get done. And so

Brandyn Rodriguez (27:58): Java's more physical than mine, but, you know, moving pallets and, you know, he had to learn to do a forklift. And he was like, what? In the world? And here we are 32, 33 years old, never thought we would be doing part-time jobs, but we had a goal. And that's why we did it.

Daphné Vanessa (28:13): Oh my gosh. You're like, I'm here for my debt. I'm here because

Brandyn Rodriguez (28:18): Yes, I'm supporting my wife. I'm supporting my wife.

Speaker 5 (28:24): That's my job.

Daphné Vanessa (28:29): I love it. I think so many people can learn from that. Like, how are you guys listening? Like Brandyn went out there and did what she needed to do to accomplish the goal of being debt-free because it was more important than what people had to say. It was more important than reputation. It was more important than keeping up appearances. I'm so impressed. Like, I can't even tell you how impressed I am, because this is the first time that I've heard somebody. Like a lot of people do side hustles, but it's usually a side hustle that you can manage, like with the image of your brand. But you went out there and tables. I have the utmost respect for you and you got it done too. So where do you go from here? You're like, I guess consumer debt free. We'll call it minus or you is your next step. Looking at investment. Is your next step looking at sort of healing the mortgage first? What, what are your, what, what are your goals?

Brandyn Rodriguez (29:22): Yeah, so currently I'm just trying to learn as much as I can about investing prior to this only investing I did was through my retirement at work. Right. And so just trying to increase that, you know, recently opened up an IRA, transferred some old retirement accounts over. And so I like investing and I'm like seeing then also I'm kind of like, you know, log in and it's like, oh, I lost money. Ooh, don't look, don't login. I'm like, you know what? Just put it there and let it be because it's going to take awhile. So just let it do its thing and not don't look every day. I would say it's different though. Being on this side, like right when I was paying off debt, it was like, go, go, they'll go. I want it off the debt gone. But now on this side of this journey, I'm like, it's not like, oh, go, I met them.

Brandyn Rodriguez (30:01): Best everything that I have now. It's like, okay, I can invest over here. I can save over here. I can take care of house projects over here if I went to. So it's a total different story on the opposite side of this journey. But yeah, they're trying to invest recently opened up 5 29 accounts for our daughters, trying to learn more about that. I didn't invest before. Cause I didn't know about it. And it's like always waiting on this, like, oh, I'm awake, I'm awake. I'm gonna learn. I'm learning to learn. Like nobody brings up waiting. Like you're 38 years old time is passing by Sydney. The oldest is going to college. And two years we'd always said when she was born, we were going to invest. We're going to save a thousand dollars a year. We're going to take her tax return and save and invest for her.

Brandyn Rodriguez (30:37): And here she is 16. And we just now started investing for her college education. So I wouldn't do that. If you have kids and you plan to help them with college, I would say, definitely start investing early $25, $5, whatever it may be and do that in their younger years versus the later years. But yeah, right now it's just all about investing, enjoying life. We did travel while we're on our debt free journey. Again, we didn't decrease a lot of things that I was like, we know we still wanted to do certain things. We didn't travel a lot, but we did some steps. So the next year it's like, okay, I'm going to do this. And the year after that I turned 40 and 20 and 24, I think 23 can count.

Brandyn Rodriguez (31:09): And I'm all like, I want to go to the Maldives. And it was like one of those things, like I can never go there. Right? It's like, I can't go there because that's Kim Kardashians money. I got Kim Kardashian money. And then a friend that I follow on Instagram, she just took her family there for vacation. And I was just like, and I was like, I actually know someone. I don't know Kim, but I know Chris and Chris went there and I'm like, you know, I've paid off $137,000 worth of debt. I can do it. And that's what my husband always says. He was like, the one thing that I like about you being is like, whatever you put your mind to, like, what'd you make your mind up, like you're going for it and you're gonna get the job done. I wish it was the same way with my weight.

Brandyn Rodriguez (31:41): Cause I'm like struggling with my health journey. That's getting on my nerves. But he's like, I like that you put your mind to it. So I told him, I was like, I'm going to, I'll be for my 40th birthday. If you want to come home, you better come on. But if not, I'm leaving. And I was like, I am, I, I made up my mind. I wanted to go to Maltese for my 40th birthday. So I'll start working and saving on that one too, but just trying to invest for our future. Right. I like my job. I don't mind working. We're not one of those millennials that are like, we want to retire early. I necessarily, I don't mind retiring early, but I'm like in my fifties, I don't mind returning like at 55 or I'm not trying to retire at 45. If it happens, that would be amazing, but that's not something that we're currently striving for. So investing and then I would love to pay off my mortgage, no way my family has ever done anything like that. So it would be really great if we can, you know, buy 50, be mortgage free and completely a hundred percent debt free. And so, you know, if our retirement accounts are looking good and we can retire and travel with our kids and our future grandkids, that'd be amazing. What would

Speaker 5 (32:39): Be the, how did it feel to hit your milestone? Or I want to share that with the audience so that they can understand the feeling, right? Because not everybody's going to be there right now and let's get on a little bit of a motivation and then let's talk more about some of the future plans that you've got over.

Brandyn Rodriguez (32:56): Absolutely. The feeling was amazing when I hit submit on that lasted on loan payment. It was one of those and it was like the biggest burden off my shoulder. It was like, wow, I can't believe we actually did this. When you think $137,000, that's a lot of freaking money. Like how did we do this? Like, this is insane. I have family members that are older than me that are still paying on student loans and stuff like that. And it's like, we did it. So it was just like really a breath of fresh air when we took care of it. And it's like, yes, we're done now. It's like, all right, now what do we do? It's kind of one of those things too, like, okay, so now what we've been grinding, grinding, grinding so hard working towards one goal. It's like, okay, well what's our next goal. And again, we don't want to grind so hard towards that next school. Again, I want to pay off the mortgage, but it's not going to be one of those things that we're going to pay it off in five years. That was going to take some time because we don't want to go a hundred percent like that. And I'm like, okay, if I can make an extra one or two payment mortgages a year, I'm fine with that.

Speaker 5 (33:53): It sounds like you, you're trying to strike more balance with your life. Not just, I'm only doing this and nothing else. Right. Is that right?

Speaker 5 (34:02): That's wonderful. And I think that's smart because speaking about self care and that balance and being in the present really right. Just allowing for you to, to be there as your daughters grow and then to join your family. I think it's a really inspiring there. What I'm like. I have one idea where it's one question, the one area that I would love to talk about and that's like, it was five years, right? This journey, not every day, it wasn't easy day. So can you talk about maybe some of those days where you were like, am I really doing the right thing? And like, does this make sense? And how did you get through that?

Brandyn Rodriguez (34:37): I will always be an advocate for those that are on this journey or any kind of journey where you're going to a hundred percent to when it becomes too much step, step back, reset, rest, reset, and relax. So that's what we did when it became too much. Again, after that 11 months of the first lighthouse, we were like, yeah, it is time. We got to slow down again. Thankfully our oldest is old. Our oldest daughter is 10 years apart. So she can help out with our youngest. She understood the process that we were going through, but you know, there were days that it was like DJ and I would to see each other in the morning, good morning, good night. Or at lunch, we'll schedule a lunch date to literally, okay, this is what's going on this week. Okay. I'm working here, you're working there.

Brandyn Rodriguez (35:15): You know, Sydney has a volleyball game and we have a basketball game here. We'll do this, this and that. And so it was like we were coming and going. And when it became to those moments, it's like, okay, we need to step back reevaluate where we're at, you know, reset and take a break. And so it was like, Hey, we'll stop hustling here. We'll do this instead. Okay. We're not going to travel this weekend to go visit family. Cause we just needed to sit still for a moment and re in regroup. And so that's what we did. So I would definitely advocate for those again that are just on this journey or any kind of journey when it becomes way too much for you. Take a break, rest and reset and regroup. Because again, you don't want to wear yourself out your body, your mind, all that needs to slow down. You still have goals. You'll still get there, but it's okay if you don't get there in September, you can get there in November or you can get there the following year, just remember to slow down and reset.

Speaker 5 (36:02): No that's wonderful advice. Thank you. It makes me wonder, like you, you want to advocate for people you're pushing for them. So was that the inspiration? I know that you, you know, are sharing all this and Instagram, you've got your website, you know, you're putting it out there for the world and the universe, really just putting it out there for everyone to learn from and be motivated from, but what spurred you to do that? You know, what, what is it that's driving that force now

Brandyn Rodriguez (36:28): And kinda got started because I was a stalker on Instagram.

Brandyn Rodriguez (36:35): That sounds really, really weird, but now calm down. So let me rewrite. So, you know, you would follow debt-free journeys, you know, tags on my personal Instagram page. And I was like, oh, that's really cool. And it was like one of those things like, Hey, I think I want to share my journey. You know, cause again, we weren't sharing family and friends to an extent, but I was like, you know, I think we have a story that we can share. And so that's when I created it, you know, our Instagram page and start sharing. I wasn't as active as I am now a couple of years ago. And then finally I think 20, 19, 20 18, I became like more active in stories. I believe people can you know, people can change people and if you can help or not change people, you can help people.

Brandyn Rodriguez (37:09): And if you can help even just one person make a difference in the world, whether it's their personal journey, their life, their career, whatever it is, I feel good about that. So that's why I started the Instagram page. And then earlier this year I was like, I think I want to do a blog. And we'll kind of just share stories and help people along and dream now that I am debt free. It's just like, I want everyone to be debt free and I, and that it can be done. It's like some of those things, it's like, I'm always going to have a mortgage. I'm always going to have a car payment. I'm always going to have this kind of debt and you don't have to, like you choose to, we all choose to, but if you don't want to live like that anymore, you can make the choice to make those changes.

Brandyn Rodriguez (37:44): And I'm living proof of that. You can do it. I think I'm more like a realistic person too. I would say that I was like, and everyone, not everyone. I feel like, you know, most social media people are, you know, they're realistic. Everyone's that person right behind the scenes behind the camera or behind the picture. But it's like, Hey, we're just some 38 year old, you know, husband and wife in San Antonio, women, my doing the thing, trying to pay off debt, be good stewards of our money, you know, serve the Lord, take care of our, our children support our families. So I think that's why our journey's a little unique.

Speaker 5 (38:16): I think it's really inspiring. And I think, I hope that maybe you helped someone take action when, like you said, like the investments for sitting on the sideline kind of like creeping in your mind, but like not there and you, and you put it into the forefront now it's an existence. Right. And so I think I'm hoping that somebody whoever's sitting out there that that might be like, ah, I'm on the bench. I want to get the game. Like I know there's this thing I can do, but like, I just don't want to do it. Hey, Brandyn is a great example, Brandyn and DJ did it a hundred over a hundred thousand dollars of, of debt. I mean, it's just amazing. It really is. I just, it feels like I achieved this goal. Like I love the idea. It's just so inspiring. So I think I'm hoping that everybody else can really pick that up.

Speaker 5 (39:02): And thank you for sharing that. I think it's, it's inspiring as wonderful to plan you guys. You made a visual part. There's so many elements of, of, of your story that I think are amazing that people can learn from it. I'm just going to quickly try to sum some of those up and let me know if I'm on the right path here, but right. You, you guys, one communicated with each other after you set a goal, you guys decided what that plan was going to look like and sort of executing on that. Once it got a little overwhelming or too much to handle, you communicated that and then said, let's step back, let's relax and reset and then get back at it again. And so it sounds like you guys were like assessing and moving forward. And then you also had like visual cues that you use to remind yourself.

Speaker 5 (39:41): I was like, why are we doing this? Right. Like the billfold. I like it. Love, love, love, love that idea because now you're seeing it constantly, you're being reminded. So if your mind just trails off, which a normal human being is, mind will do. You said, oh, this is what I'm doing. And I think this is like one of the best parts. Like you humbled yourself in a sense where you were like, look, I have my own goals for my family and for what I want to do. And if anybody wants to question it, which they did and you were like, this is what I'm doing this for. So would you say that that's like a good summary of if I had like the cliff notes version of what we're saying here? No, I just, I I'm super fascinated by the story and I really, really am happy that you're joining the show to do it Def.

Daphné Vanessa (40:24): And I just have a question for you because your, your day job is still giving to others. Right? So you're like giving to the others. You're supporting your family. All of your work is sort of all giving. Do you ever experience caregiver burnout or do you ever need to take a break from all of the,

Brandyn Rodriguez (40:45): Not necessarily take a break for the giving? I enjoy it, but there's moments, especially in my job where I have moments that I'm like, Ooh, I don't like my job. Right. I'm a team of one putting together projects for companies, organizations, groups sometimes, you know, it takes a lot of work to get to the project. But once you get to that final project and you see like, oh, we made a difference. It's like we do what we do. Like really shut up, suck up when you have those moments. Like when someone emails me something special med it's like it was in the email that I sent you, if you would just read it was there. It was like, you know, I have all those moments like, oh my God, no one calls me at least my voicemail. So when I humble myself in those moments, but when I get to the completion of a project or doing something where I'm giving back, or I see the client or see the family, or I see the child, it's like, this is why I do what I do.

Brandyn Rodriguez (41:38): I am blessed. I'm thankful that I'm able to do this kind of work in our community. And everything makes a difference from the smallest thing. Some of our projects that we do here is putting decorating a shoe box and filling it with everyday toiletry items. All three of us on this call can go to a Walmart target, wherever CVS and bias toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant, right. Easily. We can do that. But there's people in our community that how are they going to go get that champion conditioners? Or are they going to go play with food on the table for their family? Or they're going to make sure that their child has shoes. So it was like those kinds of moments. Again, it's something very simple for you and I, but it makes a difference for a child, a family, a senior citizen, someone that is homeless in my community. So it's like, this is why I do what I do. Even when people get on my nerves.

Daphné Vanessa (42:21): And that's what keeps you going right? Is, is just the, the knowing that you helped somebody with a basic necessity that they would have otherwise like skipped, right? Because like you sat there taking care of other things that are, that are pressing. So I really admire the work. Everything about you, Brandyn is just so giving. And so always thinking about other people and we definitely need more people like you in the world. And so thank you for your service in a sense of giving back to the community. Right? Because we don't talk about it a lot, but like community impact is a large part of what we do as well. So thank you.

Brandyn Rodriguez (43:03): Thank you very much. Thank you so much guys, for having me again. I appreciate sharing my story with your audience. It's, it's been good.

Daphné Vanessa (43:11): And so let the audience know where can they connect with you? Do you have any cool things for them to check out?

Brandyn Rodriguez (43:18): You can find me on Instagram. I am Brandyn Rodriguez debt underscore free and to score 2020 follow-up please follow me over there where you will get inspiration, motivation, some humor. I like to have some fun with some of the Instagram real features. You can also check me out positively b.com. Again, faith, family, and finances, free resources available are a debt-free tracker as well as a budget that you can use as a template to get your finances in order.

Daphné Vanessa (43:45): Thank you so much, Brandyn.

Speaker 5 (43:47): Thank you so much for joining us, Brandyn. For more information on today's episode, visit the student loan podcast.com for slash episode 56. That's the student loan podcast.com/episode 56.

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