Teacher who adopted her former student and his brother eliminates over $48,000 in debt
A 29-year-old woman who adopted a former college student and brother is now celebrating being completely debt free.
Chelsea Haley of Marietta, Georgia eliminated a total of $ 48,683.41 - the amount she owed on credit cards and student loans with interest.
"It doesn't feel real yet," Haley, mother of Jerome, 17, and Jace, 6, told Good Morning America. "It's so amazing. I even logged into my student loan and it said 'Cleared. Zero Balance'."
Haley taught in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2015 as part of a two-year engagement with Teach for America, an organization that recruits young college graduates to work in low-income schools. Her son Jerome was in her 4th grade at the time.
When Haley saw Jerome being suspended from school and making no academic progress, she spent time with him - going to his soccer games, buying him school supplies and more, she told GMA in 2018.
PHOTO: Chelsea Haley, mother of Jerome, 17, and Jace, 6, of Marietta, Georgia, eliminated a total of $ 48,683.41 - the amount she owed on credit cards and student loans with interest. Your current goal is to save money on a new home. (Chelsea Haley)
Soon Jerome asked Haley if he could live with her, and in 2016, Haley obtained full custody of the teen.
MORE: 5 siblings adopted together after being separated into foster families
Chelsea now also has custody of Jerome's little brother Jace.
"Being your mother is the greatest blessing of my life," said Haley. "I can wake up in the morning and love two little boys."
PHOTO: Chelsea Haley, mother of Jerome, 17, and Jace, 6, of Marietta, Georgia, eliminated a total of $ 48,683.41 - the amount she owed on credit cards and student loans with interest. (Chelsea Haley)
Haley said she wiped out her legal expenses savings when she applied for custody of the two boys. She also accumulated debt to be able to afford to look after it, which was piled on deferred student loans.
Determined to get out of debt, Haley took on part-time jobs.
PHOTO: Jerome, 17 and Jace, 6, of Marietta, Georgia, were adopted by Jerome's former teacher, Chelsea Haley. (Chelsea Haley)
"Besides being a teacher, I taught a few days a week," she said, adding that she was paid extra on Fridays to stay in school late and work as a facility manager.
Haley also delivered groceries, sold her house, and moved back in with her parents on November 6th.
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Her current goal is to save money on a new house and prepare Jerome for college. Both boys thrive in school, Haley said.
"It allows me to focus on the boys' future," she said. "Saving money for her and not spending it on my past."
Your advice to fighting debt is to never ignore your expenses and stick to a plan.
"Finances can be scary and it's easier to say, 'It's out of sight, mind,'" Haley said.
PHOTO: Chelsea Haley, mother of Jerome, 17, and Jace, 6, of Marietta, Georgia, eliminated a total of $ 48,683.41 - the amount she owed on credit cards and student loans with interest. Determined to get out of debt, Haley took on part-time jobs. (Chelsea Haley)
Here are more tips on Haley debt relief ...
1. List all of your goals, starting with the high yield bills that you want to pay off.
2. Look at your paycheck and pay attention to what you are spending money on.
3. Consider additional sources of income if your time allows.
4. Learn to turn down certain money habits.
It's also important to stay motivated, Haley said, by "knowing that when it pays off, you have a lot more freedom".
Editor's Note: This was originally published on December 4, 2020.
The teacher, who adopted her ex-student and brother, is cleaning up over $ 48,000 in debt originally posted on goodmorningamerica.com
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