I won’t lie to you. This is the most humbling, terrifying, exposing thing I will ever put on the Internet. Ever. There’s a large part of me that says “don’t do it. You’ll mess up future employment, friends will judge you, family will be angry at you.” So I’ve been staring at this editor for a few hours, just thinking. Chances are, I won’t even think of a catchy SEO title for this post until I’m just about to send it.
Some information before I share what you really came here to see. I’m 28 years old, I will be 29 in June. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Competitive Intelligence Systems and a Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance. I work for Fortune 100 company as a Business Analyst full-time. I love my job, my coworkers. I make a comfortable salary. All of this is to say, there is no logical reason I should be in this much debt. But I am.
And this is how I’m going to get out of it and be #DebtFree.
I’ve shared this with my boyfriend Bryan because we’re now in the process of planning out our lives together, and I don’t want us to start with my debt hanging over us. My family know some of this, but not all. Below is a screenshot of my current debt, the interest rates and minimum payments. It’s a few weeks old, as I’ve made payments on most of those accounts since I made the spreadsheet, but it’s a good starting point.
I have $40,446.65 in credit card debt. This is over 6 cards and one consolidation loan I took out last year. Then we have my student loans, at $68,539.29 and finally my home which I purchased in 2016 at $103,945.36. I am fully aware this is alot. I hate it, trust me.
How did I get here?
Well, that’s the $212,931.30 question, now isn’t it? As you saw above, my two degrees account for my student loan debt. I went to a private university, and I would not have changed that for anything. It was a wonderful experience and I’m at a great job now because of my hard work there.
I purchased my home in 2016 when I still had some larger credit card debt, but through my parents/some inheritance and taking a first time homebuyer loan from my 401k (this is sort of bad, sort of not. I’ll explain in a future post), I was able to get my 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home. I do love living here, although I have had a host of problems since moving in (again, another post for another time).
Now, the credit cards. I’m sure if I went to a psychologist, they’d have a field day examining why I am the way I am with money, but the short of it is… I like shopping. I enjoy walking out with bags of new things, I enjoy filling my home with decor that brings me joy. I spend on experiences, I spend when I’m happy, I spend when I’m sad. This behavior is entirely wrong, and I’m now starting to correct it those behaviors with everything I have.
So, now that I’m like Cersei in S5E10 in Game of Thrones with my walk of #shame, where do I go from here?
Since January, I have been writing down every single expense I make, outside of paying my bills. I already had been tracking that, mostly to make sure I don’t miss a payment. I’ve been doing rough budgets each month on 4 categories – Groceries, Gas, Misc (shopping), Food (eating out) – and let me tell you, it is extremely eye opening to see how much money I have been hemorrhaging.
April is a no-spend month for me, and we’re already halfway through. No spend for me means only groceries and gas. I did break on Friday and went to Pyros (pizza restaurant) for lunch, but so far that has been my only slip up. I’ve canceled all my subscriptions to Spotify, MeUndies and others, and my sister has agreed to pay for Netflix from now on.
As I’m writing this, I’m working on getting a part-time job in retail. I have 4.5 years of experience from Toys R Us, and I really did enjoy retail. I think in addition to bringing in extra income, it will be a good change of pace and a use of different parts of my brain rather than my IT side. My goal with the part-time job is to throw every single penny to my credit cards in the debt snowball method. Until I get my first set of hours and hourly pay, I won’t know how much I can throw towards my debt but my ultimate goal is to have all the credit card debts paid off by December 2020. Obviously before then would be fantastic, but that is my line in the sand goal. From there, I can tackle the student loans, and then the house.
I’m going to do monthly check ins with my spreadsheet so we (mostly me!) can track how the progress is going with paying it down.
*Sighs* I never thought I’d write this post or have it on the Internet, but here we are. If you made it through, spare a little grace for me. We all mess up sometimes, whether that’s financially, health wise.. whatever. Remember, you never know what someone else is going through.
Leave me any advice and prayers in the comments. Or if you want my Venmo account to help a girl out… just saying. 😉