I’m sitting in Barnes and Noble right now. I’ve had a few glasses of wine ($5.99 courtesy of HEB thank you very much) and I’m reevaluating things in my life, as I have been doing for the past couple of months, and I realized that while I’ve learned a ton in my effort to better myself, I haven’t been implementing it in all areas of my life. I mean, sure, I have fewer debts (thank the LORD. I’m now sitting at $25,076 in total debt), and I celebrate that, but I could be so much further in my journey.
I don’t want to relish in my shoulda, coulda, wouldas, but I’m realizing that I’ve chosen those things that I’m comfortable with over those things that will most certainly benefit me in the long run and I’m done with that (at least I hope). I mean, let’s get serious, it’s easy to slip back into the norm. Come on, it’s EASY. You start to feel lonely. Like you’re missing out on the fun things in life. Like you’ve become the boring friend that just wants to stay at home. It’s enough to make anyone tiresome. BUT, you have to persevere. You have to think about the future, not just what feels good today. Seriously, It feels good for everyone to see that you can go out every Friday and Saturday night, buy shots for your everyone and still hold your head up high on Monday morning (albeit with a slight hangover), but that feeling isn’t there on the 23rd when you’re all alone and you get that bill from Capital One that says you spent $500 the previous 30 days eating out.
The road to financial recovery isn’t always sunshine and roses. Matter of fact, it’s hardly ever that. It’s filled with a ton of sacrifice and discipline followed by a few moments of satisfaction when you meet your first goal. Then the never-ending cycle starts all over again and continues forever. It can get tedious and sometimes, you have setbacks.
At least that’s where I found myself last month. I mean, my setback wasn’t devastating. I didn’t have an emergency that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars or anything, but I found myself going down a path that could have been a huge blow to all the progress I’ve made. And, it all started when I had a few too many drinks.
When I first started my journey, my lowest credit card balance was $1,800. Well, I’m super excited to be able to say that debt is dead and gone!
$30,165.56. That’s my number now.
Since last month, I’ve been able to reduce my debt by $1,786.20 and I couldn’t be more excited. My next goal is to pay off my CareCredit card which only has a balance of $200.
Sidenote: It’s from a dental procedure I had last month. I had to make a choice. I could have paid cash for the procedure and put off my goal of paying my first credit card for another month. Or, I could charged the procedure, with zero interest, and pay that balance off next month.
In the end, I felt like I would feel more accomplished if I completed my initial goal, so that’s what I did.
So far, no regrets.
Hello out there everyone. I’m super excited to start this blog and a new chapter in my life. But, along with that comes a brutally honest assessment of my finances. Deep breath…
$35,379.73. Three months ago, that was my number. That’s how much I owed. $7,950 in credit card debt. $5,642.36 in student loans. And, I had just acquired a $21,787.37 auto loan. Exhale…
It was a ton of money, and my creditors had me believing it was no big deal. At least that’s the impression I got each time they increased my credit limit or offered me special interest rates. But, it was a huge deal. It was $635.84 a month worth of a huge deal. And that was me only making minimum payments, which I can’t in good conscience recommend anyone do. I needed a change.
And that’s when I came up with a plan to get rid of my debt.
$31,951.76. That’s my number now.
In a little over three months, I was able to reduce my debt by almost $3,500 and here’s some of what I’ve been doing.
How I’m Reducing My $30,000 in Debt
1. I found out where my money was going.
The first thing I did was go over my bank and credit card statements with a fine-toothed comb. It didn’t take long for me to see where my money was going. Restaurants. On average, I had been spending $20 a day on fast food and nearly $100 a week at Pappasitos and Lupe Tortilla. More than 60% of my credit card charges went to restaurants or Jamba Juice. Yikes!
My other expenses included my tithe, rent, cellphone bill, insurance premiums and minimum credit card payments. I didn’t have any lavish retail purchases or any other bad spending habits. Food was hands down my biggest expense and I needed to change that. So…