debt free living

Debt almost ruined my life


Almost.  But I didn’t let it.  In my 20s I went through five very rough years of financial stress because of overspending and taking my income for granted.  It came to a point where I was using all my income to make the minimum monthly payments on all my credit cards and loans then I was stuck living off credit until my next paycheck.  It was a vicious cycle of paying off debt and living off debt and I was stuck.

Personal confession:  I hit rock bottom and didn’t know if I would ever get out of debt.  I went to see a bankruptcy trustee to discuss my options.  I was convinced that declaring bankruptcy was my only way out of debt.

Bankruptcy wasn’t an option

It turns out bankruptcy was just not an option for me because it would wipe out a lot more than just my debt.  I was 27 years old and over $50,000 in debt from student loans, credit cards and a brand new car.  Oh and did I mention I was a financial planner?!

Declaring bankruptcy would have meant changing my entire life.  As a certified financial planner declaring bankruptcy would have meant losing my license…and my job.  The securities commission would have revoked my license and my employer would have fired me because clients don’t want to take advice from a financial planner who can’t even manage her own money.

Bankruptcy also meant giving up my new car .  My 2007 brand new Honda Civic was the first thing I ever really bought and having it taken away from me was more stress than I could handle.  I decided to sell it on my own instead of having it repossessed.  It was still a big hit to my ego, but at least it was on my own terms.

Debt causes emotional stress

I was at my ultimate low in life during my debt years.  I would wake up sad, stress about my debt all day and go to bed angry that I let my financial situation get so out of control.  Being in debt is an emotional roller coaster and if you’ve ever been in debt you know it’s true.

I ended up in debt because I spent money every day on material things because it made me happy.  But at the end of the month when I couldn’t afford to pay both my rent and credit card bills I would be in tears.  Then one day I had a revelation.  If being in debt made me sad, wouldn’t paying off my debt make me happy?  So that’s exactly what I did.

Being debt free is my happy place

I finally decided to make a change.  I decided  I didn’t want to live in debt anymore and I started to take my life back from my debt.

After selling my car I moved to a cheaper apartment, got a second job freelance writing, stopped using my credit cards and set up regular biweekly payments onto every single debt I had.  Watching my balances go down every month was the ultimate high.

I didn’t care that all my money went to debt repayment.  I didn’t care I couldn’t go shopping anymore.  I didn’t care that I couldn’t go out for dinner with my friends.  All I wanted to do was pay off my debt and pay it off as fast as possible. That’s the key to becoming debt free: make a plan and stay focused.  It won’t happen overnight, but you will become debt free if you stick to it.

Photo from Flickr

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