Today feels like a big day. Today IS a big day.
Today is the day that I paid off my second to last credit card.
Today is the day that I brought home my biggest paycheck EVER.
And today is the day that I can really FEEL my financial progress. I now only have ONE credit card and my car loan – that’s it!
When I started buckling down on this journey in early September I had balances on four credit cards, two personal loans, and my car payment. That was seven debt payments! Now only having two feels like a dream! Thinking even further ahead to having NO debt payments mid-way through 2019 doesn’t feel so far fetched.
Deciding to become debt free and a truly changing your behaviors to get there can honestly be a bit of a grind. Goodbye impulse vacations, goodbye random $120 pairs of leggings, goodbye impulse picking up the tab for a dinner part of 6. If I do anything impulsive now it’s treating myself to a cappuccino at my favorite coffee shop.
But when you have those moments where your discipline pays off and you can feel it in your bones like I do today, it’s all worth it. So very worth it. Having paid off so many debts so quickly makes me feel like I can breathe, it makes me feel like I have options, it gives me comfort that if some bad shit goes down, I can adjust my monthly budget and cash flow most anything.
People will often ask me how I’m doing this – how did I go from so freely swiping my credit card to not using them at all and paying off 20% of my debt in 4 months?
Two things – behavior and community.
I knew my habits needed to change. I took my credit cards out of my wallet. I haven’t used a credit card since September 3rd. I have my debt number in front of me every day. (Debt number = the total amount of all your debts, to the penny.) I started using EveryDollar to create and stay on a budget. After spending anything I log it that day into my EveryDollar app. I plan ahead for extra expenses – hair cuts, running shoes, vehicle registration, vet appointments, luggage check fees, all of that. I started trying different ways of ‘rewarding’ myself for working hard that didn’t involve spending money.
No one should feel like an island when they are on their debt free journey, but that can be tough. Living with crippling debt is normal – often times people don’t question it. Through opening up with other people about my financial goals both in person and in my blog, Instagram and Facebook accounts, I am surrounded by support and stories of other people doing the same thing as me! A few co-workers told me that they started listening to the Dave Ramsey show. Some other people recently told me they started using EveryDollar. A close friend at work checks in with me a few times a week on her financial progress and how she’s working her budget.
I thought this journey may isolate me from other people, but what it has done is deepened the quality of relationships I have with them. I am not afraid to tell people how much debt I’m carrying ($31,695.19), what I’m doing about it, and what financial screw ups I’ve had (stupid tax as Dave Ramsey likes to call it). Taking the shame and fear out of money for myself has given others around me permission to do that same, and that’s created a wonderful community for me. It keeps me going. Every day.