It was early September of 2017, and I had just binge listened to 5 Dave Ramsey podcasts in a row.
I was curious.
He mentioned that the first step was to write down all your debts from smallest to largest.
That didn’t sound too hard. I’m sure I could do that. Plus, I didn’t think I had that much debt anyway, so this would just be a fun little exercise in financial awareness.
In my head, I figured there was no way that I was more than $25,000 in debt. I mean come on, that isn’t even that much compared to other people, right?
So I started my list. Then remembered a credit card I forgot about. And another one. And oh yeah, I have overdue fees at the library so that technically should go on here too I guess, and what? My car loan is for THAT much? Are you serious?
When I totaled it all up my jaw damn near hit the ground. I owed $40,611.
I dreamed of a life that was free of financial worry, living without golden handcuffs and being able to take risks. But by seeing that number, I couldn’t kid myself. I wasn’t doing a damn thing to move closer to the life I wanted.
I got INTENSE. It only took a few weeks to get $1,000 in savings as my emergency fund. (I had NEVER had that kind of money on hand!) And in just a few months I knocked out multiple debts. (I am doing the debt snowball where I pay off the smallest balances first.)
Now, as you can imagine, this gets to be a grind. For the past year, I’ve been paying down my one big fat credit card balance while paying my regular amount towards my car. It feels like the longest race I’ve ever run. (Or is it ran? Who the hell knows. Not important.) I cash flowed a move across the country, emergency dental bills, AND unexpected medical costs. (I am much more careful when running down mountains now! No more bruised bones for this girl!)
But now it is FEBRUARY! Oh, sweet February. I am going to savor you for two beautiful reasons.
1 – I will officially have paid down more than 50% of my original debt!
and 2 – My total debt number will finally be in the teens!!!!
Here are the stats:
Starting debt in September 2017: $40,611
Starting debt balance February 1, 2019: $21,188.40 (which is 52% of my starting balance)
After my scheduled debt payments on February 23rd, I will be at $19,698.54! 48% of my starting debt balance!
To amp up my intensity even more and come up with extra cash to throw at the debt I am doing a February No Spend Challenge! Have you heard of this? You try and go as many days in the month without spending any money besides for groceries, gas, and bills. For each day you are successful, you get a point. It’s a short month, so it’s the perfect time to do this, right? 🙂
There is a Facebook community that does this each month so I’ll be looking to them for support to keep my eye on the prize. (If you’re curious, it’s called ‘The No Spend Challenge’.)
If you want to take financial charge of your month and join in on the challenge just let me know! We can be accountability partners!