So do you want the good news or bad news first?
How about I start with the bad news bears so we can end the post on a positive note?
The Debt Repayment Journey is HARD. In fact, I don’t think I have ever experienced anything so painful but my engagement ring getting stuck on my finger during J’s proposal and having to spend over 3 hours in the Emergency Room to have the doctor yank it off my bruised and swollen-like-a-hot-air-balloon finger comes in a close second! On a side note, how come doctors and nurses don’t have sympathy for the poor Girl with the big rock stuck on her finger?
Ever since I was 18 years old and received my first credit card and student loan, I thought of debt as normal. It actually never even really occurred to me until I was the ripe old age of 29 that I would have to take aggressive action and make drastic lifestyle changes if I wanted to pay off my debt as soon as possible. Debt won’t be paid off “one day” unless I take action now. I won’t take credit for this sudden financial light-bulb moment though since it was actually J who straight out told me that debt is bad and I needed to get my financial act together pronto.
At first, it was a challenge. Cutting back little luxuries that had become a part of my daily routine was making me feel like I was “depriving myself.” At times I even felt angry and resentful towards my “past” self. After awhile though, being frugal just became a part of my new daily routine.
I also fell victim to debt fatigue many times during the past year. I felt like I was working so hard but my debt balance wasn’t shrinking fast enough to reflect my efforts. At times, I would burst into tears feeling ashamed of how stupid and wasteful I was with money in the past. I felt anxious worrying how I’m 30 years old now but haven’t really started saving for retirement yet because I have so much debt.
At times, I felt like giving up.
I didn’t give up. And I will never give up. This Debt Repayment Journey has been one of the most difficult challenges I have had to overcome but it honesty isn’t as difficult as I first thought it would be! Yes, it’s damn hard, but it’s not impossible. You just have to truly yearn for financial freedom in order to be successful.
For the longest time, I felt like I “plateaued” in my debt repayment journey until I paid off my $12,000 credit card debt in 9 months and now with just one student loan debt left, the momentum is picking up and I can see the numbers dropping much faster. I started 2013 with over $57,000 in debt and I’m hoping to end the year under $40,000. $17,000 paid in one year is something I would have thought impossible even just one year ago but now I’m so close to reaching that goal, I can see, smell, hear, taste and touch it!
I’m never going to say anything ridiculous like I’m happy I have debt because it has made me a stronger person but since I do have debt, I will say that it is not all doom and gloom. The process of paying off my debt has taught to really value the priceless things in life, like love, family, pets, friends, and good health. It’s also challenged me to look for more frugal fun activities and I have really embraced hiking and walking because of it.
The best news about the Debt Repayment Journey? It’s not permanent. There is a finish line and the prize is one that ironically money can’t buy.
What’s your truth when it comes to debt repayment? Let’s hear the good and bad!