My Debt Story

I know that some people are in debt because they have had really devastating things happen in their lives that caused extreme financial hardship. Other people are more like I am – just a complete idiot when it comes to spending. No matter the reason, you are all welcome here. I think that sinking feeling when you can’t pay a bill is the same, no matter how you got there.

My debt story started when I opened my first credit card while in college. The next semester, I ended up losing my full-paid scholarship to LSU for being a dumb-ass and not keeping up my GPA (ouch!) and taking out student loans to finish school. I only worked sporadically through college, just enough to buy cigarettes and fund my pretty ridiculous drinking habit. I ate out for nearly every meal, even when I lived at my parent’s house, just because I wanted to. I took vacations that I couldn’t afford (looking back, why was I vacationing? It’s not like I was really working that hard…) and completely maxed out my credit card that way. Then one morning I woke up to a letter from Sallie Mae telling me it was time to pay them back for my four five-and-a-half year education. Oh yeah, that…

You would think at this point in the story I woke up a little bit, got a steady job, and began looking for sources of income anywhere I could. Nope, instead I moved to New York City with no job and no solid resume. You see, I’d had a dream of moving to New York since I’d been in eighth grade. My plan had always been to graduate from college, and then take off to New York City. When I finally did graduate from college, I’d been dating a guy for about a month and he lived in New York so it was only logical that I make the move across the country to be near him. Right?? We moved in together after two months (what?!) and the crazy responsibility of paying half of our (very high) rent was the slap in the face that I needed to get myself out of debt.

And so it began.

Drowning In Debt

So here’s the thing: I was in debt. Like, a lot of it. I’m talking big and scary numbers that I can’t even bring myself to type out right now. It was huge. Now add my husband’s EVEN BIGGER debt to that and you had a couple who looked like they would never be financially stable… BUT THAT’S NOT TRUE. Because here’s the other thing: Together, my husband and I paid off over $23,000 of credit card debt in less than two years AND paid for a wedding ourselves during that time. My head is above water now and I HAVE A SAVINGS ACCOUNT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE. We both still carry student loans, but I feel like I can breathe again knowing that we’ve begun chipping away at our debt! And I want to help other people feel the same way.

Since the day I decided to live a debt-free life, I’ve kept a journal detailing our path to financial freedom. Documenting everything kept me organized and motivated, but part of me knew that I should be blogging. I wanted to put our situation out there honestly, so that other people could relate and find the support needed to start down their own road to financial freedom. I wanted people to be able to reach out to me if they needed help, and I recognized the fact that I was using personal finance blogs for reference, tips, support, and information during our entire journey. But I was just so ashamed and embarrassed that I could only bring myself to write things down in my Moleskin notebook every day, and didn’t have the courage to describe the situation we were in to the entire internet. I’m ready to share now, though, and I hope my words reach someone who needs them.