$78,428.00 - Debt Payoff Plan
That's it. That is every penny that I owed when I started my debt free journey. Student loans, a credit card, and a couch. Also, my car lease at the time was over. But, I still needed a vehicle so I leased another at the beginning of this process (stupid tax). I hadn't saved any money in preparation for the end of my lease (naturally, ha) so I went the payments route. The payments for that over 36 months was about 11k. So in reality my starting debt number was closer to 89k.
I remember the lump in my throat when I finally sat down, pulled my credit report and faced the music in the summer of 2017. I remember the queasy feeling in my stomach and the anxiety that came like waves in the days that followed.
Ignorance really was bliss in my case but that comfort was gone once I saw my numbers. I knew I had to change.
I know some of you may be struggling with debt right now or have in the past. Remember, you are not alone. Finding the debt free community on Instagram was one of the best things that I could have happened because I started to see content from people like me who were in the same boat (#DebtFreeCommunity). Don't let the shame of your mistakes prevent you from taking action. Many people are in this situation. Most just don't openly talk about it.
Here are a few things you can do to get started:
Pull your credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com and go through it line by line so that you can see every creditor/ company that you owe. You should be able to get this for free every year.
Create a budget. Period. You work very hard for the money that you earn and need to know where every dollar is going. You can do this using pen and paper, excel or a program such as YNAB. This is crucial so that you can see if your income even covers all of your basic monthly expenses (without using credit). At that point you will be able to calculate what margin is left (if any) to pay towards your debt. If you have no margin you might need to think about cutting back your lifestyle or picking up a side hustle.
Run your own race and don't compare yourself to anyone. Celebrate your wins!
As of right now I owe $52,147.17. I'm 33.5% of the way to debt freedom. It took me awhile to get intentional but I'm here now. If I can do this, you can too! Forgive yourself for your past money mistakes, connect with like-minded people and never stop trying no matter how discouraging the process gets. Feeling the burden slowly start to lift is exhilarating.
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