I once owed $30,000 in debt. I had a few credit cards with high-interest rates with a balance that would roll into the next month repeatedly. I also had a car payment. On top of that, I had zero savings in the bank. Paycheck the paycheck was the way of life and it stresses me out just to think about it. It took me 2 years to pay the debt off, and I will NEVER. EVER. go back.
(I did marry into a small student loan balance that will be gone next month- I’ll dive more into how we went about paying that off in an upcoming post in January.)
It’s been 4 years since I’ve had any debt to my name, and I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of living a debt-free lifestyle. There is nothing that would make me go back to making payments again… Maybe a house? But even that, I’m not so sure about.
The only thing debt has ever done was hold me back from the things I’ve wanted to pursue. It made me a slave to my job. I needed to be making a substantial amount of money every month to keep up with the payments I had going out while paying the normal bills that come along with life- like rent, utilities, gas, and food. Not to mention trying to get ahead and save for the future.
I quickly learned that the only way to get rid of debt was to tackle it like a crazy person. It was priority #1 on top of anything else I wanted to do. Month after month, I would get paid and dump a large chunk onto the debt right away. Slowly the balances started to decrease and progress was noticeable- but man, it felt like it was going to take forever.
I knocked out the credit cards first. I made the final payment over the phone and immediately cut up the card. The $16,000 car loan remained.
I remember getting paid from side-jobs, immediately cashing the check, and driving to the credit union where I had my car loan. “Principle payment please.” I wouldn’t even deposit the money in my bank account because I knew it would make it more painful when the money disappeared or, even worse, give me time to spend it on something else.
On January 15, 2014, I went to that credit union, paid $3,345.40, and walked out with my car title stamped “paid in full, lean removed.” A weight had been lifted and I was DONE.
This journey has empowered me in many ways. It’s showed me that anything is possible when you commit, that we can live an extremely happy life with less, and that hard work pays off.
Since paying off my debt, I’ve become content with what I have and have shifted to not feel entitled to a certain lifestyle. I know what is important to me, and that is where I choose to spend my money. If I’m not able to pay for something outright or feel uncomfortable taking the money out of the savings account, it’s not worth purchasing. I will never forget the weight of debt. That feeling alone is enough for me to never go back.
“Every time you borrow money, you’re robbing your future self.” – Nathan W. Morris
Thanks for Reading,