I've started this post about fifteen times, sure that I want to talk honestly about debt but unsure of how to start. So I started thinking--why do I want to share about my long, arduous journey to get debt free.
And here it is.
When you start getting serious about clawing your way out of the slime pit of debt, you hear all these stories of people who did "this" or "that" and paid off 100, 000 dollars in eight months. You tune into Dave Ramsey, the debt-free guru, and you get so excited to hear people's success stories and hope that's your testimony too. (I HIGHLY recommend Dave Ramsey. I attended his 13-week class, which was one of the best decisions of my life.)
And then reality sinks in. You already work three jobs (teacher, coach, babysitter) just to make ends meet, so where are you going to find hundreds of extra dollars each check to tackle this debt mountain? It takes you months just to get the 1,000 emergency fund in savings. You cut everything you can, but you still have exactly 75 dollars a month to add to your debt snowball.
And so years pass, and you're slowly plugging away, but some months you fail. You use a credit card for a vacation you're desperate to take. You blow your emergency fund on "extras" instead of emergencies. And you think you're never going to be debt free, so you might as well enjoy life.
So that's why I'm sharing. Because surely I'm not alone in that struggle.
I have so much to say, and I plan to post regularly about different aspects of getting out of debt. But I wanted to start by encouraging people who feel there is no end, the ones who hear those amazing stories of people who got out of debt quickly and then get discouraged. Your story is different. Mine is different. But, there's beauty in the journey. And I want to find it and share it.
I have this notebook where I've kept track each month of how much debt I have and how much I've paid off. This is my first entry from April 2010 when I started this journey.
I can't believe I'm sharing this. I've only shared this number with a couple people--like literally two people. Feel special.
I have no clue why I thought I needed a new outfit from Gap every week. I can't tell you what the heck I bought using that Bank of America card. And Target? Who knows.
Proverbs 22:7 "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender."
But, it's good to see those numbers because they make me mad. Mad enough to want to change. Because I definitely don't want to be Discover's slave.
What's your debt story? If you've never had the nerve to add up your debt, I encourage you to do it. It will be hard and probably discouraging, but it's the first step.