I take after my dad in a lot of ways. We have the exact same smile and we spend money like crazy. My dad has always been very generous. While, my dad is very generous with money, he is also smart with it. I just spent money but I wasn't smart with it.
Up until four years ago, I never had debt. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I used credit cards, but paid off the balance every month! I came across a certain situation that I will not go into right now that forced me to look at myself. I realized that I had debt I was responsible for. Yup, to the tune of $18,177.90. I still remember the exact figure.When I found out, I flipped out. I cried, screamed, and threw the mother of all tantrums. It also gave me anxiety like I had never experienced before. I just wanted someone to tell me that everything would be okay. Yes, some people did, but I needed to hear it all the time. Of course, I was insane.
After about a month of just stressing out (I lost 30 lbs in one month!), I decided to take action. I took on a second job. Yes, it paid peanuts and yes, it was horrible, but it gave me approximately $400 extra month to throw towards debt. I also joined the message board Women In Red. There, I had my accountability and people telling me that it will all be okay...tirelessly. For the first time ever, I came up with a budget and I started saving. I saved before, but it was paltry. I saved MORE as I was trying to get out of debt! I reworked my entire financial situation. Every nickel I made from the second job, I threw towards debt. I cut all things fun from my everyday paycheck and threw that towards debt. It became addicting and I couldn't wait to get paid and then in turn make payments. I loved watching the numbers decrease. Of course, I took a couple of months off of debt repayment to just live. And then I had car repairs, but I just got back on track. On November 2, 2009, I paid off my debt. Two and a half years after my financial upheaval.
Today, I am still debt free and have more in the bank than I ever did before. Yes, I still sometimes resent the fact that I threw all that money towards debt vs. my savings/pockets, but if it weren't for that situation, I'd still be squandering money. I don't think I'd be saving so aggressively now if it weren't for the hell I faced four years ago.
I hope never to find myself in that situation again. But if, by chance I do, I know now that I can get myself out of it. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if I of all people can do it, anyone can. Trust me.