Guest post from Jessi of The Budget Mama
“How did I let this happen? I know better than this. I swore I would never end up here again, what happened?” That was my inner dialogue a few years ago when I realized that I had allowed my family to sink back into the depths of credit card debt.
Back when I was twenty-one years old, I was in such financial trouble that I was near bankruptcy due to credit cards. I truly knew better than to allow the “buy now, pay later” game to suck me, but it did, again.
I am still not sure how it happened; maybe it was out of fear that we would not be able to afford all those “must-haves” when we became parents for the first time. Maybe it was because we desperately “needed” that vacation to Mexico, or maybe I was just turning a blind eye because that was easier to deal with.
We were not only slowly sinking deep in credit card debt, but that fully-loaded Tahoe that we just had to have because we were now parents (and apparently you cannot drive anything other than a four-door SUV when baby arrives) was putting us even deeper in the hole.
Yep, we were deep in the red and the inner accountant in me was screaming bloody murder at the foolishness I had allowed to happen. Something had to be done because we were going to be broke soon if we did nothing.
I pulled up all our financial statements – credit cards, checking account, savings accounts, Tahoe loan information, and my student loan information. I spent hours tediously combing through them in order to figure out how long it would realistically take us to pay off these debts with my husband’s current income and our current budget.
When I presented my findings to my husband, he immediately pulled out his credit card, cut it up, and told me that struggling was out of the question and we were going to have to figure out how to get this debt monster wrangled back in his cage.
We did just that.
We have paid over $25,000 in debt in the two years since we made the commitment to get out of debt for the last time. We still have more to go but we are not struggling and by the grace of God, we will have my student loans completely paid for by the end of this year.
It takes serious hustle to defeat the debt monster. We have had to apply every well-deserved bonus check, tax refund check, savings bonds, and we even had to give up that fully loaded Tahoe in order to dumped $18,000 of debt in one day. Downgrading is not easy in our consumer-driven society that places our value in what we drive, what we wear, and where we live… but sometimes it is the only option in order to live the life you truly want.
Debt is not forever and if you are battling the debt monster, remember you are not alone. It is possible to defeat him. It will not always be easy, but you can and will do it if you hustle.
How have you hustled to defeat the debt monster?
Jessi Fearon is a wife, mom of two little boys, and writer behind The Budget Mama, a personal finance site where she shares her family’s real life on a budget. She is devoted to helping her readers thrive on a budget while becoming better money managers.