Here we are at week 15 of the Debt Free Challenge! Last week, I shared the total paid down to date and I think we had an error with our form. It seems that once you had filled it out once, it would not let you do so again!! So, if you tried to share before and couldn’t, please give it another shot so that we can celebrate together! As a reminder, the survey is completely anonymous – there is truly no way for me to know who you are at all. You can share your amount you have PAID OFF HERE. (Please come back and keep adding to this as you pay off more of your debts!)
As I mentioned last week, I would LOVE to share your personal debt free challenge/story. If you have one, send it to me at email@example.com so we can share it. This week we have Liz’s story – thanks for sharing with all of us!
When I graduated last May, I landed a temp job that paid quite well. However, finally getting a fat steady paycheck and having to pay my own bills was quite a change to get used, so putting away 25% right away to pay my own taxes didn’t exactly happen. After clearing myself out by paying my quarterly taxes, I found myself living paycheck to paycheck and racking up credit card debt. Probably the lowest point for me was after a car accident when I didn’t have enough money in the bank or enough on my credit card to get a rental car for a few days while my car was being repaired. I will not forget the awful feeling of having to call my mom to come pay for it. On top of that, my student loans bills started at the end of the year and boy was I freaking out about how I was going to pay for everything.
I decided that I was going to get a handle on my money starting this year with the Debt Free Challenge. I made my New Year’s resolution to pay off my 3 credit cards in addition to my monthly student loan payments for a grand total of over $8,000 just this year. I started a strict budget for extra expenses and I’ve found the envelope system the most helpful thing since I can see what I am spending and what I have left for each category of my budget. I got a full time position at the end of the year so I started putting away money into an HSA account to cover any medical expenses and emergencies without having to touch the money. I also started doing some secret shopping and planned for the money I would have to spend on the shop in my monthly budget, so my paycheck could go entirely towards debt.
I am so happy to say that even after just 3 months, my entire situation has completely changed for the better. I have been setting aside money from each paycheck into savings to cover an emergency fund, gifts, car insurance, and even a trip. My boyfriend and I are taking a vacation to a popular tourist destination in our state so we aren’t going too far, and we are going right before Memorial Day while the rates are still dirt cheap to make it as cheap as possible. After only 3 months, I have already paid off 2 cards and a good chunk of my largest one, with over $3,500 paid off of my original $33,000 debt and I’ve got my $1,000 in pure savings for emergencies. I don’t think I will have any problem reaching my goal this year and I hope to keep it going to be complete debt free in just 4 years.
NICE JOB LIZ!!!
(I am not a financial advisor and the information listed within these Debt Challenge posts is not to be construed a financial advice. This is knowledge we gained through our own personal experiences and information as outlined in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Makeover — and is being shared as such. Participants are not required to follow any steps listed if they do not wish to do so. Financial concerns/issues should be addressed with a professional in order to receive advice and assistance.)