The Debt Story

As with most young people who enter into and after much trial and tribulationย exit college, I woke up in the ‘real world’ a bit over my head. It would be one thing to say I started from scratch or with nothing. I, however, was starting with something….that something was just a negative number! A negative number to the tune of (let’s just round it) $50,000. Did anyone else cough or gag just now? I never seem to be able to look at that number without choking at least a little.

My 5 year (Kstate is a 5 year progam…I didn’t drag that out just for fun!) undergraduate and subsequent 1 year masters degree cost me quite an arm and a leg. My first year in a private Catholic College (GO RAVENS!) definitely didn’t help that. 5 years with the ever rising public school tuition and I graduated with about $43,000 in debt. On top of that, I had decided on a whim to take my then boyfriend and I to the Bahamas on my newly discovered VISA credit card. Some of my private loans also began accumulating interest prior to graduation (another thing I apparently was not educated enough on before being granted the loan…) and here we are at my $50,000 ball and chain.

Ball and chain is not an exaggeration. There is nothing more crippling than knowing the money you are working day in and day out to earn belongs to someone else. It’s a really depressing thought actually! It’s even more depressing when you have automatic withdrawal and you wake up one day per month and a ton of your money just disappears.

I can’t go back to college and deliver more pizzas and take out less ‘help’. If we could all go back and teach our younger selves these lessons, we’d all be really boring people now! But what I can do, and encourage many people to also do, is develop habits now to get my hind parts outta debt. It’s not easy. And I’d be lying if I said I figured all this out by myself. By some miracle of miracles there was a church down the street from me hosting a class called Financial Peace University. Someone donated a ‘starter kit’ for me and off I went.

Dave Ramsey is a pretty amazing motivator and his plan works for me. I don’t like it a lot of the time. I’ve never been one for delayed satisfaction as I’m not the most patient individual on the planet. (Imagine…) I do like knowing that soon and very soon all my money will be mine to do with as I see fit…and Sallie Mae can kiss my lunge induced booty ๐Ÿ™‚

Again, I repeat, IT IS NOT EASY. I have to tell myself no a lot. I have to deal with waiting for sales. I STILL do not own a credit card. I haven’t for 3 years now! Well, technically I have a corporate card. But I don’t view that as mine and I don’t get to use it for personal expenses. I buy groceries in bulk at Costco. I eat most of my meals at home (or at Ray’s home). I gas up ONLY while on the Missouri side of the city. I bought a car with cash…and then subsequently took out a deer with it and had to buy another car with cash. *sigh* (That’s for another day and another post!)

I still have my indulgences…I drink wine and get a massage once a month. I like to go see a movie with friends. I drink wine. Oh…did I already mention that? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I get to do those things though only if they are in the budget. And I make sure they are in the budget!

This is not an overnight process. I have good months and bad months. I have days that I curse Dave Ramsey. I have days that I praise the habits I’ve developed. I still have what I’m hoping is another 18 months of paying off my debt.

And I’m happy to say I’m officially halfway there!

$25,133.64 as of this morning on Sallie’s website.

Her days are numbered!

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