When my wife and I got married six years ago, we were living paycheck to paycheck. I was working three jobs, seven days a week, to support us and two step kids. Over time, I racked up nearly $50K in debt, and it caused depression, anxiety, stress, and marital fights about money. There were days I couldn’t concentrate at work because I was so worried about how I was going to pay the bills.
I decided to get rid of my debt when my mom died of cancer in October 2019. I felt extreme regret about the fact that I couldn’t afford to see her more often when she was sick. So in May 2020, I started using Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball Strategy. I ordered my debts from smallest to largest and paid them off starting with the smallest one. I also paid the minimum on the larger ones. To accelerate the payoffs, I sold golf clubs and gym equipment in excess of $2,000, and I committed to putting at least $1,500 a month toward debt by cutting back on non-essentials like meals out, golf (I played weekly), and cable. In the first 6 months, I reduced my debt by $22,851. I still have $26,817 to go, but my credit score has increased by 100 points. Confronting how much debt I had and regaining control of my personal finances has greatly increased my confidence. I’ve come to realize that I shouldn’t beat myself up about being in debt or be embarrassed, because I can’t change the past. All I can do is strive to do better moving forward.
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