You know everyone thinks I’m crazy right?
At 26 years old and finally getting into the groove of working a full time job after college, I should be living it up right now.
Traveling like I got my own jet keys. Shopping to slay my next Instagram pose.
But here I am, sitting in my aunt and uncle’s house, analyzing how every penny will knock the crap out my $80K debt loan.
$86,411.27 to be exact.
When I started to be open about how I was finally tackling this debt, of course I was hit with fake smiles and a dry “Oh, that’s awesome.” But I knew. I knew I was being judged as extreme, the most, or honestly not very realistic.
Because realistically, everybody and they mama has debt.
And being debt-free may be a cute idea, but it’s more important to live life. As least that’s what they say right?
But these people didn’t know my story. They didn’t know about the time I came home to my family sitting in the dark because we couldn’t pay the light bill. Or the pride I fought as I begged my friend to borrow money so that I could move to Las Vegas.
I hated that “I’m broke” and “I can’t afford it” became a fluent language for me.
So I didn’t wake up one day and decide I wanted to trade my social life to be a lit hermit crab. Unfortunately, I had to go through some of the biggest breakdowns in my new adult life. Snot included. (Oh, don’t you judge me).
Why I Decided to Commit to Being Debt-Free
In 2016, I sobbed on the phone like a baby while my best friend silently listened on the other end. I had just gotten off the phone with my mother who was simply worn out from fighting to stay afloat. And I wasn’t much better off.
Even with a rent payment of $845 (super fire for a one bedroom in Vegas by the way) and slaving at a second job, I was drowning in credit cards, student loans, utility payments that I forgot to pay and completely lost as to where the little money I had was going.
I’ll be straight up with you, I caused a lot of this.
I suffered from the sunken place of emotional spending, running to things when I felt myself drift into my most vulnerable and sad places (I thought we wasn’t judging?).
But I also realized that a lot of the decisions I was making was based off of my family’s struggles. Years of it.
The motto was that if we didn’t have it, we borrowed it.
So that’s what I did. With advice from my mom, I became the master at increasing credit limits. With talks from my stepdad (I call him Dad), I learned to avoid student loan collectors at all costs.
I knew that they didn’t mean to taint my view on how money worked in our lives. But out of their own desperation for survival, they looked at loans and credit as the only option to make it.
But hearing my mom’s frequent distressed voice over the phone and knowing I was thousands of miles away broke me into what would finally be enough.
Money caused pain. It tore my family apart. Money kept us all stuck in sucky situations.
Helpless and fed up, I came face to face with the green boogey man that had been following me and my family like a shadow. From the unemployment to heavy silence at the dinner table, money was always there.
I wanted to know what wealth felt like. I was tired of being envious of people who I viewed as better off than me and my family.
I can’t imagine what my friend was thinking on the phone that day because I was as low and raggedy as I could get. With determination and love that goes far beyond friendship, she sent me Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and I made a promise that I would seek habits that would change my life forever.
My Journey from $7,500 to $0 in Credit Card Loans
My first and biggest step was to kill these credit cards that I had used up to capacity since college.
As I made a lot of the sacrifices and created a real plan, I began to see the debt come down and FAST.
Read more about the process I took here.
This instantly brought my credit score up. I mean look at the difference in a year’s time:
Now On To The Big Fella
So for the rest of the year I will be focusing solely on my smallest student loan which is $15,000.
Splitting that money between 8 months (May-December), I realized that I would need an extra $600 each paycheck (on top of the debt snowball) to get this out of the way.
I have been hustling like a child of Rick Ross, ya’ll. From freelance writing to picking up an extra job at Michael Kors, I’m started to become so creative in the ways I make money to reach that $600 goal.
And when you give yourself no other option but to succeed, that creativity tends to come out in ways that may surprise you.
Now I won’t lie to you, it sucks. BAD.
But the discipline and mental victories that I am winning against my bad habits are setting me up for life. I’m trying to be completely debt-free before my 30th birthday in four years.
My Plans With The Glow Up
Because of the ridiculously amazing response from my post on becoming debt-free, I realized that money was just as taboo as sex or weight gain. It was the big elephant in the room that you knew most people struggled with behind closed doors but wouldn’t DARE say so out loud.
Especially because we have to make sure our friends believe the lie that our post-grad life is poppin.
It ain’t though. It fizzed out a long time ago and is flat and passionless.
SO, I have decided to transition TGU into becoming a 20-something’s money and life survival guide. I realized on this journey that if we burn the binding contract that we have with debt we can begin to take risks and really run towards what we were created to do.
But don’t expect me to be in a suit and kitten heels (Issa no for me dog). We will still discuss that realness. We will still be litty. Because quite honestly there isn’t a resource that makes money cool for people like you and I. And I still have so many stories and lessons that I need to unload on you.
Can I be honest?
I’m scared. The girl who struggles with money is going to teach others about money? Well that’s dumb.
But I am so passionate about this ya’ll. I’m ready for us to be millionaires by 35 and doing all the things we’ve secretly wanted to.
I’m thankful for the struggle. I’m thankful for my parents’ sacrifices. I’m thankful that this hasn’t been easy.
So I’ll leave you with this quote that totally rocks my world:
“Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.”
– Nelson Mandela
Are you ready to afford your dream life? I know I am.
Tell me your biggest struggle with money in the comments and let’s get debt-free, homies.
You got this, we got this. Let’s glow.