Today, I want to embrace an important milestone in my life. One that, I hope, others are also beginning to experience. Especially my fellow 30somethings hollllaaaaa’ ::FISTBUMP:: who are moving forward in their careers and making a name for themselves.
Today, on this seemingly ordinary day in March, I have left behind “thousands of credit card debt” and have run with open arms into the warm embrace of “hundreds of credit card debt.” If you want an exact amount the running total is $999 … that’s almost $8K paid off.
That, my friends, is a huge psychological boost. While my C.C. debt has gone up and down over the years it’s been so, so long since it has fallen into the hundreds. And even then, it was never paid off. But this time it’s different. One shackle has been destroyed and a few others are so loose they are practically falling off.
But Kassie, you still have ‘thousands’ of dollars with your student loans to pay off….
YES. Yes, I do. Paying off debt is not quick ; it’s a long-term process. My student loans will be paid off in increments over the next few months and years. However my credit card debt is no longer a wild, out-of-control monstrosity. My creation obeys me.
It’s nine hundred and ninety-nine because that’s what I told it to be. I’m the ring-master and $ 999 is waiting for its next command. And in just two short months it will perform its final show. Happily, 999 is not expected to survive. The only thing more beautiful than $ 999 is its distant cousin: $ 0.00.
But $ 999 isn’t just about finding and asserting control it is also about patience. And forgiveness. $ 999 provided much needed insight.
Kassie, did your partner help pay off your debt?
Hell no. We’re both dealing with our debts separately. Although don’t get me wrong … this is still a team effort.
Since becoming an expat in Britain both of our careers have grown by leaps and bounds. But while our careers have grown up, strong and beautiful, our finances have withered, stunted and deformed, caused by debt accumulation. It’s not even like we’ve been reckless, heck, we’re still driving an old beater Volvo. But life just has a way of catching-up. There were occasions where we fell into the classic, “well, let’s just put it on the credit card” and overspent. In all honesty, the majority of my credit card debt came from being unemployed for almost a year.
But now we’re looking forward to our life together. $ 999 allowed me to understand that a good partner is one who supports you when making the unpopular decisions.
Budget planning is a jagged pill to swallow. No one likes to look like financial shit in front of anyone. We had to be completely honest and surrender. I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.
But to get it done just throw your hair into a high ponytail, put on some yoga pants, and GO for it. $ 999 taught me beauty is also measured by maturity.
Drawing up schematics doesn’t have to be fancy. I used paper, pen, and a calendar. But having a plan is crucial. We have a white board hanging next to our door where we write all monthly expenses, and subtract from our own respective budgets, to keep an eye on our spending habits. I’m now being held accountable for my actions.
The hardest part is sticking to a budget, so $ 999 provided instructions in how to honor patience. Here is where social media can be a hindrance. It’s so easy to compare our lives. Especially people who are purchasing everything under the sun, going on trips, showing off wads of cash. I’ve broken down and cried, stamped my foot, left in a huff, and done so many other ridiculous, immature things. Yes, indeed, some are blessed to have a debt-free lifestyle, but $ 999 has gently reminded me that chances are many are also swimming in their own debts. How would I know otherwise?
$ 999 knows its time is limited but it’s okay with that. You know why? Because it’s just a fucking number that means nothing to itself but everything to me. The smaller it gets, the bigger my smile.
So, what’s my point? My message is for anyone struggling with their own debt to start small. Find your happy place. But above anything else, start paying it off NOW. Waiting just delays the inevitable.
I’ve ticked my $ 999 box towards freedom. I can’t wait to meet sexy $ 0.00.