Get Your Money Right: Debt Free Journey

I unapologetically leaped into my debt free journey almost three years ago. I was extremely naive to how long of a process it would be and the amount of discipline it would take it. At first, I thought it was just about paying off your debts and boom you’re free. I didn’t take into account the staying debt free part and thus it has been a winding adventure as I have been trying to search far and wide for all the information on debt.

As majority of others, I didn't learn anything about credit, debt or money growing up. Public schools don't teach about money management and my parents still are learning themselves. It seems that in America most people learn about handling money through trial and error. That’s exactly what has lead me to this path.

In college, I moved off campus my second semester of freshman year. At 18 years old I went from carefree living to an abundance of bills. Credit card offers started rolling in and of course I took the bait and applied to six or so. Firstly, I didn't know anything about credit so I took a major hit on my score. Secondly, I got approved for a student card that had a ridiculous APR rate. Keep in mind, I was applying for a credit card without a job. The plan for this credit card was to use it to buy a new laptop for school, which I did along with a bunch of other stuff. At one point, I was living off of this credit card. I had just started a serving job but I was broke! I remember the last $10 I had to my name was on this credit card and it would take me to the max limit. I ordered a small pizza and maxed out my card. Once I started making more money as a waitress, I made minimum payments and of course it didn't go anywhere.

Fast forward a few years, I started taking my credit and debt seriously. I ended up paying off my credit card and managed to save around $10,000 in a years time. Then, life happened again. I got another credit card and my job at the time was not paying me enough to keep up with my bills. I ended up spiraling down the debt rabbit hole once again. This is where I realized that getting debt free is the easy part but STAYING debt free is where the true discipline takes place.

Through this journey, I have learned a lot about myself and my money management skills. If you are on a debt free journey here are somethings that I have personally learned:

Get Clear

This is the most difficult part for me as I am still in the learning process. However, you need to get clear on what you owe and what bills you actually have. I have made the mistake of signing up for a ton of little subscriptions that eventually add up to a large sum of money. You want to know how much you owe on your debts and what the interest rate is. The higher the interest rate the more that you will pay in the long run. Knowing this information will assist you in knowing how much of your payments are going towards the principle vs interest.

Ask for help

Now, your parents may not be willing to pay off your debts but, there are ways to find assistance. A lot of credit card companies have programs set up that will lower your APR rate for a few months or even a year in order to help you pay off your cards. Student loans have a ton of different forgiveness programs. You just have to take the initiative to figure out what you need help with and taking the action to get the assistance.

You can’t just wing it

Ridding yourself of debt and never obtaining it again takes intention. You need a plan to successfully live a debt free life. Make yourself a budget and actually use said budget. If you don't know how to make a budget find or hire someone who does. You have to be intentional with how you spend your money. Poor stay poor because they have no idea where their money is going.

I am a few years in on this journey and I am still learning. I know that I want a life full of freedom and don't want to be bogged down with bills. The older we get the more bills we tend to accumulate due to trying live this American Dream. Don't get caught up in chasing things in life, you should always chase after experiences. The Jones next door don't care what kind of car you drive and if they do they need to find better hobbies. Stop being a consumer, get intentional on how you spend your money. I hope these tips have been helpful to you. Good luck on your journey!