The Beginning. Such a broad term that it is hard to even pinpoint where my beginning is. But I’m going to try to take a crack at it and show y’all where my journey to debt freedom began, and maybe help you realize how similar my circumstances are to many others.
There were so many times that I told myself, it’s time to get out of debt. For three years in a row, my New Year’s Resolution was to become debt free that year. And every year I had a plan to make it happen, the numbers all crunched, and the determination to make it happen.
So what happened? Why, when all the numbers lined up, did I find myself repeating the same goal, year after year?
Self-Discipline (or lack of it, shall I say). I could say unexpected circumstances was the cause, because I certainly had a few of those. Or income changes, because we went through our fair share of those as well. But the real reason that I remained in debt year after year was my lack of burning drive to get out of it.
See, I believe that the difference between people who accomplish their goals and those who don’t (most people) is the determination that no matter what happens, they will achieve that goal. That may sound simply put, but most of the time this is the only distinction between the two people.
The first time I decided to get out of debt, I did really well the first few months. I was throwing every extra dollar at my debt mountain, and really seeing some numbers come down. My favorite thing about payday was calculating how much money I had left-over to pay off debt after all my bills, and throwing everything else onto one of my credit cards.
What erased all of my progress is when I would decide I just had to have something that I truly couldn’t afford at the moment. I often justified the fact that I could buy it now, and pay it off before my zero percent financing was up on my credit card when the year was over.
I financed everything from my wedding dress, to a new Smart TV for my fiance, to our xBox, our lawnmower, and tons more. Basically, if it was a big purchase, I financed it.
And most of the time I did actually have the item paid off before the interest charges started coming in. But the fact is, I was still racking up debt that entire time I was buying everything I wanted. I didn’t have enough self-discipline to tell myself no, and either save up for those nice new purchases, or buy used for a much more affordable deal.
Basically, for every dollar that I paid down my debt, I was adding another dollar back to it. At the end of each year I would evaluate how much debt I’d paid off during that entire year, and where I stood then. And each year, that number was almost exactly the same.
So here I am again. June of 2016, pledging to get out of debt for good this time. I made this same pledge only half a year ago, and our debt mountain hasn’t gotten any smaller since.
But this time, it’s different. This time, I have accountability (you guys!) This time, I have determined to finally stop using credit cards for good, and to learn the art of delayed gratification. This time, I’ve determined to do whatever it takes to get out of this debt-mess we’ve created.
I know that I am up for the challenge. I am excited to see myself accomplish this, and I can look forward to the feeling of freedom I will have when I don’t owe a single credit card company a dime!
If you’ve ever struggled with getting out of debt, vowing to start but finding yourself stuck in the same place again and again, please know that you are not alone. I believe we can do this together and actually make it happen this time! Who’s with me?