September 21, 2016

Hey everyone! We have a great dear debt letter from Monica. Monica took on student loans for college, but didn’t find the career job that she had hoped for afterward. Instead, she flipped burgers for minimum wage, while living with her parents and taking care of her baby. Eventually, she would find the job she had been waiting for as an accounting clerk, and is now living with her fiancé and their daughter. While they both work in their fields, they are struggling with car payments, credit card debt, and student loan payments in order to move out into a home of their own. But today, she is taking a stand against debt. 

 


 

Dear Debt,

When I imagined my life at 30, I expected living in my own place, married, maybe a kid or two. I did not imagine living with my mother in law who is NOT my biggest fan because I couldn’t buy a house. I did not imagine dreading payday because all it means to me is sitting at my dining room table writing checks.

I did not imagine having to decide between buying that yogurt my daughter loves like most women love chocolate, and buying an extra loaf of bread so I could make enough sandwiches for my work lunches.

I never wanted to be that mom that says “I can’t take you to the zoo because I don’t have the money,” but here we are. I pay my bills, but it always feels like a pinch, and with vision therapy starting, it’s only going to get tighter.

I knew that going in, but how do you tell your child, “you’re going to have to have a lazy eye forever because we can’t afford to pay for the therapy that could fix it”? You don’t. You grit your teeth, cut your spending wherever you can, and you make it work.

I’ve grown tired of you over a long period of time, but this is the last straw. I’ve cried myself to sleep too many nights. I’ve fought with the love of my life more times than I care to admit over you. I’ve found myself wishing I’d have a heart attack and die so my life insurance could pay you off and give my family a fresh start.  Nothing in life is worth me wanting to die just to get rid of it, and that includes you.

I’ve been through unemployment, abuse, and being a single parent. I’ve been though anorexia and suicidal tendencies. If I’ve survived all of that, I can survive you. I will survive you. I guess I just needed to hear myself say it.

I’m taking a crazy step to make this happen. It won’t be be today or tomorrow, but one day I’m finally going to give you the swift kick in the butt you deserve. And I’m not coming back. I’m going to have my off days when I’m not sure of myself. I’m going to have days when I’ll scream into my pillow. But I will not quit. I will survive you.

Packing my emotional bags,

Monica

This post is in: dear debt letter

When my friend Jason Vitug asked me to speak for the Road to Financial Wellness, more than anything I wanted to say “No.”

I was full of excuses.

I don’t have experience as a speaker.

I’m too busy.

I’ve worked behind the scenes on the road, not in the spotlight.

Saying Yes

But I also didn’t want to be lame, so I said “Yes” instead. And I am so glad I worked through my fear and did it! I now want to pursue more speaking opportunities to share my story and inspire others to get out of debt.

Though I have a theatre background, I haven’t been in the spotlight with just me up there for more than a few minutes at a time, so this was definitely a bit out of my comfort zone.

But it was a great way to connect with others and tell my story in a new way. Also, it was like a homecoming.

Some of you may know that I’ve helped out with the Road to Financial Wellness for the past two years. I’ve been inspired by the mission and love helping Jason make this project happen. I helped organize the NYC event, the Chicago event and am planning the San Diego finale this week.

So it was a nice change to be on the other side of the stage. I am so grateful for this opportunity.

My friend Patrice Washington recorded me. It’s funny, I told her not to record it, because I was too scared. But since she knew it was my first public speaking gig she thought it would be good so I could get feedback. It’s nice when friends do what is best for you, even when you’re scared and just want to say no.

So, I’m getting out of my comfort zone even more and posted this on YouTube. We all have to start somewhere right? I hope you enjoy the video and it inspires you to get out of debt.

P.S. I’ll be in San Diego this week at FinCon. If you see me, say hi!

This post is in: debt

September 10, 2016

This blog post is part of the World Suicide Prevention Day blog tour. If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit www.Suicide.org

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“I don’t know how I can go on with all of this debt.”

“I’m worth more dead than I am alive.”

“I’m so stressed out, I’d rather die than deal with this debt.”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve received numerous emails from people searching “I want to kill myself because of debt” and finding my blog. Some I never hear from, some leave comments, and some send me emails.

I spent a portion of my vacation in Italy responding to someone who was getting hounded by creditors and wanted to absolve his family of the shame of being in debt. Last Christmas Eve and Thanksgiving I responded to more emails as well. During the holidays, I see a spike in traffic.

I answer every single email, no matter what day or time it is. It doesn’t get any easier to get these emails. My heart still hurts and I want to help. But why do I care? Because it’s personal.

My relationship with suicide

I will never meet my maternal grandfather. I know him vaguely through photos and stories, but mostly I know him because what he did.

He committed suicide when my mother was five years old, leaving my grandma alone to raise six kids. Though I am happy to report that my mother and her siblings have become happy, healthy adults, this one event is a stain on our family history.

There’s an emptiness. A hole. A branch of the family tree, abruptly cut off. We try to grow branches on our own, but come up short.

Aside from that, I had my own issues with suicide as a teenager. I was a depressed, awkward teenager and had trouble finding my place in the world. A puzzle piece that didn’t fit.

Through pills and razors, I flirted with ending it all. It would be easier that way. Or so I thought. One of the toughest conversations I’ve ever had was telling my parents how I felt. I could see the horror on my mom’s face, as she contemplated the potential of losing not only her father, but also her daughter to suicide.

I got the help I needed and got better. But even though I recovered from my suicidal feelings, depression has been a major character in the play of my life.

When I was deep in debt a few years ago, some of the thoughts came back. “It would be easier to end it all.”

Paying off debt felt so enormous. I felt trapped, stuck, and mostly ashamed of getting myself into this situation.

But I realized that killing myself over debt wasn’t worth it. It’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Back to counseling I went and ultimately I created a plan to get out of debt.

I started this blog as a lifeboat. I began to side hustle. I chose to believe that my only option was to get out of debt. And I made it happen.

What to do if you’re feeling suicidal because of debt

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal because of debt, first let me tell you, you are not alone. You are not a loan. You are not crazy, you do not “deserve this” and you can overcome this.

I know how hopeless everything feels. The weight of debt is strong and the world looks bleak. Any ray of hope is hard to find. Your life feels like it’s controlled by something else. You feel an inner turmoil so deep, it’s hard to put into words.

But if you are really feeling hopeless because of debt, here’s what you can do:

1. Talk to your creditors. Can you lower your payments? Lower your interest rate? Go on temporary deferment? If your debt is causing you financial stress and you are unable to pay, talk to your creditors first.

2. Consider a debt management plan. There are nonprofit credit counseling agencies out there that can work with you to help you pay off debt. Make sure it’s a legit company. It could help.

3. Is bankruptcy or student loan forgiveness an option? I am NOT a financial planner, so I am not recommending these options but, they are something you should look into. I literally had someone tell me bankruptcy would be worse than death because of the shame. But I know several people who have filed bankruptcy, and they have moved on to have happy, productive lives. Your life isn’t over. Will it be tough? You bet. But it’s not over. Also, there are student loan forgiveness options for federal student loans through an income-driven plan or through Public Service Loan Forgiveness. If you have medical debt, call your lender and see if you can negotiate a payment plan or get some forgiven. As I mentioned in my book, I got an ER visit completely covered when I was uninsured.

4. Talk to a counselor. When I was deep in debt, finding myself in tears every day I went to therapy. There is NO shame in therapy. I honestly think everyone should go to therapy. Why? We all need a non-biased third party to help us see things differently. Our friends and family can help, but having someone else to talk to can offer a new perspective. I couldn’t afford traditional therapy, so I went to the local graduate school and got low-cost counseling. I was able to negotiate the sessions to $5 as I was on food stamps. Look for help at your church, graduate schools, community centers, and more.

5. Realize you are not your debt. For so long, I hated myself because of my debt. It represented all my mistakes. It represented the past that I was trying to move on from. The number consumed me with shame and guilt. Then one day, I realized I am not my debt. With or without debt, I am still a good person. It’s important to separate yourself and realize there’s more to life than this one number. And it’s important to enjoy your life now, even with debt on your shoulders.

“We have to connect with a new story and a new sense of self. We need to feel grounded in our life today, not waiting until the debt is paid off to start living.” says financial therapist Amanda Clayman.

Debt affects us in many ways — but it doesn’t have to be forever

Debt can feel all-consuming and take over our lives, affecting us in numerous ways.

“Living under the burden of debt affects us in numerous ways. We can break these down into regret, feeling trapped, and feeling like “our real life” is out of reach because of our financial obligations,” says Clayman.

It feels like we are working only to pay off debt, so what is the point? The point is to conquer debt and continue to live your life. Realize that life goes on and debt does not have to be forever. That with help, a plan, and a budget you can overcome this difficult period.

It’s important to remember, you are not alone. You are not a loan. Debt is NOT a death sentence.

Seek help, reach out, and don’t suffer in silence.

Resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Info about Debt Management Plans

Info about bankruptcy

Directory for low-cost counseling

Suicide Forum

 

This post is in: debt

Hey everyone! Today, we have a great dear debt letter from W. Like many millennials who set their sights on graduating from college, the monetary cost of that milestone was not lost on W*. In total, she accumulated $65k in student loan debt. However, even as a quintessential product of the lower-middle class X-Generation, W* figured out soon after graduation that the typical path was not for her, and she is now well on her way to financial freedom and extremely early retirement. W and their marital partner K blog about their journey at Financially Free Millennials.

—–

Dear Student Loan #1,

This may be a little blunt, but WOW! It’s unapologetically GREAT to see you go!

For the past 7 years, you have – frankly – been a huge burden. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but seriously…

Like, at first, having you around was amazing. I’ll never forget the day I met you. You were a big, fat check made out to ME…in the amount of $25,600. I had never felt so…worthy (or wealthy). I felt like it was the beginning of something great.

And it was great…for a while. You helped me pay for a year of college, my apartment, food that wasn’t Top Ramen or yogurt. You bought me a DSLR, which helped me progress my passion for photography. You even helped my parents pay off their car!

But then something changed.

See, when we first met, I still had my rose colored glasses on. I had a lust for you…for what you could buy me (and others)…for getting me out of jobs…for getting me through school.

What I didn’t realize, is that it all came with a price. And the moment I realized that, it was like a light turned on, and it was the beginning of the end for you.

For the next five years or so, you hung around like an awkward friend. I admit, I should have been upfront with you from the beginning. But part of me wanted to hang on, to relish in what we once had. I was being selfish.

But today is the day. There’s really no reason to keep you around any longer. You have put me through enough frustration, anger, sadness, and resentment to last a lifetime. You’ve also hindered me financially.

I won’t discredit you entirely, though. A lot of good came out of this relationship. You taught me to become accountable and responsible. You taught me dedication. The best take-away, however, was how my mind was widened enough to see through the bullshit game that “money” really is. You’ve given me the motivation to beat the system, to become my own boss, to reclaim 100% of my time, and to become location independent. And for that lesson, I am eternally grateful!

So let’s leave this on a high note. Thank you for the experiences and lessons, Student Loan #1.

Goodbye.

This post is in: dear debt letter

Hello everyone! Today, we have a great dear debt letter from Sam. Sam graduated in May of 2013 from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with roughly $25000 of debt. Living at home for a year allowed her to nearly cut that amount in half, but once she moved out, Sam developed a few bad habits and managed to rack up a grand total of $35,000 between her student loans, credit card debt, a car loan, and a personal loan from her parents. She was able to get the total down to $23,800 at the start of 2016, and is trying to knock out the last $10700 before the beginning of 2017. Follow Sam and her experiences on her blog.


Dear Debt,

I like to think I’ve handled you better than most, but I know that our relationship is more one-sided than I’d like it to be. Though now I can’t wait to get rid of you, I still remember the times when I was so grateful for you and your help. I know that without you I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Because of you, Debt, I was able to continue my education when my parents had to give me some tough love my freshman year of college. You allowed me to realize that I hadn’t ruined my life, just learned a lesson the hard way, and because of that, I was able to forgive myself. After my first year back at school, though, I forgot a bit about the price I had to pay to be in your favor, and so I kept our abusive friendship.

Debt, even though I had three jobs in college, I used YOU to fund my drinking, my wants AND my needs, thinking that it was enough to use my income from my jobs for schooling. I was being mostly good — that counted, right? I knew that there was a (literal) price to pay to being friendly with you, Debt, but at the same time, that was FUTURE Sam’s problem, not present Sam’s, and so I ignored the negatives and only enjoyed your positives.

I know I am luckier than most people who graduated with me. I only had about $25,000 of debt, which, compared to others, is not much. The first year out of college, I had a job where I earned commission and I did very well. Couple that with living with my parents, and I was ready to start attacking you.

My parents always taught me to save a chunk of my paycheck, spend a small amount, and use the rest to pay off my loan. Sure I could pay it off in 20 years, but why accrue the interest? They told me that the sooner I paid you off, the better my life would be. So I did. I was putting over $1000 towards you every month. I had the idea that I would pay you off in less than two years.

But I didn’t, obviously. I was commuting over an hour and a half one way to work, and you knew the drive was killing me AND my car. So you helped me come up with a plan to move closer to work. My best friend had a similar idea, and we ended up moving in together in a nicer neighborhood, closer to both of our jobs.

Splitting the costs of housing and cutting down on transportation should make it cheaper, shouldn’t it? Technically yes, but it was around this time that I started developing bad habits. Bad habits like drinking more out of college than I did in college. Bad habits like getting drunk and buying lots of things off of Amazon (I both love and hate you, Prime). Bad habits like eating out for lunch EVERY DAY (Gasp! Such a no-no). You funded all of this, Debt. You allowed me to live above my means and yet hide the truth from everyone.

So even tho I had reduced you originally, Debt, before moving out of my parents by almost half, I managed to get seduced by you in a worse way – high interest credit card debt. Originally, I was racking up my credit card balance, but still paying it off in full every month. Eventually, it caught up to me and went to the point where I was carrying a balance. Instead of trying to pay off the balance, I started ignoring it. Long story short, I ended up with over $8000 of credit card debt. Couple this with my 2003 Dodge Neon dying randomly (RIP Thundercat), I had to find a way to get a new car.

Having stupidly assumed that my old car would die after I had saved enough for a new car (and without actually saving anything for a new car), I was in a bad position. I made sure to always have at least $1000 in both my checking and savings account, but I wasn’t trying to drain all of my accounts. So I had to awkwardly ask my parents to help me. Which, since they are amazing, they did. But that left me with $5000 that I owed them on top of the $14500 on my car.

This was my wake up call, Debt. I realized that you were controlling me, not the other way around. You had grown too much for me to handle on my own. I was so embarrassed, Debt. I was living like a fraud, making more than I thought I would two years out of college, and yet it wasn’t enough.

I started taking action to paying you down, never once telling my roommate, boyfriend, or even my parents how bad you have gotten. I think if I did, they might have helped, but at the same time, I didn’t want their judgement. I got myself into this mess, and I knew I could get myself out. And it’s that belief in myself that has gotten me this far.

At the beginning of 2016, I owed $23500ish between my student loan, credit card debt, car loan, and the loan from my parents. As of today, both the student loan and credit card debt are gone, and I have about $9000 left on my car and about $3000 to my parents.

I’m not as far as I wanted to be at this point in the year, but I’m determined to end our relationship, Debt. You keep trying to draw me back, but I’m smarter this time. I have a plan. I know how much I need to dedicate to you per paycheck to be rid of you. I don’t need you anymore, and I don’t intend on seeing you again once 2017 starts.

Bye forever,

Sam

This post is in: dear debt letter

After many months, I have an exciting announcement: MY BOOK IS HERE! Can you believe it? If you would have told me three years ago when I started this blog that it would lead to a book deal, I’d laugh in your face.

I am really excited to share my baby with the world and hope it inspires people to dump debt and take control of their finances.

Instead of just mentioning my book, I thought I’d share the five best books to help you get out of debt. Sometimes you need a little extra guidance so here are some of my favorite resources to help you pay down debt and get your money in order. (p.s. these are affiliate links and I’ll make a small commission if you purchase something, which helps support Dear Debt)

1. Dear Debt: A Story About Breaking Up with Debt

Okay, so shameless plug here but I do think my book is one of the best books to help you get out of debt. Why?

I paid off $81,000 in student loans. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m proof it can be done. The book chronicles my journey of getting into debt and how I managed to get out of it after struggling with low-paying jobs, making $10-$12 per hour after graduation.

The book is part memoir, part actionable advice and every chapter ends with a dear debt letter! I was so excited because I was able to share some of the killer letters that others have written in the book!

If you’re looking for inspiration, motivation, and actionable advice on paying off debt, cutting back, and earning more, my book is for you.  And remember…you are not a loan. You are not alone.

2. Hustle Away Debt

You guys know I’m all about the side hustle. Side hustling pretty much changed my life and helped me get out of debt. Not only that, it led to a new career.

Everything you want to know about side hustles is in Hustle Away Debt by David Carlson. He shows you how you can pay down your debt using side hustles and provides guidance on how to find the best hustle for your lifestyle, how to fit it into your schedule, and how to make real money at it. This is an essential guide if you’re looking to earn more!

3. You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life

I can’t tell you how proud I am of my boy Jason Vitug! Jason wrote You Only Live Once (YOLO — get it?) to help inspire millennials to get purposeful about their money. Throughout the book Jason shares his personal story and experience and discusses the importance of knowing your money why.

Once you understand your money why and how it can serve you, Jason hands you the tools you need to reach it in this book. For Vitug, it’s all about using your money to take you to the next level. He teaches you how to take control of your money through budgeting and strategic savings. With your money under control, you can move toward reaching your bigger purpose.

The 5 Best Books to Help You Get Out of Debt (And My Big Book Announcement)

4. The Recovering Spender: How to Live a Happy, Fulfilled, Debt-Free Life

Ok, this book isn’t even out yet, but I’m excited to read it. With a tagline like “how to live a happy, fulfilled, debt-free life” how could you go wrong? I’m putting this on the list as I know several blogger friends who’ve gotten a sneak peek at the book and they’re raving about it. Also, Lauren is just cool.

Lauren Greutman speaks from her own experience with credit card debt and chronic overspending in this book. Using her personal story of financial recovery ($40,000 in debt, and an underwater mortgage) and its effect on her marriage, she shares the steps she took to get her money into shape, and stop the overspending. You can pre-order now! 

5. Your Money or Your Life

Early on in my personal finance journey, I read Your Money or Your Life, considered one of the personal finance Bibles. This book has endured and stayed relevant for over twenty years. Vicki Robinson and Joe Dominguez focus heavily on finding satisfaction and peace with both your money, and your contribution to the world.

They believe your money should be a tool to bringing happiness into every area of your life. With their big picture approach, this book is about radically shifting your thought process surrounding your money, and the direction of your life.

Some of the things I got out of the book include looking at your after-tax salary and what you really take home and also quantifying purchases in hours worked. For example, a purchase isn’t just $20. It’s trading one hour of your life to make $20, to afford that purchase. This book can really shift your thinking when it comes to spending and money management!

Have you read any of these books? Any others you’d recommend? 

Image courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo

This post is in: debt, side hustle

August 10, 2016

Hey debt fighters! I hope this election season, you’ll be rocking the vote. Nevermind that it’s a political circus.

However, you can rock the vote before November. If you’re a lover of all things personal finance, you can vote for your favorite bloggers, podcasters, authors, writers and more with the Plutus award.

I won Best Debt blog last year, which was amazing! And you know what? My publisher for my book (which will be released soon — check my Instagram) contacted me the day after I won and said they found me through my blog and the Plutus awards. So, this isn’t “just an award”. It could lead to opportunities!

I’m also on the voting panel this year and want to see some amazing things happen for others this year! You have until August 15th to vote! You don’t have to be a blogger to vote, so don’t let that intimidate you. Here’s the link for voting.

Secondly, I wanted to let you know that FinCon is offering a scholarship! FinCon is the financial bloggers conference that pretty much changed my life. I quit my job in July 2014 and went to FinCon in September 2014. I’ve gotten so many clients from FinCon and have made such important friendships.

If you’re a new blogger (January 2015 or later) and you haven’t registered to attend FinCon, apply for a scholarship by August 15. I’d love to see you there! Apply here. 

Anyway, wanted to share these opportunities, but expect cool updates from me soon!

This post is in: FinCon

Hey everyone, we have an awesome dear debt letter from Taberah Joy, aka Pixie. Pixie wears many hats and is a self-proclaimed slasher – a lawyer/writer/energy healer/tutor/actor/director. She is working to pay off $50,000 and hopes that all those slashes can one day build a bridge to her financial freedom.

Dear Debt,

I don’t know where to begin. I am thankful for you in so many ways. As I am thankful to all my creditors who gave me housing and food, very essential things in life. I am thankful that you allowed me to live my life my way. I am thankful that I didn’t stay in any relationship because I was dependent on the other person’s money. You know who I am talking about.

You have been so very good to me. I am amazed at how I can now talk about us without shame, without fear, and without too much judgment. I come from a “cash on the barrel head” culture. A culture where my parents paid cash for all of their cars, and my grandparents paid cash for their house.

So getting involved with you was a risk, a taboo. And you know what a rebel I am. If someone tells me not to do something, the teenage me just goes ahead and does it.

You were there for me when I wasn’t sure of myself, when I didn’t know if I could do this thing called life by myself. You said I could. And I believe you. I believe you now.

Debt my darling I believe it’s time that we part. You have been such an integral part of my life. It is difficult to leave you. It’s difficult to do this thing on my own. But because you supported me, I know that I will make it. I know that I am resourceful. I know that the universe provides.

Thank you for everything. I know you will get along without me just fine. There are others who need you more than I do now. Go be with them. Comfort them. Instill them with confidence, with reassurance that life works out if you show up.

With much love and many thanks,

Pixie

This post is in: dear debt letter

I look at the date, and I can’t believe my eyes. How is it almost August? How have I not blogged in one month? A first for Dear Debt. I don’t know exactly where all the time went, but it was spent working, a lot.

I remember feverishly working all fourth of July weekend to meet my deadlines. The downside of being your own boss is that holidays no longer matter, especially if you want the money to keep rolling in (but I also find it a great time to work as my inbox is quiet).

Shortly thereafter, I went to Chicago for a work trip. For a period of four days, I had anywhere between one and five hours of sleep. While I was there for event work, the writing work didn’t stop and I was trying to manage everything in a clumsy juggling act, hoping to not drop the ball.

Because I’m no longer 21, but rather 31, this extreme lack of sleep and overwork seriously took a toll on my mental and physical health. I felt wrecked.

I am finally feeling recovered two weeks later, but I’m in my busy season writing a lot, preparing for events at FinCon and acting as project manager for the Road to Financial Wellness. Oh, and I’m looking at my final edits for my book.

Holy cow! When I step outside of myself for a moment, I can hardly believe all that has happened. This little old blog of mine has led to a rewarding writing and event planning career. Winning best debt blog at the Plutus awards led to a book contract.

Dreams vs. Reality

In my wildest dreams, I would have never thought any of this would happen. But as I celebrate my two-year quitiversary, I realize that having all of your dreams come true is so much different in your head than it is in reality.

In your dreams, you imagine all of the good stuff, without any thought to the bad. In reality, having your dreams come true is much sweeter — but also ten times tougher than you think it will be.

Over the past few months, I’ve felt some major business growing pains. I’ve become intimately aware of my own scarcity mindset issues, even though I’m debt free now.

One of the main things I planned on doing once I became debt free was to slow down. I have to say that hasn’t happened at all.

Business Growing Pains

I’m busier than ever and I’m doing it alone. I’m doing it alone mostly because I’m a control freak. Even though I’ve managed people in a former nonprofit job, having people help me with administrative duties still feels so weird.

As the projects roll in, I keep saying “yes”. As a freelancer, you never know if it will be feast or famine, so I always take work when it comes my way. But I’ve realized that in my fear of missing out on work, I’ve taken on too much. For me, it’s so hard to know when is too much until you are in it and trying not to have a panic attack, while you are in a mad rush to finish projects.

In an ideal world, I want to find that Goldilocks balance of work — find what is just right. But it’s hard.

Through this bout of overwork and workaholism, I’ve neglected my blog, my relationship, and my health. I’ve pushed myself to the edge and have been scared to death looking down.

I received some honest advice from friends in Chicago, giving me a nudge to “Diva Up” and really own my dreams and not let them control me. Be the boss of my own business and not be bossed around. And sometimes that means letting go, being honest with what I can and can’t do and prioritize my needs over others.

Making Mindset Changes

It’s tough for me — just a few years ago, I was making $12 per hour and on food stamps. Letting go of my past and accepting my present, while dreaming of my future, has been confusing and tough.

I don’t want to turn down work because I never want to go back to where I used to be…struggling to find work is one of the most humiliating, awful things to experience. It makes you question everything you’ve worked hard for and, in this culture, can make you feel worthless.

Having all of my dreams come true is something I’ll never take for granted. It has pushed my boundaries and taught me so much about myself.

Currently, though, I’m going through some growing pains and trying to figure it all out and manage it all.

I keep thinking of the quote “Don’t be so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”. I think in a lot of ways I’ve failed at that. Part of it is that I still feel “new” at this even with two years under my belt…but also the two years have proved to me that I haven’t failed and my dreams came true, not my nightmares.

So for all you dreamers and doers, know that your life can change for the better and that all of your dreams can come true. Just realize that your dreams coming true probably won’t be like you imagined and that it requires an insane amount of hard work…but it’s important to stand your ground and enjoy your life or else what is the point?

I’m realizing you can create a business that leads to freedom or you can create a business that leaves you feeling trapped. I’m working more on the freedom part — which means taking some difficult next steps, letting go of perfectionism, practicing saying “no” and getting back in touch with who I am outside of work.

In the end, I realize how freaking lucky I am and I am so grateful…and I can’t wait to make things even better, so I can take care of myself…which in the end will be better for my business anyway.

This post is in: end of month update

June 24, 2016

Time is starting to become this weird mystery to me. I only really know what time or day it is because of the meetings that string the hours together, but aside from that it’s all been a blur as of late.

A few weeks ago, I went to the launch of the Road to Financial Wellness tour in New York City sponsored by Centsai. It was great to be back in my favorite city — the site where I accumulated the majority of my student loan debt.

RoadNYC

My colleague Tonya Rapley and Jason Vitug, founder of the Road to Financial Wellness

 

The event was a success, but the trip was also exhausting. Fun, but so tiring. Just days before my trip I signed a lease on a new apartment, which meant as soon as I got back from my trip my life consisted of unpacking, cleaning, and getting settled.

Road to Financial Wellness NYC

We’re mostly there and it feels so good to finally have a space of our own. I am finally feeling like we live here again and aren’t on some weird vacation.

While I’m so happy to have our own place again, this move hasn’t been cheap. Now we’re paying full-on rent (and not discounted parental rent) and getting renter’s insurance, internet, desks, etc. It’s amazing how many little things you need just to get started in a new place.

Financially it hurts, but I know I’ll just be bleeding money for a month or two and things will level out.

But then again maybe I’m being too optimistic. I’m now going to Chicago for the Road to Financial Wellness pit stop (I love my job — if you’re in the area sign-up!) in July, going to Portland for a wedding in August and will be headed to FinCon in September. Luckily, FinCon is in my home state but I know it will come with some expenses.

PIT-STOP (1)

I’m trying not to panic about all the expenses, but also trying to be mindful of them and lower them where I can. In addition, I’m working a ton, which I hope will lead to a good income in the coming months.

Going Forward

I’m happy to report that after my post about the dangers of all-or-nothing debt repayment, I actually saved enough for taxes for June. It felt like a big victory, given the previous months. I’m still slowly building my emergency fund and adding money to my investment account, but the savings goals are not happening as quickly as I’d like.

Being on the go so much isn’t a very good recipe for saving money. I’m happy with my experiences though and know that things will normalize soon.

Trying to remember what I had to do when I was getting out of debt — think of the big picture. Things can feel like they’re moving incredibly slow and like it will never get better. But small, consistent actions can lead to big changes. I’m also beginning to think and grow rich, something that I’ve recently adopted from my friend Shannon. Sometimes shifting your mindset can really help.

So I’m hoping that even though things aren’t perfect, that I’m still bettering my life financially every day.

How are things going for you?

This post is in: end of month update