Hey everyone!  Today, we have a dear debt letter by Eric Rosenberg, a full-time freelancer and blogger at Personal Profitability. Eric writes about personal finance and entrepreneurship at InvestmentZen, his own blog, and other sites around the web.

Dear Debt,

We have had an interesting journey together. I was happy to rid myself of you multiple times in the past, but it looks like we will inevitably be back together sometime soon. I’m not upset about it, but I do need to be careful with you this time around. I’m a dad now, after all, and it isn’t just about me anymore.

We first met when I went to graduate school. I was fortunate to earn a full-ride scholarship for undergrad, but wasn’t so lucky with my $90,000 MBA. I worked full-time while earning my MBA full-time to keep you from taking control of my life, but you were certainly a big cloud hanging over my head.

When I graduated from my MBA program in March, 2010, I had taken on $40,000 in student loans and had a net worth around zero, but I wasn’t going down without a fight. I used a combination of automation and aggressive payments to pay down my debt as quickly as possible.

In fact, I started paying off my student loans before I even finished grad school to keep interest from getting the best of me. I put 100% of my bonus from work and 100% of my tax return into getting rid of you. I split my payment into two, paying every payday instead of monthly, and slowly added more and more to each payment until I was paying around $700 per month, well over twice what was required.

And it worked! Two years and six days after graduation, I was debt free. Well, kind of. While my student loans were paid off and I never had credit card debt, a you reared your head in a new form in my life: as a mortgage.

I bought my first condo less than two months before paying off my student loans, so I was never really free of you completely, you just changed forms. But at the same time, I had a roommate and was paying less every month for my living costs while building equity in a home. Now, rather than simply costing me money every month, you were serving a valuable purpose.

It turns out we can get along well, as long as everything goes according to plan. Thanks to my MBA, which I could not have earned without you, my income doubled at my day job. It even led me to be able to leave my job for self-employment! When I owned my first condo, I needed your help, and it turned out well. I sold the condo and made a bundle. This time, I was able to get rid of you completely. When I sold my condo, moved to Portland and became a renter instead of a homeowner, I lived without you for about a year, but we were destined to meet again.

At the end of 2014, we met again. I was now married, so you were not my burden alone. I bought a home and you appeared again in the form of a mortgage. Because things worked out well the first time, I wasn’t too worried about bringing you back into my life. And again, it turned out okay.

Thanks to the booming real estate market in Portland, we made 20% on that house even though we only lived in it for 14 months. And because we moved for work, that entire 20% is tax free! Thanks debt for helping me earn a profit on real estate yet again!

So now I am living without you again, as I have been since selling the house in April, 2016. And I admit, I don’t miss you. I don’t miss looking at my finances and seeing a six figure debt. I don’t miss monthly debt payments, but they have been replaced by something else: rent.

Moving to Southern California gave me plenty of sticker shock on real estate prices, even moving from a hot market like Portland. But my rent here is $400 per month more than my old mortgage payment! It turns out that getting out of debt cost me more than being in debt! Debt, you are so sly!

So, debt, I want you back. I’m ready to take you on for a fourth time, this time for yet another mortgage. But because we’ve worked together to buy a home a couple of times in the past and it worked out well, I’m not too worried about bringing you back into my life. In fact, buying our next home with a big down payment should save us around $900 per month compared to our rent we are paying today!

As with any relationship, I won’t take any crap from you. No teaser interest rates. No balloon payments. Just a boring old 30 year fixed. If we can get back together on those terms, I’m down to give it another shot.

Your pal,

Eric

This post is in: dear debt letter

I saw Francesca wrote a dear debt letter and had to share. Enjoy!

—-

Dear Debt,

I have been wanting to write a letter to you for quite some time, and now that I am nearing the end of our journey together, I think that this is the right moment.

You have made me feel so low, so incredibly sad and melancholy, and very alone. It’s been a frustrating relationship for me, because I know that I am not bad with money. I am, in fact, very good with saving money and being frugal – squeezing every single penny out and never spending any money on myself has become second nature to me now. But with my daughter at home, I felt that I could not earn any more money than I was earning working from home in the evening – a job I have done since she was 1, and which I still do now. I would have her all day with me, and then as soon as she was asleep, I would then work until 11:30pm, if lucky.

The reason for my relationship with you was due to lack of support, and not earning enough money. That may sound like I am passing the buck, but I know that I would not be in this situation if I’d have had the support that I needed – that most people have. Also, I was stupid then and bought some things for my daughter on my credit card, because I was feeling like a terrible mum in not being able to buy anything for her. When I say I was not able to buy anything for her, that it exactly what I mean. Nothing.
It was incredibly hard for me, because she is an amazing girl, with a fierce imagination and a love for new experiences and places. It wasn’t so much the materialistic side that I struggled with (the endless stream of toys), but not being able to take her anywhere, as I did not have a car, or any spare money to pay for entry into somewhere.

Social media played a big part in the money that I put on my card because of a few things I bought for my daughter, because I was so exposed to images of people who decorated their child’s room that made it a magical play area, with toys that were colour coordinated, with these children dressed in the prettiest frilly dresses…and it made me think, why shouldn’t my daughter get that? Although I admit I am incredibly biased, there is no doubt in that she is a beautiful girl, with a huge heart and strong personality. She is everything to me, and I want to give everything to her.

Once I had begun this relationship with you – a short one, by a lot of standards – I felt incredibly trapped. There I was, with a little girl, and a tiny income. How on earth was I going to pay off this debt? I didn’t know what to do, and you had a hold over me. My minimum payments were still more than I wanted to pay; I didn’t want to pay anything!

To be fair to you debt, you made me wrack my brains and come up with some ways that I could earn more money. I had looked into earning more before, but I couldn’t find anything that I could do around my daughter, and that didn’t require any upfront costs. With studying part time at the University too, I was strapped for time, and wanted to spend every waking moment with my daughter – the most amazing little person of all.

Being aware that debt is not a good thing, I had a fire under me and was determined to do the best that I could to get rid of you as fast as I possibly could, without needing to pay for childcare, or tie myself down to something that would eat up all of my time and energy.

The best thing that you made me do, is begin this blog. I honestly don’t think that I would have started this blog if I hadn’t have been in debt. The reason that I say that is because although I had been living on a very small income with a child, it wasn’t until I got into debt that I began to feel true despair in my situation – I felt as though it would be impossible for me to escape.

So I thank you debt, for pushing me into starting this blog, where I have been welcomed with open arms by the personal finance community, and have discovered so many blogs that I may not have found without starting one of my own. The other blogs have provided me with endless support, encouragement and inspiration, which have been a true blessing. So whilst I may make out that our relationship has been wholly bad, I do appreciate the lessons that I have learned from being with you. I am brimming with optimism, it pours out from me and makes me feel a mixture of happy and tearful. I am indescribably excited for what is to come, because I know that it will be the best feeling to finally be free.
You only wanted to give me what I thought that I wanted, and you did that so well. However, I was not aware of the effects that this would have, and know now that I need to get out of this unhealthy relationship.

As I have mentioned in my first sentence, we are now coming to the end of our relationship, and I could not be happier. I am obsessed with writing down every single scrap of money that I have, and have figured out when I can become debt free. I can become debt free in March 2017. I feel very nervous writing that down! But I have worked it out based on the extra money that is guaranteed from now until then, which falls under: pay from my new part time job, rent from lodger, earnings from dog boarding that I have booked in, and blog money that is due in. These are all guaranteed amounts of money that I will be getting from now until then (some of which I already have in my account), so I know without a doubt that my debt can be paid off by then.


Unfortunately in my main job, my pay is done per project, which means I have no idea how much I will be paid every month! Over the winter, my work becomes much slower, so I need to put any extra money to the side to cover the bills just in case I am not paid enough for these. I have put some to the side already from things like overtime, dog boarding, matched betting, eBay selling. If I knew how much I would be getting paid, I could put extra money into paying off my debt earlier, but for now I am keeping it to the side in case I need it for my bills.

The thing that I hate the most about you is that you are preventing me from doing the things that I really want to do. If you are wondering what these things are, I can give you some examples! I really want to take my daughter on holiday next year. She is 5 years old now and her absolute favourite place to go is to the beach. She loves the sand, the sea, the ice-cream, the games – all of it. However, as we live in England, the weather is not always desirable for heading down to the beach. We are lucky in that we are about 45 minutes away from a great beach, but I wouldn’t let her swim in the sea (it’s brown!). Taking her abroad to somewhere that is hot, would be high on my goals. I can just see her face now, lit up in happiness and excitement. When I take her to the beach near us, she squeals with joy for the whole day. As a parent, there is nothing more that you could want.

So my first goal after getting rid of you may sound like an easy one – but nevertheless it is one that so far I have not managed to achieve for her. I have many other things that I wish to do such as: buy a different house (love the house, hate the area), start saving, start investing, and become more financially secure. I want to feel more relaxed about my money, because right now, it stresses me out.
 Now that’s not to say that you haven’t tempted me to climb back into your clutches…I can fully see your charm and appeal. And that’s the beauty of it – I have woken up to the techniques that you use to keep me and win me over, and I see through them. Once I am free from your clutches, I will not ever return. I am so excited to be free, and be the true me. Not the person who is feeling down about being stuck with you, but the person who makes big plans for the future, and will work as hard to achieve them as I have worked to get you out of my life.

When we have broken up once and for all, look out for me – I will be the person with the biggest smile on her face that you’ll ever see.

See you on the other side.
– F.

This post is in: dear debt letter

Hey everyone! We have a moving dear debt letter from Heather today. She is proof that so much can change when serious illness hits…and also is proof that you can overcome so much. Heather Von St. James is a mesothelioma advocate living in Roseville, Minnesota with her husband, Cam, and daughter, Lily Rose. Heather loves gardening, Starbucks and working on behalf of mesothelioma awareness. To reach Heather, email her at heathervsj@mesothelioma.com.

Dear Debt,

We’ve had a long and tenuous relationship, you and I. You seduced me way back in the day of “Columbia House Records.” I could get all those CDs for just a penny, but only being a teenager I didn’t read the fine print. I didn’t realize I was on the hook for more. See, my parents never discussed money with me. I was never taught how to budget, how not to use credit, or for that fact, how TO use credit. My parents had their own financial struggles, and all I knew was that sometimes there wasn’t much food in the house and my mom cried a lot.

Now, a lifetime later, I understand all too well how you destroy lives. Oh, you are a temptress, though. All the possibilities, the promise of more than you can deliver. And you are so easy to get! Student loans, credit cards, store cards, places just willing to give you a chance because of a number.

I learned the hard way. I almost lost everything I had to realize that you were no good. See, I got sick with a cancer called mesothelioma. That is all it took. I lost my job, and my health, and faced the very real possibility of losing my home, my marriage, and my life. On top of everything, the medical bills started piling up. I have never been so afraid in my life.

There are so many things I wish I could go back and tell my younger self. Things like “get disability insurance,” “those shoes aren’t worth it,” “a purse can’t pay the bills.” But I don’t know if I would have listened. I was lucky though. My family helped out. My parents, who had made so many mistakes in their youth, learned their lessons and were able to help us through a tough time. They paid off our debt, and I was able to defer my student loans due to financial hardship, but all this did was postpone the debt for later.

I fought for my life, through surgery, chemo and radiation, and while I could, I paid you down. I did everything I could to get rid of you. I’m still learning all these years later. You are still tempting. Seductive. You say things like “C’mon, everyone’s doing it, everyone has debt, it’s not a big deal… “ but as I get older and am planning for my daughter’s future, I know that it’s all lies.

No amount of credit feels as good as money in the bank. So as each month goes by and my balances get smaller, and I celebrate paying you off, I’ve vowed to break up with you forever. I’m done with the one-sided abusive relationship and have gotten into a secure and loving one. Goodbye forever debt, I am not going to miss you.

Sincerely,

Heather Von St. James

This post is in: dear debt letter

December 19, 2016

Hey debt fighters! Today we have a lovely dear debt letter from E. E is a personal finance blogger at Joyfully Frugal where she blogs about aggressively paying off nearly $70,000 in debt while working to live a more minimalist, simple, and fruitful life. She has sought inspiration in all corners of the internet for this journey and would love to connect with you to find common ground and hear your story.

Dear Debt,

Thank you. Have I said that yet? I know I’ve spent a lot of time bemoaning your presence in my life (like, A LOT of time), but really I owe you some gratitude. Every month when I see your little payment notification pop up I feel no small measure of dread and stuck-ness. Like we’ll be together ’til death do us part. I don’t want that. In fact, I’m aggressively trying to get rid of you. But that doesn’t mean I’m not thankful.

Kate Northrup talks about bills as invoices for blessings already received. I love that concept and the reframe it implies. In fact, I love it so much that it has shifted my entire way of thinking about you, Debt. You see, your presence in my life is really just an indicator of some pretty major blessings that I’ve received – chief among them a high-quality education, a new nesting place with my partner, and a jump on some professional development for my future business.

So yes, I’d like you gone. I’d like to not be indentured to anyone or anything. That’s a fact. AND I’m also, simultaneously, grateful – grateful that I had the opportunity to take you on so that I could afford myself numerous other opportunities. Weird how one little switch of perspective can take you from shame and blame and sadness to lightness and appreciation and even (dare I say it) joy.

So, while you’re still in my life, I’d like the opportunity to thank you. You deserve that. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to reduce you to a zero balance.

With appreciation for blessings already received,
E

This post is in: dear debt letter

November 30, 2016

Hey everyone! I’m so happy to introduce you to Jennifer, who’s a new blogger and share her dear debt letter with you all. Say hello! Jennifer Dane is a personal finance blogger at Debt Free Utopia and has a passion for inspiring and educating others through blogging about her journey to overcoming $78,000 worth of debt. Her philosophy is that being debt free will lead to being a fulfilled person and community member.

—-

Dear Debt,

We are not friends. You came into my life like a slimy, smug boyfriend in my teenage years. I did not know the damage you caused until I couldn’t pursue my passions. My parents never warned me about the dangers of you, and after they had known I was with you, they never even said a word.

You have followed me with every move I have made and have grown more unmanageable every year. We’ve even yo-yo money dieted with no avail, and I think it is the time we part ways. You are constantly on my mind, and I want to be able to live my life without your restrictions.

When you are in my life, I cannot fulfill my dreams. So, I am done. I know it will take me years to move on, and it will be a challenge, but it is over. I want you to be completely out of my life by the end of 2022 (hopefully sooner). Farewell, debt. You are not welcome here anymore.

-J. Dane

 

This post is in: dear debt letter

Hey everyone! We have a moving dear debt letter from Kelly. Kelly has been in an abusive relationship with debt since her teenage years, when her father introduced her to credit cards and other debt. She had allowed debt to control her life, leading her down the paths of consumer credit consolidation, bankruptcy, and financial ruin. For some time, she has been trying to break free and leave debt behind for good. She has been unable to do so until now. Kelly likens her situation to having had an addiction that she is realizing for the first time. Today, she is releasing herself from the fierce grip debt has had on her for all these years. With over $30k in debt still weighing on her, she welcomes the freedom of becoming debt-free, climbing onward and upward.

——

Dear Debt,

I don’t recall exactly how old I was when we were first introduced. However, I do recall feeling immediately enamored by your wit, charm and seductive ways. You told me the world was my oyster, and all I had to do was pay the minimum balance each month. Brilliant, I thought. We began to get to know each other and I fell in lust immediately.

However, your sweetness quickly faded, and you began controlling and manipulating me with false promises. I began to feel shame that you were in my life. I was embarrassed by my lack of self-control around you. Yet, your tentacles were in deep, and each time I tried pulling them from my flesh, I would bleed and cry. You just laughed knowing the power you had over me. You snarled and snickered in delight knowing I didn’t have the strength, determination or confidence to rip free from your grasp.

And so I stayed. Again and again, I tried to leave, making a little progress each time, but always falling back, scared to really leave you for good. You convinced me I was nothing without you, and I believed you. Fuck! I BELIEVED you. I believed I needed you to succeed, to enjoy life, to really LIVE. Oh the lies! How did I believe so many lies? You have caused me financial ruin, and I have allowed it. I have been addicted to you like someone on crack, always awaiting their next fix.

What an “a ha”! I never realized I was addicted to you until now. What an incredible epiphany realized. It’s like the light switch has been in a perpetually off position. It was taped down and all I needed to do was remove the tape, flip the switch and see the light eradicating darkness of the lies within. All this time I thought I had issues with money. You were deceiving me all along.

Today, November 6, 2016- I take my power back. The truth has been revealed. You can deceive me no longer. I am complete without you. No more seductive games shall you win. I free myself from your bondage and walk away never to return, never to look back.

I hear you mumbling that it’s not over and that I will come back to you. I hear you and acknowledge that this has been my pattern. You are right. I had many lessons to learn, and I thank you for what you taught me. We made this agreement a long time ago, I realize this now and today is the day we say goodbye. I bless you for the lessons.

I release myself in grace and gratitude knowing that I am free, completely free from this moment forward and forever more. It is my time to amass wealth beyond my wildest imaginations. I am a money magnet. Thank you again for all the lessons.

In Self Love and Freedom,

Kelly

This post is in: dear debt letter

October 24, 2016

Hey everyone! We have a fantastic dear debt letter from Brittney. Brittney took out student loans to get her undergraduate degree, then promptly did everything wrong. She spent years in denial before finally coming to terms with, then learning how to manage, her debt. She now works as a writer and editor for BadCredit.org, where she uses her personal financial journey as inspiration to help others overcome their own mistakes, and make better financial decisions.

p.s. check out my profile on BadCredit.org!

——–

Dear Debt,

I owe you an apology.

I hate to admit it, but for the longest time, I hated you. I couldn’t even stand the thought of you — except to pass blame.

Every time I made a financial stumble, you were my go-to excuse. For years I blamed you. Each silly, ignorant, or downright stupid mistake became entirely your fault. I was so sure that without you, everything would have been exactly as I wanted it to be. I convinced myself that you were the source of my troubles — and you had done it all on purpose.

But none of it was your fault. It was mine.

It took a while, I’m ashamed to say, but I finally accepted the truth. I realized that you weren’t out to get me. You didn’t try to ruin my credit, or put me behind in my financial goals. You couldn’t have known that I would make so many poor decisions, and get into so much trouble.

You just wanted to help me go to school — and you did.

You helped me venture away from home for the first time, to cross the country to the big city, where I could see my academic dreams unfold. You helped pay for classes, books, and even the roof over my head. You gave me the education for which I had been pining, and all I gave you was grief.

So, I’m sorry.

You weren’t the bad guy in our relationship; I was. I’m sorry I blamed you for all these years, when I should have taken responsibility for my own mistakes. I’m sorry I spent so long hating you, instead of fixing me. (Oh, and I’m sorry for all the horrible things I said about you to my friends.)

I’ve learned a lot since we first met. I’m done blaming you, and I’m done hiding from you. In fact, I’d even like us to be friends. I think we could accomplish some really amazing things, working together.

Here’s to the future.
-Brittney

This post is in: dear debt letter

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

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