Hey debt fighters! I’ve been working hard on the Lola Retreat, so have been MIA. In the meantime, we have another great dear debt letter from Mrs. Picky Pincher. She is the blogger at www.pickypinchers.com and writes about paying off debt while living the good life.
Ah, you and I go way back, don’t we?
I first met you when I was 9. Ahhh, young love.
I borrowed $20 from my dad so I could buy the latest Pokemon game. At first I didn’t think I could buy the game because I didn’t have the money, but my parents introduced me to you, Debt. They could loan me the $20 so I could get my game today and pay them back later.
This was a concept that totally blew my 9-year-old mind. I could get something now and worry about paying for it later? Whoaaaa. I should do this all the time.
Since I didn’t have an income, naturally I had a hard time getting rid of you, Debt. I realized it would take me three months of my allowance to get rid of you! Ouch!
After a few months of hoarding change in my piggy bank, I dumped you for the first time. I was young, but dang, it felt great to be free again. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn my lesson.
I didn’t see you again, Debt, until I was 21. I graduated early from college and thought the world was mine for the taking. Little did I realize that my degree came with an $80,000 price tag. I was also needy. I needed your allure and luxury: the $450 car payment, the student loan payments, and $14,000 in credit card debt. I cloaked myself in your brilliant sheen so I could look like everyone else who had you on their arm.
I was 21 and had several thousand dollars of you in my name, Debt. I was addicted to signing on the dotted line and only now realized what that meant.
Of course, my first job paid peanuts compared to the cost of my degree. Thanks to you, Debt, I struggled to meet my rent and wondered how I could afford the week’s groceries. I knew I was the one who let you into my life and that it was my fault, but I didn’t know how to get rid of you.
It wasn’t until I let another man into my life that things changed. I married Mr. Picky Pincher in 2015 and that’s when I found a way to dump you for good, Debt. Mr. Picky Pincher knew you too, and combined we owed $225,000. Ouch.
We knew you were a problem, but it didn’t become an emergency until I realized we had no savings. We couldn’t even imagine a savings account because we were in the red every month. And forget our dream of buying a house!
I was utterly ticked off. In the summer of 2015 we made a plan to evict you from our lives. Man, it was so much work. Getting rid of you was like lugging a belligerent 300-pound couch potato out of my house.
We canceled cable, stopped eating out, stopped shopping for fun, and stopped going to the movies. Instead I learned how to cook at home (a feat for a subpar cook), rent movies from the library, pickle and can produce, cut my own hair, shop at the thrift store, and sew my own clothes.
It didn’t happen overnight, but one day we realized we had $200 extra after making these changes. It was exhilarating, but it wasn’t enough.
We moved across the city to a cruddier apartment just to get rid of you, Debt. We were able to save an additional $400 a month on our rent, although herds of ants and roaches came with the territory. We even got rid of my car and I walked to work just to get rid of you, Debt. We were finally able to save $1,000 a month, which we used to pay off our credit cards each month.
After further cutting, we eliminated $14,000 of credit card debt in 10 months. Once that debt (and its minimum payments were gone), we were ready to go for the big ones: student loans.
Debt, you might think that you had us on these student loans. I thought so for a while, too, but we did conquer these loans. My dad graciously paid for the majority of my college degree, leaving me with just $25,000 of student loans. Thanks to changing our lifestyle and eliminating other debts first, we were able to kill that $25,000 of debt in 7 months.
Oh, Debt. You were probably heartbroken once that last check went in.
But you know what? I hate you. After seeing how easy it is to bring you into my life and how hard it is to make you leave, I’m done with you. There isn’t going to be any more of this on-again off-again business. This breakup is final and lasting. I’m going to sleep well for the rest of my life knowing you’re not on my doorstep anymore. Good riddance!