Hey debt fighters! We have a killer dear debt letter today from Sonia. Sonia is a freelance writer who writes for small to mid-sized businesses. She has also recently started to write fiction again, this time under a pen name, which she discovered gives her a sense of freedom that has been missing from her life for far too long. She has over $81,000 in debt that she is committed to paying off. You can follow her website/blog at soniaquinones.com.

Dear Debt,

Every couple of years I decide that I’m going to get rid of you once and for all. I force myself to sit down and tally up how bad you’ve gotten. And as I do, I remember (as if I could ever forget) every stupid decision that I made that got me into this mess in the first place.

I think about how money, the lack of it, where it was going and where it was not, caused so many fights when I was growing up. How it destroyed any love and faith my parents once had in each other until all that was left was burning resentment. So that all these years later (53 years of married life and counting) my parents are miserable, unhappy, bitter people who I desperately love but cannot help.

If I could kick the sh*t out of you I would.

I’m sick of crying over you.
I’m sick of losing sleep and getting ill, literally, over you.
I’m sick of lying to my family and friends about how little money I have and how much I owe.
I’m tired of trying to figure out what bills I can pay this month and which ones I can’t.
I’m sick of worrying when that check will clear, or when that deposit will be released from a bank hold.
I’m sick of reliving the memory of how I created this mess.

I owe $81,138, most of that in student loan debt for an undergraduate degree that it took me until I was 40 to get and a graduate degree program that I never actually finished.

Student loans that some of my then-employers reimbursed me for. But did I use the check they gave me to repay the loan I took out that term? Oh no. I went ahead and spent it on stuff I don’t even remember. Student loans that I’ve requested forbearances and deferrals on more times than I can count while I got my feet back under me whenever I’ve been unemployed or underemployed.

Student loans that overwhelm me when I compare then to what I actually take home in income. Last year I made exactly $26,275–total–on my freelancer’s income. And that was before taxes. But then making good money doesn’t make a difference.

Not when it’s your mindset that’s screwed up. Because back when I was making almost $90K a year as a full-time employee did I attempt to pay down my student loan debt in a serious way? Nope. Instead I paid the bare minimum. Why? Because even then I still felt “poor.” I couldn’t see the opportunity, the abundance that had entered my life.

I hate seeing the world through the poverty mentality/filter that I absorbed from my family. I’m angry at the idea that my dreams have become so small. That the idea of ever owning my own house instead of renting feels ridiculous, something other people get to do but not me.

I’m angry that the idea of replacing my battered 18-year-old car is out of my reach. I’m pissed that I can’t imagine ever getting to travel to Europe, or go to events where I can meet the people I admire online in person.

I’m pissed that I can’t take better care of my parents. That I can’t move them out of the dump they have the nerve to call a senior residence and into a better apartment, or even an actual house, all because I have this debt that I foolishly allowed into my life. A debt that I signed up for without realizing how deeply it would stain my outlook on life.

I’ve had enough of feeling like a damn incompetent idiot. I’m sick of feeling like I can’t breathe. Like I have no right to hold my head up like a responsible adult. Like I’m wearing a huge sign labeled “LOSER.”

Enough. Enough. Enough.

I’m going to get rid of you no matter what the hell I have to do. I’m going to take my life, my business, my soul seriously and get you out of my life once and for all. I’m reclaiming my life and you won’t ever get a chance to get your grubby hands on me again.




Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at DearDebt.com.

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

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19 responses to “Dear Debt, I’m Getting Rid of You”

  1. I like how you mentioned debt keeps dreams small. It’s like you can’t even imagine being able to do certain things because of debt…without getting into more debt. Best of luck on your journey!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Why I Quit FacebookMy Profile

  2. It’s crazy how relative debt payoff is. I wish I only had $80k! But that’s obviously still a lot of money. Whatever amount you have, the important thing is to get on a plan to pay it off.
    Natalie @ Financegirl recently posted…How to Check Your Credit Reports and Credit ScoreMy Profile

  3. Mortimer says:

    Sonia, you have such a powerful story. I’m so sorry debt has burdened you so much in your life, and it sounds like from a very young age. But now you are part of one of the best online communities I’ve found—full of support, positive thinking, and specific problem solving from everyday problems to longterm ones. The first step to making any change is changing yourself—and you’ve done that already. You can do this. We are rooting for you!
    Mortimer recently posted…How to See Abundance Everywhere While Living FrugallyMy Profile

  4. Sonia, my God. Your comments hit home for me. I constantly beat myself up for getting into debt. Constantly. It’s all I think about when I wake up. I think that I’m not worthy, that I will always live in poverty, and that my life is a disaster beyond repair. But there’s a little voice in the back of my head that also tells me to toughen up, that there is a way forward, that it’s going to suck, but there is a way. It sounds to me like you know there’s a way forward and you know what it’ll take. It’s not going to be easy, but you’ll get there.

    By the way, your website looks amazing and I would be shocked if your freelancing income doesn’t skyrocket over the next few years.
    Mr. PayingMyLawSchoolDebt recently posted…My law school loans are below $134,000My Profile

    • Sonia says:

      Thanks! I really appreciate the compliment on my website. Am really working hard this month to get a couple of projects off the ground to help me increase my income this year.

  5. Tyler says:

    I know how difficult it is to see those you care about in a situation that you want to help but due to debt you just can’t. This letter really hit home for me, all the times a too could have paid the debt down but instead didn’t. Yes this is a truly powerful letter
    Tyler recently posted…Week In Review #2My Profile

    • Sonia says:

      Oh yeah, I swear if I could go back in time to slap some sense into myself I would. Unfortunately, scientists have not yet invented the time traveling machine. And even if they did, I doubt they’d let us use to prevent us from making bone-head moves.

  6. Roz says:

    DROP THE MIKE!!! You go girl…Kick debt in the a$$ and tell everyone you know that credit is from Satan.

  7. James says:

    Dealing with debt can be mentally taxing. When dealing with debt, I always think of the adage “How do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time. When dealing with something that can seem overwhelming, it’s best to think in the short-term and deal with each obstacle on a day to day basis.
    James recently posted…Living Frugally: The Wedding BluesMy Profile

  8. Sonia says:

    Thank you, I really appreciate the compliment!

    I’m definitely keeping my head down this month, nose to the grindstone, setting a couple of things in motion to increase my income this year.

  9. leah says:

    Awwww. Big hug to you Sonia! It is amazing how debt can take over your life like that, such an albatross. You really captured how we are all raised regarding money clouds our life. But I think you’re clear now! You’ll never be in that situation again. I hope you keep the fire in this letter close and crush that debt, but still enjoy your life in the process. Be kind to yourself–you got this!
    leah recently posted…Four Seasons Orlando Fabulous Food OptionsMy Profile

    • Sonia says:

      Hi Leah,

      Thank you for the virtual hug! I definitely intend to keep this letter close at hand to keep me focused this year.

      I appreciate the reminder to be kind to myself and still enjoy life. I do tend to be an either/or kind of thinker. It’s a mindset that I find difficult to break free of so reminders are always appreciated!

  10. Allie says:

    What a powerful way to look at combating debt! Seriously – so inspiring!
    Allie recently posted…Finding Your Fit: Making Fitness Work For YouMy Profile

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