I am so excited to share my debt totals today. This is a far stretch from my lackluster payments the past few months, which I was embarrassed to share with you.
But finally my income has started to increase. Finally my hard work is paying off. It’s the greatest feeling in the whole world to have my income improve and have people come to me for work.
I feel like when you first start out, you hustle hard, work for low pay and you are trying so hard to build a name for yourself. If you work hard, those things do all work in your favor — eventually.
Before you think I have a glamorous life, or that it has come easy, let me offer some perspective. My RescueTime tells me I have logged nearly 60 hours a week since I started. I also work every weekend and every day — something that I’d like to change. Even so, I’m still grateful.
Starting this blog was the best thing I ever did. Yes, this blog itself hardly makes any money (no Adsense here), but it has served as a platform for my writing. It’s my own little space on the internet. And I’ve met the most beautiful and inspiring friends — and I hope to make more at FinCon this year (are you going?!)
So, drum roll please…
I put $1,700 to debt, $300 to my moving fund and $100 to other savings goals. That’s $2,100 towards debt and savings this month! I know for some debt rockstars that’s a normal payment and I applaud you! But let’s review my financial situation.
One year ago my take home salary from my nonprofit job was $1,800 per month. And the year before that, I was working a seasonal temp job and bringing in $1,300 a month.
Essentially, I put the equivalent of my old salary and then some towards debt and savings! I can’t believe it.
If you’re a long time reader, you know that when I started this blog I was not in a good place. I got a master’s degree and moved to Portland to be with my partner and could not find a full-time job. After previously having a successful career in LA, (which also at its max only made $38,000), I was disheartened and deeply in debt. Everything felt like a joke and a sham.
When you are in that deep of a depression, it’s difficult to remember that there are blue skies beyond the gray clouds. All you see is the storm and it feels like it will never go away.
I want to cherish this moment because I want to remember that good times and bad times come and go. Nothing is forever. So if you are dealing with a particularly tough time right now, have faith, and keep trying. It will get better. I promise. It may take years and test your patience and make you feel like you are losing your mind. But life isn’t for the weak, it’s for the fighters. You can do it.
Because I’m dealing with an upswing right now, I want to practice gratitude for this moment. It could be stripped of me and things change month to month. So I will celebrate this win and continue to work hard and be grateful for everyone that has helped me along the way.
After putting all that money to debt, here are my final numbers:
Undergraduate Loan: $5,490.83
Graduate Loan: $25,293.67
Total Debt: $30,784.50
Ahhh, I’m so close to getting to the twenties! Probably next month. I took out a total of $81,000 in debt in my lifetime and when I graduated with my M.A. in 2011, I had $68,000 left. I’m hoping that I can continue on this path of growing my income and expediting my debt repayment. Even though my payments have been large, relative to my income, this process is still dragging out. I am sooooooo done with debt.
All of this has me questioning my potential move, which is crazy. I keep wondering if I can just hold on a little longer and enjoy the lower cost of living (compared to where we want to move) and kill this debt in a year or two.
We’ll be making a final decision about everything in August, so we’ll see. But I’m worried as I generally don’t love Portland nine months out of the year, but the summer is so freaking glorious here. I will try to make an unbiased decision in August, but I know the nice weather will be cooing sweet nothings in my ear.
So, that’s my exciting debt update! Also, if any of you have been dying to write a dear debt letter, I’d love to feature your letter over the next two weeks while I’m on vacation. People generally feel some sort of catharsis through the process of writing a breakup letter, so I highly recommend it. 🙂
How was your debt repayment this month?