I am personally completely debt free.
No more credit cards.
No more student loans.
No more payments towards whatever-the-hell-that-huge-mistake-was-from-2009.
Nada. I officially have zero debt in my name.
The recession hit me particularly hard in 2008 (long sob story for another day and another post) (or maybe just let sleeping dogs lie) and it has taken years to get myself out of that hole. YEARS!! A few weeks ago the last payment went through and…and I hardly know what to do with myself! I mean, logic says I should take myself on an month-long international adventures, obviously. But boring adult responsibility and long-term planning says I should just keep living how I have been and start socking away dollars for a rainy day, or retirement, or whatever.
“How did you do it, Harriet!?”
Well…the long, hard, painfully slow way. Buy too many things on credit, hit a financial crisis (looking at you, Recession), don’t stop buying things, then get completely buried in payments you can no longer afford, so pretend the payments don’t exist. That’s how you get into the mess; getting out is harder. But finally you have to admit your problems about 37 different ways to people to whom you never planned on detailing your financial woes. Then you set up a payment plan, and you stick to it. It’s easier if you have payments automatically deducted from your paycheck so you don’t risk making a late payment or skipping it, so you truly learn how to live on less. Considerably less. Maybe you’re the kind of person who always had good financial sense and you can remember to make each payment on its due date…I used to be like that, but when I started digging myself out of this mess I didn’t trust myself not to fall into my other habits. So, direct from paychecks it was. For years.
I got my first no-payment-deduction paycheck last week, and my eyes nearly boggled out of my head. I mean, technically I knew how big my paychecks were supposed to be, but seeing it all at once in my bank account? Uh, it was kind of surreal. And awesome. And, again, made me want to go buy a plane ticket to somewhere far, far away. Just because I could. See? For now it’s probably best that I keep those dollars in a savings account until I can come up with a more responsible way of spending them.
BUT! I am debt free. I AM DEBT FREE!
Nope, it still hasn’t sunk in yet.