Thursday, April 19, 2018

This is 39 (Month 6, Check-In 1)

One of the biggest goals I wanted to accomplish this year was to eliminate credit card debt. And I'm happy, relieved, excited and proud to share that as of April 16th, We Have No More Credit Card Debt.

The truth is, I've been bad (read: careless) with my money for a long time. When I first came out to California in the winter of 1999 as part of a student exchange program, I got my first credit card...and it was sort of downhill from there. I wasn't prepared for the responsibility of a credit card. Being on the other side of the country while my mom was going through treatment for breast cancer with all these opportunities around me and no extra money laying around (or having the kind of parents who would give you money for shit like that) meant that I just started charging things on a magical credit card. And it went that way for many, many, many years until I realized that I had to significantly change my spending habits and learn to be more responsible with my money.

Steve has been largely hands-off in this department, which meant I was able to keep spending money on things I truly didn't need (how much stationery and socks does a girl need? Actually don't answer that). Over the years, I'd asked for help (thank you Katie Grant and Samantha), but (similar to losing weight), I wasn't ever in the right head space to actually stick to anything. However, a few years back, after some failed attempts, we both took stock of our financial situation and agreed it was time.

What's helped? More than anything, a commitment to paying off our debt and seeing it through. Which has meant saying no to some things (like going to people's weddings- SORRY- or getting a new couch or dining room table or loading up on expensive clothing or buying the really nice and expensive Christmas/birthday presents we'd like for our friends and loved ones or being able to make sizeable donations to support my friends' charitable efforts) and saying yes to other things (like increasing our monthly payments, even if it means getting a little uncomfortable at the end of each month).

I do feel an incredible weight lifted off my shoulders. But I don't think it'll be fully realized until next month when I don't have to make another credit card payment and we can actually save that freaking money and put it towards our emergency savings plan- another goal of mine.

Stay tuned for my next blog post where I'll go into more detail on what else I've been up to in month six!


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