Staring at me from the counter was a paper with a list of $50,000 of debt. I felt an overwhelming feeling hit the pit of my stomach. At just 23, my husband and I found ourselves hemorrhaging money every month and struggling to get by.
2015 was a tough year for us. I got an internship with Square 1 Bank in their marketing department, which I was beyond excited for, and my husband got his dream job after he finished serving in the Marine Corps. Everything was going well for us, and it looked like things were falling into place. However this bliss came to an end just 3 short months later. My husband lost his job, and my small internship paycheck was coming to an end. What had looked like a bright future quickly escalated into a frightening situation. Our wedding was in June, I was still finishing up my college degree, and debt was quickly starting to pile up .
My husband found a job working at Lowe’s Home Improvement thanks to the store manager (a retired Marine). While we were grateful for the job, he was making nowhere near what we had been making before. We began putting everything we couldn’t afford on to our credit cards. Putting our financial life on credit, trying to finish school, and sort out our lives was a scary and detrimental time.
My husband was able to find a better paying job with our local law enforcement, and I was able to find a marketing job after graduation. But those seven months in between caused our debt to sky rocket. I realized that I couldn’t keep living this way or we’d continue to be stressed, and feel like pawns in a game we’d never win. It was finally time to tackle our debt.
No matter where I looked, one name kept popping up over and over: Dave Ramsey. After reading his book Total Money Makeover, I immediately decided that we wouldn’t be slaves to our credit cards anymore! We cut up all of our credit cards. Every single one.
The next step was to pay down our debt. It took me about 3 hours to sort through everything but with the help of mint.com, credit karma, my bank, and digit I was able to get all of my debt organized.
My advice for anyone tackling debt is to get everything out on the table.
You can use this app to track your spending and bills. You can put in all of your debts and it will track everything for you. This app has saved my life! Now I can track and see where our money is going.
Credit Karma :
It’s a good idea to see where your credit score is and it’s very important if you want to stop making mistakes from affecting your credit. Plus it doesn’t damage your credit by checking. Credit Karma helped me get a snapshot of my credit score, and it was free. I wanted to see how much damage had been done to our credit, before purchasing a home.
Wells Fargo App:
This one might seem like a no brainer, but it’s often overlooked. Download your personal banks app (for me that’s Wells Fargo) and check it every single day. This will help you monitor everything going in and out. This is an easy way to track your finances
This is the newest app that I’ve come across to help in my frugal fox journey. After entering in your bank’s information, Digit will analyze your accounts for a few days. Based on your spending and income, it will automatically draft money into a digit account. Think of it as savings without thinking about it.
I think about those seven months of uncertainty often. Although I hope no one has to go through the same experience we did, it made us stronger people. Now, we’re starting to build something that will make our lives better. Paying off our debt is just the first step to building wealth and being able to afford what you want in the long run. This experience has helped me take responsibility for my finances and make my life a bit easier.
To follow Virginia on her journey to become debt free, click here.
*This article was written as a gust post on the blog http://www.andthekitchensink.net