It’s been a year and a half since we started this debt free journey. Throughout that time, I have significantly changed as a person. What exactly is different about me now? Here’s the honest truth:
- My Depression is Finally Manageable – In January of 2016 I convinced myself that I could actually do this whole ‘getting out of debt’ thing. I had been battling deep depressed for the majority of the last two years. Stressed out about graduating college, planning a wedding, working an internship, moving back to Wilmington, getting a job, figuring out how the hell I was going to pay off my student loan debt. I ate and drank like crap, was on three medications, and sleep was nonexistent. It was not such a great time for Virginia Hill. When I took responsibility, made tangible goals, and began to have tunnel vision on those goals, being depressed suddenly took a back seat. We started paying off debt and saving. I could breathe again. When I converted my Instagram account, I started talking to people around the globe just like me. I made friendships with people that were accomplishing similar things. This debt free community, Dave Ramsey, and the frugal mentality saved my life. I was able to not only dig myself out of the money mess I had made, but I dug myself out of a depressive episode that lasted entirely too long.
- I Don’t Care What People Think About My Lifestyle – Unless you’re in my inner circle, which consists of my husband and my dog, I don’t give a shit what you think about me. I am well aware that people think I am obsessed with money. I know people think I’m weird for not getting a new car. I know that people may be uncomfortable around me because my view has changed on how people should manage their finances. That’s fine. I don’t care. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t bother me when some random Instagramer accuses me of being the leach on the medical industry – which is a story for another day – but I accept that people either a) don’t like me or b) don’t understand my lifestyle and then I move on with my day.
- My Love of Reading is Back – I used to love reading and then I hit UNC and that flew out the window. I love finance books! Since I don’t pay much for entertainment, books have been a source of joy again. It expands my perspective on different personal finance methods, and prepares me for future endeavors like investments and retirements savings. Thriftbooks is a fantastic resource for cheap books!
- I have a Better Relationship with my Partner – Money is a source of strain on any serious romantic relationship you have. Especially a marriage. I watched this growing up every day. When I presented my idea of getting out of debt to James, he agreed instantly and helped me cut up our credit cards at 4 in the morning. Since that day, we have been through this journey together. We’re both so excited to reach milestones and support each other. We listen to Dave Ramsey together when we make dinner, and we both are engaged in our financial life. We make budgets together and we save for purchases together. From the very first day this has been something we do as a team. My hope is that everyone can find this type of connection with their significant other. I know that road is difficult for many – I think that if this is important to you, you should open up dialogue with your partner that you’re serious about getting your financial life in order. It’s not always easy, but if it matters to you, they should stop and listen out of respect and love. Try to present it that way when working through financial kinks with your partner.
- I’m Not a Fan of Shopping – Shopping makes me uncomfortable now. I don’t want to buy things because I’m so focused on paying off debt. The nature of shopping goes against what I have been living in for a year and a half. All I think when I’m in Target now is: “I can’t believe this entire store exists, filled to the brim with all this shit people don’t need.” Add that thought to the overcrowding and stale popcorn smell, and you’ve got my worst nightmare. Spending time in stores isn’t fun anymore. I like hikes and the beach. I like just hanging out and cooking at home. I’ll spend money on food and entertainment before TJ Maxx and Home Goods. I go shopping for things I need – not as a source of entertainment. That’s how I get into trouble.