When my husband and I were dating, being debt free was not on our radar. We were just two twenty-somethings who were deeply in love and our love could conquer the world. Or so we thought. I became pregnant soon after we were married and this brought us to face our looming debt. We had to take care of someone else and how on earth were we going to do this with debt payments of $1,400 a month? Facing your truth can be hard, and it was hard for us. When we totaled all of our debt (which we had never done before), we had over $111,000 that we owed other people. After the initial wave of nausea (is that morning sickness or panic setting in?), we immediately buckled down and created our first budget. After months of absolutely hating our budget, I grew to love it. Heck, I even looked forward to working on my budget. You see, having a budget made me finally feel like I had control over my money. I knew that after all my bill payments I would have enough money to buy groceries and anything else needed for the rest of the month. There were no “what ifs.” Instead of my money controlling me, I was controlling my money.
The journey was not always an easy one. There were surgeries to pay for, broken cars to fix, and times when I just didn’t want to be the adult anymore. Through it all, we stuck to our goal and focused on the light at the end of the very long tunnel. In August 2016 we made our last and final payment to a student loan company. The feeling of being free from debt did not hit all at once, instead, it was a gradual build.
So here’s the thing: looming debt can be paralyzing. It’s honestly much easier to not think about it and just simply make your monthly payments. But when has life been easy? Instead, I’d like to encourage you to face your financial truth. Add it up and develop a plan on how you can take back control of your finances. Sit down each month and create a budget. Have the discipline to stick with it. Then you won’t just see the light at the end of the tunnel, you’ll be in the light.
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