Friday, September 2, 2011

Commandment #7: Save More Than I Spend

This commandment is straight forward, but it is changing due to reading Total Money Makeover. (See HERE.) The following story is true and embarrassing and hopefully helpful. This is the first in two+ years that I haven't been paying down debt on a credit card. During my senior year of college I got into a bit of credit card debt, nothing too bad, and once I paid it off I SWORE I would never let it happen again.

Fast forward a year or so later to my internship year and I managed to rack up thousands of dollars in credit card debt. (Gag me!) It started with one bad choice and quickly spiraled out of control. I don't even want to know how much more I had to pay in interest because of my choices. It makes me sick just thinking about it. After a while I would continue putting things on my credit card because what was another $20 on top of thousands? Ugh. (Where was Dave Ramsey to slap me around when I needed him?)

I always had a dark cloud of debt hanging over my head; it was all consuming and I worried constantly. It only got worse once my internship ended, because I had no income, but still had to pay rent and you know, eat. Everything went on my credit card. (I can see Dave Ramsey shaking his head at me.)

I was so grateful when my parents said we could move home because that meant that my expenses dropped almost completely and I could focus on paying off my credit card debt. It took over a year of living at home and working 50 hour weeks for nearly 7 months, doing manual labor in a warehouse, but in December of last year I finally paid the remaining balance off. It was such a relief to have that taken care of; a burden off my shoulders. Talk about learning the hard way.

Luckily during this time I was able to defer my student loans, which was good considering I had NO money to put towards them. The deferment was a blessing because attending a private, Christian university for 4 years is NOT cheap. Now both of those loans are off deferment and I am working on paying those off. I suppose that is where this commandment comes in; I have goals set, to pay off my loans, move out of my parents' house and become self sufficient. The only way I will reach those goals is to change how I view money. I want to work on putting off the temporary gratification for something that is more worthwhile. (Which is especially hard with Seychelle's and Red Velvet's Fall Collections!)

Last night I finished reading Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and I am excited to make a change. I want to make better choices and live a debt free life. My sister always quotes Dave to me, "If you live like no one else, later you can live like no one else." After my experiences I couldn't agree more. I never want to go back to that; I have learned my lesson and I am ready to change. So when I tell you I REALLY, REALLY want those cute Seychelle heels, you tell me no, okay? :)


While I hate that I had to go through this experience, I am actually kind of grateful that I did. (You think I'm crazy, don't you?) I am grateful because I learned SO MUCH through those financial mistakes that I made. This was one of those things that I had to learn the hard way to really get it. And believe me, I GET IT now and I know that I'm on the right track to living the life I want to live. For the first time in my life I feel like I have CONTROL of my money and financial future and it feels amazing!

1 comment:

  1. I keep a virtual post-it on my desktop that says "Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else!" It keeps me in check (most of the time!).

    I also once heard "Long-term goals over short-term satisfaction!" so I keep that on a post-it too. It's kind of scary and overwhelming when you look at where your money ACTUALLY goes. Download the app!!