$10,491 Debt Mountain. I Climbed. I Conquered in 3 Months Flat.

I'll be honest.  I didn't want to write this post.  I remember reaching out on FB a week or so ago asking if you guys would be interested in me blogging my journey but it didn't occur to me until this moment that I had to be vulnerable and let you in. Reveal that I'm not flawless, I make mistakes...I'm human.

This may not seem like a big deal if you haven't known me for very long but since I was a young child, I was bred to be "perfect" or at least above average.  I was isolated and placed in classes for the "gifted and talented". I rode a "special" short bus to go on numerous field trips and I was strategically taught subjects earlier than other students to help me get even further ahead.  I went to a performing arts governor's school where I majored in Musical Theatre and did so well that I entered college with 24 credits. I don't say all this to brag. I honestly thought I was immune to major mistakes since I didn't suffer any major consequences until my senior year.  

The easiest way to slip into debt is to think that you're above it. Pride and ego are the root cause of so many major issues because it blinds you from stumbling blocks that are right in front of you. The smartest person in the world can have the worst sense of money management.  Debt doesn't discriminate, it can affect us all.

SENIOR YEAR I MADE A CHOICE THAT ALTERED MY LIFE FOREVER. I BECAME PARTNERS IN A SMALL BUSINESS AND QUIT MY JOB.

After my husband and I launched our company Life Focus Pictures we ventured into unknown territory.  Real life decisions that had major consequences but ultimately our passion for being our own boss kept us afloat. 

 Oh 2012.  Back when I thought a vinyl banner could double as a table cloth lol.  This was right after we got engaged about 6 months into our business.

Oh 2012.  Back when I thought a vinyl banner could double as a table cloth lol.  This was right after we got engaged about 6 months into our business.

ENTER THE DREADED SAM'S CARD.

As filmmakers we found ourselves going to Sam's Club often for crafty and props.  So it was a natural progression to eventually "upgrade" and get a Sam's Credit Card.  Trust me when I say this...there is only one right way to use a Sam's Credit Card without getting crushed under the weight of the extreme interest rates.

THE WRONG WAY

Use it each time you visit Sam's to stack up reward points and pay the minimum balance, keeping track of when those pesky Black Friday promotions expire hoping you'll have the money by the time they come due.

THE RIGHT WAY

Pay off the card immediately after shopping IN YOUR CAR.  This is important because the minute you leave Sam's you will forget about that store credit card and you will lose the will to pay off the balance in full. 

If they have a promotion, budget monthly payments for that incredible 0% interest deal and treat it like a guaranteed monthly bill.  If you don't, the offer will expire, the back interest will knock you senseless and you'll be forced to make HUGE payments just to get your head above water.

Trust me, I speak from personal experience.  After the promotion expired and I realized the $500/month payment was basically making a $125 dent in the principal, something had to give.  On March 1st, 2017 I set the goal to pay off that stupid Sam's Card in 90 days.   On June 7th, my stomach dropped as I made the single largest online payment of my entire life.  I'll admit it felt awful BUT a couple weeks later I felt amazing when I didn't have an automatic draft from Sam's Club and I hope I never do again.

First Payoff - Sam's Club.JPG

WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND YOURSELF CRIPPLED BY DEBT PAYMENTS:

  • Get serious about a monthly budget that includes required monthly giving ON TOP OF TITHES if you're a Jesus loving person like myself. For me that looks like 20% of our paycheck gone off the top.  You have to prioritize saving.
  • Slim down your budget as much as you can.  ALWAYS call your cell phone provider to see if you can negotiate a lower plan as part of the slimming process.
  • Figure out if your true motivator is slaying debt or making money.  They are not the same thing.  If you find it more fulfilling to pay off debt than make more money like me, focus on that.  You'll pay off more in the long run.  That mindset shift changed everything for me.  Instead of putting this giant weight on my shoulders to perform and make more money, I was able to focus on self control and critical thinking with the money I already had. 

My biggest tip for you hands down is become an entrepreneur.  Even if it's a side hustle at night or on the weekends, you will need to take on extra work to make a serious dent like we did. Without my businesses, I would have NEVER been able to spare $10k in 3 months working a 9 to 5.  I won't leave you hanging.  I'll teach you the ways of multiple streams of income but this is where you've got to start.  Accepting the fact that your job alone may not do the trick quick enough.  The secret to debt freedom is move like the wind.  Outrun the interest monster and freedom will soon be on its way. There's no ceiling when you're your own boss.  That's the blessing and you can certainly use that to your advantage if you understand how.

That's what my blog is for ;)  Stay tuned for more :)

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Photo by Andrew Collins on Unsplash