The following blog post is part of the The Road to Financial Wellness Blog Tour. Over a period of 30 days, the Phroogal team will go to 30 locations to raise awareness about financial empowerment. Today they will be in Seattle! Our goal is to help people learn about money by starting the conversation. We understand that local conversations can help bring about national awareness.
If you are in the Seattle area, stop by and say hi to the Phroogal team! This event takes place from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM and will be at the Calamus Auditorium at Gay City, 517 East Pike St., Seattle, WA 98122.
Growing up, I always had dreams for the future. I assumed my life would go something like this:
- Go to college
- Buy a new car
- Have a big wedding
- Purchase a home
It never actually crossed my mind that I needed money for any of these things! Not to mention that everything on this list requires a lot of money.
Fast forward to today and I can cross three things off this list. I went to college for free, received a new car for graduating college and purchased a home, thanks to help from my parents.
I was living in a naive world with no real idea how things worked. I had no real bills and I enjoyed living on Easy Street.
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Fast forward to today and things have definitely changed:
- I went back to college and earned another degree, but now have over $30,000 of student loan debt.
- I still have the same car from graduation, but just last month I had to take her in for her first major surgery. That repair cost me over $1,300 and she still has a few more things she needs done.
- I still have my first home, but now my brother lives in it.
While I have most of these things under control, the one thing that scares me is debt. Having student loan debt or any kind of debt is a little frightening. I also worry how this will burden me over time.
My biggest fear is letting debt dictate my life. I want to be in control of my life and be able to make smart financial decisions.
I also want to enjoy money and have a healthy relationship with my finances. I don’t want to hate money because of my debt.
Because of this fear, I’m working hard to pay off my debt. Sometimes I am only able to make the minimum payment. Other times I send in a little bit extra with my payment.
I used to get down on myself for only being able to pay a little extra on my student loan debt, but realized that is a negative attitude. Instead I have the attitude that every penny counts!
I’m also taking charge with how much money I earn. The more money I earn, the more I can use to pay off my student loans!
When I have time, I side hustle and earn extra income in addition to my day job. Being proactive has helped me take control of my finances.
While the road in front of me might be a long one, I am happy that I have started the journey towards paying off my student loans and reaching financial independence. Every day I get a little bit closer to the goal of financial wellness and living the life I want.
I appreciate the change in attitude there Kristin! When you said “every penny counts” towards your student loans instead of being bummed over making only the minimum payment. I have been down when I compare myself to other people out there who have paid off their loans in record time and here I am with my 3 year pay off plan. However, I’m breaking out of that and attempting to focus only on my progress. Some days are harder than others 😛
Thanks Jaymee! I’ve had to really work on not getting mad at myself when I see others just crushing it when it comes to paying off debt. 3 years is awesome!
Aja McClanahan says
Congrats on your success. We made total debt freedom in 2013 and it feels amazing to have no mortgage, car notes or student loans hanging over our heads. It’s the way to go!
I agree! I just hit the 10 year mark on my house (my brother currently lives in it back home), so I have 20 left. My goal is to finish my student loans, I can’t wait!
Abigail @ipickuppennies says
I remember how frustrating it could be to sometimes only pay a little extra each month. Like you said, every penny counts.
Things may be too tight to do this, but consider starting to put any money you “save” into an account. As in, if you had to the money to spend $20 on something but got $1 off, put it in the account. That way, you’ll have a little extra to put against the loans each month.
Good idea! I’ve been looking at savings accounts online and don’t know where to put my extra funds. I like the way you think about putting away the $1 off type thing. I’m really good about finding digital coupons, etc., but it has never crossed my mind to actually “save” the money.
That’s so great you are side hustling in order to pay off your debt faster! Right now, we just have a car loan but it’s a pretty hefty one, haha. We’re also making a plan to have it paid off by next summer. Hopefully we can reach that goal!
I need to save more for a car loan! I have a feeling it will be time for a new car in a couple years and I am nowhere near ready for that to happen!
Dane Hinson says
The first step to being truly financially free, is definitely debt elimination. I’m finally to a point where my wife and I are down to mortgage debt only and it feels great. We’ll continue prioritizing debt reduction (and therefore financial freedom) until that last mortgage payment. That day will feel incredible!
Thanks Dane! I’m ok with my mortgage payment too and I was able to nix my CC’s. I agree – I can’t wait for the day to be financially free!
Thanks for sharing. It sounds like you have some nice parents. You have two degrees then? Did you realize that the first wasn’t helpful?
Nope, I actually use both degrees haha. I primarily use my 1st degree, but the 2nd degree helped me get a salary increase and open a few more doors 🙂
Melanie @ Dear Debt says
I am currently working really hard to pay off the last of my debt. It’s tough, but I also want to be financially free. I’m ready to dream big and do new things with my money 🙂
It is really hard and somedays I get discouraged. I’m ready to do new things with my money too!