I have finally done it. I have completely paid off all of my credit card debt and it feels…amazing. On August 2nd, 2011, my checking account was negative $52.00, my savings non-existent, and my credit card debt totaled almost $6,000. I remember writing in my journal “I can’t even afford groceries or gas anymore. This week I have been eating only figs and rice, I’m starving!!” I decided a change had to happen. I picked up a second job at the restaurant I used to work at and kicked my butt into high gear.
It has been hard, really really hard. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I wake up at 4:45am to hit the gym, work at my day job for 8 hours, then work at the restaurant for another 6 to 8 hours. I have had complete meltdowns and have cried from exhaustion. I have spent many-a-lunchbreak sleeping in my car and have probably come close to overdosing on caffeine. My man and I live together and we have probably eaten a total of 12 meals together in the past seven months. I have also loved being back at the restaurant for 20 to 25 hours a week, what a pleasant surprise. Turns out waitressing aint so bad when you are not solely depending on tips to pay your bills. It became much easier to shrug off the nasty woman at table 11 who ran your butt all night and tipped you 5% on her $150 bill. Now that all of my credit card debt is gone, I am excited to keep up my pace and start fattening up my savings account.
I still owe $13,000 on my car and probably another $17,000 (at least) in student loans, but I’m chipping away at those every month. That debt doesn’t weigh on my shoulders the way credit card debt did. All day long I have been smiling, and can actually FEEL myself breathing easier.
I am so glad that I have learned the credit card lesson at such a young age. For seven months now, every single paycheck from the restaurant has gone to my credit card bill. That is seven months of not seeing a penny from a job that I spend 25 hours a week working. It is a bizarre feeling, but one I got used to rather quickly. By working so hard to pay off my bill, I have seen how burdening and detrimental a credit card really is. In the grand scheme of things, $6,000 is not a TON of money yet it took me busting my ass for seven months straight to knock it out. Mom and dad weren’t kidding when they used to lecture me on the black hole effect of a credit card. I will never be using my credit card again.
Not only has paying off my credit card been good for my bank account, it has been good for my self-esteem. Seven months ago I set off on what felt like an impossible journey. I had no idea how I was going to handle two jobs, school, a boyfriend, and still remain a semi-functioning human. Tonight as I write this, I am beaming because I have no credit card debt, over $1,000 in savings, just made Dean’s List at school, a fiance instead of a boyfriend, and am functioning at a pretty normal level, on most days. It’s funny how straightening out one part of your life (ie financial) can help all other areas grow too.
If you have found yourself in a downward spiral of credit card debt, I urge you to do something about it. Until it was gone, I didn’t realize how heavily it was weighing on my subconscious. Yes, having two jobs is difficult, but it is so worth it. Life without credit card debt feels happy. It feels easier. It feels like freedom.
As Dave Ramsey says “live like no one else, so that later, you can live like no one else.”