Well hello all. If you’re reading this right now it means you found your way to my little corner of the internet, my blog. Maybe you’ve been subscribed to me for awhile, maybe you founds me through social media… however you made it here, welcome. Over the last 6 years this blog has covered everything from my time volunteering in Bolivia to my life going to Paramedic School in Alaska. If you’ve been around here for awhile you may notice a bit of a different look and purpose currently. Just as seasons change so is my blogging season, and out of this new season has grown “She’s Paying it Off.” A place where I can share about my current journey to become debt free. A place for victories and struggles, ideas and advice.
Now, without further ado, story time, or moreover the story of how I got to this place financially and why I decided to so something about it. I promise to make it concise *wink*.
Just after I turned 18 my mother took me down to the bank and helped me open my first credit card. I needed to build good credit she said and this was an important first step. A couple weeks later I left for my freshman year of college. I hadn’t worked that summer and didn’t have much disposable income at the time. I still remember my first purchase on that card, Finding Nemo on DVD. The thrill of the purchase, the idea that I could spend money even though I didn’t technically have it. Still though I was very careful with the card, typically only using it for needs. I was lucky I went to college before social media became very big (everyone was still using myspace at this time, and it was new, just to date myself) so the temptation of comparison and the luxury of online shopping wasn’t commonplace.
Fast forward 4 years to graduation. By the time I was granted my diploma for my Bachelors of Science in History I was well aware of what debt was. I had maxed that same credit card just a couple months earlier to pay for a spring break trip to Disney World and had approx $35,000 in student debt under my belt from my silly degree as well as a semester spent studying abroad. Some of you may be confused as to why I refer to my degree as silly but it really was. I had no plans to do anything with History, I just enjoyed the subject. Everyone had said I needed to go to college after high school, so I did. No one told me I should probably have some idea about what I wanted to do with my life first (trust me, I’ll elaborate on this much more later).
I assumed after I graduated college just the fact I had a degree would land me a good job and I could pay off my debt and live the life of my dreams. Spoiler alert, it didn’t. I moved back in with my parents and after putzing around for a year was hired as a second grade teacher at a school in Bangkok, Thailand. The job definitely wasn’t lucrative but it gave me adventure, something I craved more than anything. My student loans were deferred, and I had a blast for 2 years.
I won’t go into all details of my life between Thailand ( I moved back to the US in spring 2010) and when I first discovered the way, er, *cough,* I mean Financial Peace University. We’ll just say I traveled the world and made very little money. I don’t regret a minute of it but in hindsight it probably wasn’t that smart.
So on to FPU… my church always offered the class a couple times a year, but it was finally in late 2013 that I decided to take the plunge and invest $100 into the kit, and I flourished. I did so freaking well. I budgeted my little heart out and because I had few expenses (lived with my parents at the time and my car was paid off) I was able to save a lot of what I made even though my hourly wage was piss poor. I knew a life change was coming so instead of applying everything to debt I put it in savings…
Then a lot of change came. I made the decision to go back to school to get my dream job. I moved to Alaska to do that and bought a new to me car that could survive Alaskan winters. I hadn’t forgotten everything I learned in FPU, but my debt started to increase and I kept telling myself that was OK…
Now here I sit. 5 years later. I”m approx $80,000 in debt give or take, but I”m making headway. I did finish that second degree and got my dream job. I now make double what I did before which is fantastic, but I still have a long road ahead of me.
If you’ve made it all the way through my story I must say I’m impressed. I know it’s not that exciting, but it’s also so necessary on this journey. I need accountability and I’m hoping you can help me with that. I don’t know how long this journey will take, but I know I’ll get there eventually. I believe it.