freedom finances

One step closer to being DEBT FREE – How I paid off my credit cards in 1 year

one step closer to being debt free!.png

I paid off my last credit card today.

Holy shit… I just need to say that one more time.

I. PAID. OFF. MY. LAST. CREDIT. CARD. TODAY.

that damn card has been the bane of my financial existence since I got it in my early twenties!

How To Scam College Age Kids and Make Billions: Teach them nothing about money management or compounding interest, then give them thousands in unsecured debt and tell them it means they’re rich!

I’m pretty sure that’s the handbook of the banking industry. I’m on to you fuckers!

But I digress…

It’s finally paid off! I feel like doing a jig! Too bad my heritage is Scottish; I’ll have a shot of scotch instead 😉

My credit card payoff journey

At the beginning of 2016, I started listening to Dave Ramsey. And what I heard was revolutionary to me! People paying off insane amounts of debt and saving insane amounts of money using super simple financial principles that I was never taught.

WHA…?!?!

Their stories made me feel like my measly 20k was manageable! So I started following Dave’s Baby Steps:

  1. Save $1000 in a baby emergency fund
  2. Pay off all debt from smallest to largest

By the end of that year, with my tiny paychecks, I paid off T-Mobile. That bill was for a bunch of junk the sales clerk shoved in my bag when I bought a new phone and, when I protested, she told me was free with my phone purchase… It turns out it wasn’t free. She was padding her sales. Did T-Mobile rectify the situation? Nope. So I was stuck with the bill. It felt SO good to pay off that last T-Mobile payment!

Then at the beginning of 2017, I decided to start in on on my credit cards.

I performed what Dave calls “plastic surgery” at the beginning of last year and cut up all of my credit cards so I’d stop using them.

  • Victoria’s Secret at $300… chopped
  • Maurice’s at $300… sliced
  • First Bank at $1500… julienned

I’m super grateful I only had those three! I can’t imagine those poor people with 20k on just ONE card!

How I paid off my credit cards in 1(ish) year

Dave Ramsey advocates budgeting, which is a great idea since you should always know where your money is going.

That being said, I suck at sticking to a budget.

It’s a good thing I don’t have a whole lot of recurring bills, so it makes it easy for me to know where my money goes… Hello Jamba Juice!

I still try to budget with the trackers I made (<— Click to get them. It’s free and I promise, they’re totally helpful), and I followed Dave’s advice about starting with the smallest debt first, but I also came up with what I thought was a clever idea to help me throw more of my money at my debt:

Any time I offered to pay for something for somebody, like a coffee or lunch, if they refused, I’d immediately put that money toward the principle on my credit cards! It’s money I would have spent anyway, so I wouldn’t miss it and I’d be digging myself out of debt faster. WIN!!!

It worked like a charm! I was dropping $5 here and $20 there onto the principle and, thanks to some serious overtime and a bump in pay, I dropped the final $983 needed to pay that sucker off!

The next phase

Now all I have left are my car and student loan. I’m considering selling my car and buying a cheapie so I can pay off my student loans and be DONE! However, I do need something reliable for my adventures. So now I’m having this conundrum:

Just pay off the $6700 left on my Nissan or sell it and buy an older Honda CRV that can carry camping gear and is lifted enough to go off-road?

Decisions, decisions…

love and dirt,

Sarah Marie

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