What a Difference Six Months Makes

Six months ago today, I started blogging (again). My first post was one of the toughest I have ever written, but I was right about one thing: the feeling of being maxed out is something I will never forget.

When I got home from Toronto, I had two maxed out credit cards and about $700 to my name. I also had close to $600 of bill payments coming out, before my first pay day. That left me with $100 for gas and groceries and it had to last me 6 weeks.

If you’ve never thought of yourself as a creative person, take on that challenge and see what you can come up with. It’s not at all fun but you’d be surprised by how quickly (and how far) you learn to stretch your resources.

I remember eating cans of soup for a couple weeks, because they were on sale for $0.69/can. “Sorry” was a word my friends heard often, because I had no money to go out and do anything. (Imagine how much they loved hearing that, after not seeing me for months already.) And, at 25, I had to borrow $70 from my 17-year-old sister.

I checked my online banking daily, if not hourly. Worry was the only emotion I knew how to feel and no one could stop me from feeling it. And I remember crying. More than once. I was mad at myself. I felt like a failure. And I was not the role model I’d always strived to be for my siblings. But worst of all, since no one else knew about my situation, I was lonely.

And then I wrote my first post here. In that post, I declared one of the biggest goals I have ever set for myself: to pay off $1,700 of debt per month. To be honest, when I wrote it, I don’t think I really knew what I was saying! I just looked at my numbers and came up with something I thought might be doable. But you know what? It was.

I am happy to say I’m just two days away from paying off a total of $10,000 of debt. $10,000 divided by 6 months = $1,666 per month. Add some interest to my debt and I have definitely accomplished my goal. My student loan has gone from -$4,452 to $0 and my credit card debt is at -$4,200 down from -$6,500. The rest of the money has been put on two loans.

When I re-read that post last night, I started to tear up. Over -$28,000 of debt is a lot of weight for one person’s shoulders to carry. And I still feel the weight at -$18,000… but I also feel thankful. Thankful to my parents for letting me live at home for 6 months. Thankful for my readers who have helped keep me on track. And thankful for the ability to change my old patterns.

What a difference six months makes…

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