Have you ever seen that old Lending Tree commercial? It’s all about Keeping up with the Jones’. And these days, the Jones’ are in our back pocket. Our smartphones constantly keep us connected to things like Instagram and Facebook showing us what people have that we should have, too, in order to be successful. Well, guess where that landed me? Yup, that’s right, where it landed everyone else–in debt up to my eyeballs!

It started with a new job. I liked my old job–I was there for 10 1/2 years–but I wasn’t make a lot of money. No, let me rephrase that–I made enough. I didn’t let it be enough. It was a slow progression, and not done intentionally at first, but at some point I was in over my head and figured, “Oh, well, I guess this is just life.” I allowed my debts to grow and my spending to grow, and it got to a point where I either needed to find a new job that paid more, or a second job to earn a second income. I could no longer ignore the elephant in the room.

I did a lot of praying about moving on and was blessed with a new job in 2016 that offered me financial stability if I put in the work to straightening out in my finances. You see, I did a bad, bad thing at my last job. I allowed myself to live beyond my means. I didn’t get “paid enough,” but I also didn’t handle what God gave me and I spent more than I had. Yes, that also includes a lot of money in student loans! I now have a big hole to dig out myself out of.

I don’t feel comfortable going into a lot of detail, I’m very ashamed of myself and it’s a big reveal posting about it online, but I want to talk about my struggle because so many people go through this very thing and no one talks about it. It’s embarrassing not to be able to handle your money. So I may reveal more as I go along, it depends on what I’m comfortable with at the time. But I want to talk about it because I want to be able to support others trying to learn to handle their money, to dig themselves out of the hole they dug themselves into, and to learn from it so they don’t do it again. I vow to learn from this so that I am not stuck in a repeat of this cycle for the rest of my life, and I hope you learn from it, too!

As soon as I got my new job I immediately started what I called “damage control.” I paid off 2 small credit cards–and then I immediately slid backwards and put Christmas back on one of those credit cards. And then I paid it right back off. That was my big success of 2016–I made my last payment on that card on December 31st (my paycheck happened to fall on December 30th) so I ended 2016 with two less monkeys on my back.

The last couple of months I also really started to watch a lot of Dave Ramsey on YouTube. I watch a lot of videos that have nothing to do with my financial status, my age, my means, nothing. But the more I take in, the more information I have in my head as future situations arise. AND they’re really motivating. Sometimes you hear someone and you think, “I want to be there! That’s where I want to be in 5 years!” And sometimes it’s a warning to heed and you think, “Oh, no! That’s where I am headed! I can’t keep doing what I’m doing!”

It was a slow progression but this year, 2017, I decided to follow Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps. I started thinking about it last year, but I think, regardless, I would have had to do my “damage control” of paying off those two small credit cards because I needed the breathing room. I needed that relief of not having to worry about their minimum payments or balances hanging over my head before jumping head first into his program because, trust me, that was a difficult decision to make in itself!

You see, after paying off those credit cards I was getting ready to start on a third. (There’s that sense of shaming floating up…can you see it?) I was ready to jump full force into busting onto this third goal and…realize I skipped Baby Step One. It was like someone hit me. What? What do you mean I have to stop everything and save money? I felt like the momentum train hit a wall. I was so dejected for a few days–that was money I could apply towards getting rid of that credit card.

Logically, I know why you have a cash emergency fund, but I was just so ready to attack the credit card that I was just thrown off. But I’m ready to get Baby Step One accomplished so I can move on to credit card #3 and see some change start to happen!

Is anyone else following Dave Ramsey or any other financial plans for 2017?

2 Comments

  1. Way to go! Just watching you pay down your debt is motivation enough to stay out of debt. I’d like to learn how to start on the savings step.

    • Thank you!! I know where you can get some printables to help you with the savings 😀 😀 😀 I wasn’t sure about being so “open” and “honest” about it, but I’m hoping being accountable will keep me motivated and excited. It’s such a good feeling doing it, but it’s a good feeling telling people, “If I can do it, so can you!!”

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