How I got here.

Well, it all started with my parents.
It was August 2007 and I had just arrived home from a summer abroad in Europe. My parents sat down my sisters and me and told us they were in debt. I knew we always struggled with money, but I had no idea that we were in debt, much less serious debt. Try $300,000 in debt. This included a mortgage, credit card debt, and student loans.

I guess you could say my personal finance fascination (or desperation?) began at that moment. I decided to help pick up my student loans since it was, after all, my education. I withdrew from school for a semester to work full-time. In order not to incur any more debt, I paid for all of my rent, food, tuition and fees. The last semester of classes I needed a little help from my parents, but still maintained at least a 20 hour work week while taking 18 credit hours of classes.

Today
I graduated from college May 2008 and moved June 1st to a new city (in the mid-atlantic region) for a new job (marketing-related), where I currently work today. I had $13,800 in debt, maybe $800 in savings… but as we all know security deposits and moving expenses deplete budgets and left me with nothing. When I finally received my first grown-up, big-girl paycheck in July 2008, I began whacking away debt.

My parents have been a huge inspiration to me in this process. Of course I was very hurt that they hid so many money issues under a facade of a comfortable and luxurious lifestyle, it is amazing where we’ve come today. They sold the home we had been living in for 18 years, moved into a rented home provided by a local church, and both got part-time jobs. A year and a half later, they are down to $20,000 left in debt (this includes $8000 I still owe them) and have moved into a foreclosure home in the country.

My Hope
My hope is to never ever ever feel that hopeless, out-of-control feeling again. I began reading finance books and got entrenched in reading personal finance blogs. All of the other writers seem so natural, down-to-earth, and, well, nice! I figured I could use this blog as an outlet to communicate my personal journey of getting out of debt and on to a secure freedom. So enough about the past. Let’s get started!

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  • It sounds like you are going in the right direction. I only wish, I had that wake up call sooner. You will be debt free very soon. Keep up the good work.

  • Hey something is messed up with your commenting on wordpress

    Check it out.

    It cuts the comment page thing in half

    Anyway, great story – can’t wait to see what happens in your journey to be PF savvy!

    Fabulously Broke in the City
    Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver.

  • Good luck with your goals. Your site looks great so far (I just read the whole thing). Keep it up and I’m going to keep reading to see how you get on. If you need anything just holler! :)

  • Hi! I just found your blog after doing a google search on anonymous blogging. (I’ve been trying to figure out how to have a blog that is just for me without feeling like I’m hiding something from my family.) Anyway…. to see that your blog is written about getting out of debt was so awesome! I just had a good cry fest today over my financial state. I’m a junior in college, have about $6000 in debt and will most likely rack up more because I plan to go to grad school. My mother has always had money problems and it has been my biggest fear that I will follow in her footsteps making the wrong financial decisions. Today was a wake up call when I checked my bank account and realized that I had only $20. Pay day is another two weeks away and I have about $300 worth of bills due next week. I pretty much freaked and have been trying ever since to figure out how to get back on track. I am excited to go through and read your blog because you are a 20 something (like me) and very down to earth. Hopefully I can learn something that will help me.

  • Hi Kimberly. Thanks so much for sharing this information on here! First off–I know exactly what it’s like to panic and feel that horrible dread knowing you don’t have enough money in your account to live on. It’s a scary, not-at-all-fun place to be.

    Since you have a ways until your paycheck comes, see how frugal you can live until it comes. Of course if you need to use your credit card, do so, but only for those dire situations

    The best place to start is to create a budget for the next month. Figure out all of your income–whether it’s money from parents or your paycheck or even monetary gifts that you get. Then figure out what you NEED to spend on each month–rent, groceries, gas, insurance, etc. Then look at what you have left–if any–and from there that’s your discretionary spending money. It sounds so simple, but I gotta tell you it is hard work to master! Perhaps I’ll post a more detailed entry about how I budget.

    The next step is to begin to save some money. Since you’re in school, I’d start with at least $500 of savings as an Emergency Fund for things like car repairs or unexpected emergencies that come up. The key is to only touch it for emergencies–buying a new pair of shoes doesn’t exactly fit that description no matter how adorable they may be. ;)

    As for your debt, is this consumer debt (credit cards) or student loans? That can make a big difference in the amount of interest that will accumulate over time. The first step on debt is to make sure you stop it before it grows even further–a budget will help. After that create a plan to start paying it back. Do you have to go to grad school? I’m actually ok with education loans as long as your masters will directly benefit your future career. Just going for the sake of going isn’t a good reason.

    Feel free to email me if you’d like more information: myprettypennies@hotmail.com. I’ve TOTALLY been there and so I’m pretty passionate about helping others conquer this stuff. You can do it! All it takes is a couple of small baby steps and before you know it you’ll be headed in the right direction. Please let me know how I can help!!

  • I’m starting from the beginning of your blog. (I’m obsessive compulsive about reading blogs from beginning to present day before I read them religiously.) So I know this comment is a year late, but your parents sound very responsible now! I’m glad they turned their story around.

    My grandparents are in a dire situation with credit card debt, but instead of taking the responsible road, they ran out and bought a new truck last month! Some people just never get it.
    .-= Red´s last blog ..June goals =-.

  • I am revived again. Your story is soooo inspirational and I am uber excited for you, especially that you’ve acquired great financial principles and habits while still young. I see you got married recently, so you can look forward to being better equipped to train a child! :-) I found your blog just yesterday and I will surely be spending more time here.

    My husband and I (married also in 2010) do have debt, but it’s all student loans. Sometimes I feel like there isn’t more I can do beyond having consolidated my loan, to pay it off faster! (We’re building savings simultaneously). Any advice to share on this?

    Thanks in advance!