Kelly Blodgett launched Money Gal Coaching with a goal of serving people who, like her, were burdened by debt. You can get her tips for paying down debt on a regular basis at Bring Me The News, in addition to the Money Gal Coaching website and Facebook page. In her words, this is how she became debt-free.
I have not always been good at finances, yet I don't think any of us were. Some people are fortunate enough to have a parent who didn't believe in debt or a teacher that went outside the standard curriculum to teach about cash flowing college, but this isn't the norm and that wasn't me.
I graduated from college with around $60,000 in debt (I would tell you the number but I don't actually know, I was too afraid to know the grand total, and my loans were distributed across 2-3 providers and I never added them up).
I guess I was under the impression that they would be paid off in 10 years. That was the term I signed up for, right? Right? My loans got sold, I re-consolidated and I basically made minimum payments. I discovered that eight years later, not nearly a big enough dent was made. How could this be?
A couple of years after college I lived in Senegal, West Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. My loans were out-of-sight and out-of-mind and I was in a completely different world. Life was great!
Once I returned back to the states I worked in the nonprofit sector, let's just say that I was not rollin' in dough. I always complained that I had to pay $500 a month just on student loans, but I didn't think there was anything I could do about it.
Student loans don't go away in bankruptcy (trust me, I checked!) and I was already making my full payments. No payment plan for me. I was even that person that balanced my checkbook until I was about 29 years old (yes, pen, paper, check register, sitting in line at Target) just to be sure of every penny I had in my account so I didn't get an overdraft fee.
I lived like this for years, always stressing about how much money I had and how much money I owed – there had to be a better way. Then I learned the ways of the debt-free world, those paying off incredible amounts of debt in 1-3 years and I thought, 'if they can do it, I can too!'
I guess you could say that, in general, I fall in the "over-achiever" bucket – usually obsessed with one thing or another – and becoming debt-free was my next big obsession.
I didn't make a few large payments, I wasn't rich. I made tons of tiny payments and that's where I saw progress.
In 20 months, I was able to pay down $46,514.91 of debt. How do I know that number? For starters, life-changing days are memorable, and it wasn't difficult for me to recall the day I realized I was paying for life without saving money for my future.
Trust me, piecing my story together is much easier in hindsight than it was getting it done. But here we are today, and looking back, I would tell my younger self that there is an easier way. A way that doesn't involve interest payments. A way that involves a little bit of accountability for a lot of happiness. No more stressing about how much money I owed, or had, or didn't have. No more checkbook registers!
Join me. My story can be your story. I didn't make six figures, I didn't inherit money. I used basic, real principals to help guide me to a money-positive lifestyle and it's become my passion to share my tips to help others become debt-free.
Disclaimer: Bring Me The News will receive a portion of the proceeds from readers who purchase a service from Money Gal Coaching via our articles.