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. Here is her latest story:
After I finished college, I did what a lot of broke 20-somethings do. I moved to the city, got a full-time job making very little money and made up for my inflated lifestyle with a waitressing gig five nights a week.
I had around $60,000 in student loan debt, a number so big that I couldn’t even comprehend it as a 22-year-old. Combine that scary number with a society that tells you “student loan debt is good debt” and “debt is a part of life," and I had accepted my fate.
Instead of more efficiently managing my finances, I worked to enjoy life and put my debt on auto payments. For around eight years it was out of sight and out of mind. I tell you this because I think a lot of us feel that way, especially when we're convinced we don't have options and believe debt is a fact of life.
It wasn’t until my late 20s that my monthly debt payments were becoming an issue. How was I supposed to buy a house or save for a wedding with this much debt? Let’s be honest, I wasn’t close to either of those things but I wanted to be ready once I was at that point in life.
I started talking about my money struggles with peers and I learned of an entire community of people paying off large amounts of debt, in relatively small amounts of time. These people were living my dream and I couldn’t believe it took me so long to find them!
I quickly tallied up my debt and there it was, the number that I had been avoiding for a long time – the amount between me and my new debt free life: $46,514.91.
I created a budget. At the time it was more like a list of bills, and I committed to a number that I thought I could afford to pay extra towards my debt each month.
I had a target date that I was going to be debt-free but once I started to see progress, I cut the time in half. Not because I was making a ton of money but because I quickly realized how much money I was actually wasting a month. Going out to eat, new clothes, alcohol. All the things!
I was making progress and I was seeing first-hand the impact of paying extra towards my debt. I also began playing around with a few debt-free calculators online and calculated the impact of every extra dollar I paid. This became my motivation to bump up my payment to something bigger, yet manageable. It allowed me to shed years off my debt-free journey.
Each milestone was cause for celebration and motivated me to pay even more. Quickly my amount owed was $40,000, then $30,000 and eventually single digits and gone!
My budget evolved over time and became the source of my success, as cheesy as that sounds. I was able to prioritize the things I loved most, like going out to eat with friends or road trips with my partner and pup, while still paying down debt.
Some months I paid more and some less, but the goal was there and my mind was set that my future life was so much more important than the life I was living that made me more broke.
Becoming debt free doesn’t happen by accident and it doesn’t happen overnight. I had to learn what a budget was and how to stick to one. If you can’t relate to the word budget, I was right there with you! I mostly wanted to know how much extra I could be sending towards my student loans and it just so happens a budget tells you that, who would have thought!
Ready to dive into your money goals but want a bit of help? Schedule a free call today and let’s chat. This is an investment into your future. Your future self will thank you.
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.