Happy Friday! I hope you’ve all had a good week?
Instead of my usual personal finance blog roundup post, I thought I would post something else today to break things up a little here on A Disease Called Debt.
I’m actually thinking of doing my Fab Links feature bi weekly or monthly going forwards, what do you think?
Last week, I wrote a post called The Emotional Stages of Debt: Acceptance where I defined acceptance as either giving in to debt or getting on past it.
I wanted to share with you how for a very long time, the hubby and I gave in to our debt, despite accepting that we were in a great big financial mess.
We accepted our debt – in a fashion
For years we plodded along with the heavy burden of debt at the back of our minds. Before we made any purchasing decision we had to have an internal battle with ourselves about how much we wanted this new thing as opposed to how much we really shouldn’t buy it. We still continued to spend on credit here and there even though that nagging doubt was there that we weren’t doing ourselves any favours by spending.
The more time went on, the heavier the burden became and the more prominent it featured in our daily thoughts. Thinking about the debts every day became normal for us, but not in a good way.
This feeling of owing money to our creditors took over and knowing that we were going to work and every penny that we earned didn’t really belong to us was tough. Especially as I hated my job at the time and felt stuck there because we needed the money so badly for the debts.
We kept making our minimum payments and convinced ourselves that we were doing what we could to get out of debt whilst still surviving day to day. We were resigned to the fact that we’d be free of our credit card and loan debt in around 10 years when we were in our forties. We had accepted that we were in a big mess but sort of gave in to the extremity of the situation and thought we were doing the best that we could to help ourselves.
There seemed to be no way out of debt
The hubby and I felt the pressure of the debts so much but we didn’t like talking about our debts even to each other because there didn’t seem much point in reiterating how hopeless the situation was. Talking about the debts just made us feel bad (and sad).
Around Christmas time in 2012, without realising what was happening to me, I began to withdraw from my social circle of friends, not returning phone calls and basically going for weeks without seeing any of them. I was becoming depressed and I should have recognised the signs because I had experienced depression a couple of years earlier relating to work issues.
One day, I ended up speaking to a close friend who asked me what was going on. I couldn’t pinpoint why I felt depressed exactly but every time I thought of the debts (which was every day of course), I felt a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach.
This particular friend did know about our debts and she ended up asking me about them. I cried and cried and cried. She told me I had to get them paid off. I told her that we were trying our best, but there was just no end to the amount of debt that we had. She said that there must be more that we could do and I just thought, “What does she know? She’s got no debt, no mortgage and no financial worries.” I’m ashamed to say that I felt envious of her situation compared to ours.
We chose to ‘get on’ and actually began paying down debt
After that phone call, I felt really unsettled and I started this blog shortly afterwards in January 2013 with my first post which was basically me venting my despair about our situation. I then started searching around on the internet as it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, we weren’t the only ones in a great big financial mess. And it just so happened that we weren’t.
I realised that there were many people out there in debt, some of them plodding along like us but also there were others who were actually doing things to get their debt paid off. I found Girl Meets Debt and was really encouraged by her positive attitude to debt. Until this point, I was horribly embarrassed about our debts but the more I read about how Girl Meets Debt was managing to make real progress with her debts, the more I thought that we could make progress too.
I then came across Debt Advice Blog which is a really informative blog about everything to do with debt. This site is run by Rob who is actively tackling his debt and blogging about it. I still read both these blogs today because they continue to inspire me with every post!
I also found out about the debt snowball plan for paying off debt and I found the whole idea logical about paying the smallest debts first. That evening, I had a conversation with the hubby which effectively changed our financial future.
We both started to see the possibilities in saving more money and earning extra money to pay off our debts. Once we started really trying and succeeding in making extra debt payments, it became a sort of challenge. A really good exciting challenge!
Just over a year on from when this journey first started, we’re in a much better place both emotionally and financially. We accepted our debt a long time ago, but only in the last year did we accept the true amount of debt we were in and really decide to get on with our situation rather than giving in to it. We’re experiencing some debt success at last!
If you’re reading this and you’re also in debt, I want you to believe that you can get rid of it too. You have to really want to succeed and be prepared to make financial sacrifices, but you can do it! If we can manage to change things, anyone can!
Are you on the road to debt success?
If you liked this post, why not not subscribe by email and never miss a future post?
Thanks so much to Wealth Tortoise, The Frugal Farmer and Cents and Sensibility who mentioned one of my posts recently on their site. Also a big thanks to Save and Conquer for including me in the Carnival of Financial Planning and Tuition Assist for including me in the Carnival of Financial Camaraderie. If anyone else mentioned me, please let me know so I can thank you! I don’t always get ping backs!
*Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos – Young Man On Rock Cliff End Of Way by khunaspix