Homeownership Guidance, Advice and Blogs

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

Week 4 of your debt payoff: I deserve it

I hate saying no to myself!

I eat relatively healthy, work hard, try to limit how much I go out to eat, and don't buy expensive clothes. So when I really want something, I really feel I should have it. This happened constantly while I was getting out of debt.

During those two years it seemed like everything hot, fun, unique, interesting or one-time-only occurred. And when it wasn't one of those, something essential, that I hadn't budgeted for, needed to be paid. Yet I'd put all my money towards my debt for that month, so the only way I could pay for it was to use a credit card or work more at my side job which was not always possible. What made it worse is that people around me who were NOT getting out of debt kept encouraging me to "enjoy life," even if that meant using the same credit card that I was working so feverishly to pay off.

Saying no to myself was far harder than earning more money. Saying no to non-frivolous expenses was even harder. Saying no to once-in-a-lifetime experiences was the hardest. Yet I did all three.

The one frivolous expense I did allow myself while getting out of debt was getting my nails done every two weeks. That gave me something to look forward to and was completely worth it. I also reserved $5 a day for any miscellaneous expense. That meant that if I got a $25 parking ticket I had to use 5 days of funds to pay for it, but if nothing happened, I could buy a latte or new makeup. It was a nominal amount, but preserved my sanity during those years.

I'm no more disciplined than others, I simply had a vision for a greater life. I refused to live life worried about paying bills, having creditors hounding me at work, or even stuck in a job that pays well when I really want to quit and start my own business. It was the desire for peace that drove me not to spend, even when I knew I'd earned it.

Next week we'll focus on the final thing you'll need to pay off your debts: get the team on board.

And so it is.