If you are like me you probably have roughly $20,000 debt you are eternally paying off.
Never ending monthly payments and interest seem to be keeping you broke even though you have a good paying job.
Student debt is becoming a national crisis with more graduates than ever leaving college thousands of dollars in debt and no job prospects to speak of.
We had been plugging along nicely paying off our minimum monthly payments but there seemed to be no end in sight.
Denial About Debt
I was in denial about our debt. Financial struggle is something that we hear about in the media but rarely from friends on a personal level. Because of this, I felt like we were the only ones struggling with large amounts of debt. I had read many financial books which were great but just seemed hypothetical. It wasn’t until a phone call with my mom that I was able to see my debt for what it was.
She told me her debt struggle when she was my age and the ups and downs of credit card debt throughout her married life. Hearing someone else’s dollar amounts of debt helped me to see that I was not alone and that getting out of debt was possible!
Examining Our Debt
It was soon after that I decided to take the blindfold of denial off and really examine our debt. I found every scrap of debt we owed and wrote them out on a paper. Then I put them in ascending order from smallest to greatest debts owed. Voila, our freedom chart was born!
Now, every month we are paying our minimum on all of them and putting as much extra as we can toward the smallest debt. Once we pay all of the smallest debt we cross it off and can see our progress. I designated red to represent debt and bondage, and blue to represent freedom from debt. When we pay a debt in full it gets marked off in blue. This way as we pay more and more the whole chart will be blue for freedom! Marked progress makes such a huge difference in your morale and stamina to keep paying debt.
Once the smallest is paid, we can put even more toward the next debt. This is how to stop the interest rates from keeping you, forever, in debt. Seeing it everyday not only is keeping us on track, but it extremely gratifying to see our progress!! I don’t want to spend the rest of my working life paying off debt.
Keeping It Real
So here is some real transparency: below is the exact freedom chart we made, dollar for dollar. You are NOT alone in your struggle to get out of debt. It IS possible to quickly get out of large amounts of debt. The picture below is the actual chart that is on our refrigerator (the only thing I took out are the companies that they are associated with). We put it on our refrigerator to remind us daily of our goal. Another reason we put it on the fridge is so that when company comes over they will see it and the social pressure will keep us accountable to continue our quest. Friends can be encouraged that they are not alone when they see it there, too!
I will every couple of months update on our progress. In the meantime, comment and tell us about your journey to getting out of debt! Do you have a freedom chart or some other method to get out of debt quickly? Would you tell friends how much debt you really have? What has worked or not worked for you?