When I finished college, I was in my share of personal debt. My situation, one shared by millions of new graduates, was made even worse by graduating in the heart of the 2008 recession. The recession all but eliminated entry level jobs for those of us fresh out of school.
Forced to maintain a living through part time work, I attempted to pay pills and stock the fridge with what little food I could afford. There were times when I was scraping by, waiting for the next paycheque, and I would be forced to ask myself ‘can I buy enough food this week? Should I not worry about food and pay the minimum required balance on my debts? Or should I use a credit card to fill the fridge, and use my bank account to pay down debt?’
I finally realized that this cycle I created was trapping me in a never ending circle, forcing me to tread water in a pool of debt. At that point, I decided to take back control of my life, and especially control of my bank account.
I caught a break by finding stable, full time work that allowed me to earn a steady paycheque, and lay out some realistic financial goals. I created a monthly financial plan, devoting a sizeable amount of each paycheque towards paying down my debt.
Every month I chipped away at my outstanding balance, paying down significantly more than the minimum required balance that I used to pay. That process continues today as I slowly but surely dig out of one of the most challenging holes of my life.
I realized that as long as I manage my money responsibly, debt has no control of my life. I made a silent vow that I would continue working towards a zero outstanding balance, and the satisfying feeling of freedom that will come with that $0.00 balance next to my name.
It’s been a long journey, with many bumps along the way, and still a long road ahead to travel. But I can safely say today that there is a light at the end of this tunnel, and I firmly believe that #debtisnotforever.
It’s up to me to take control of my debt, rather than allow that debt to control how I live my life. That message I hope will inspire anyone in a similar situation to build a better life. Debt does not last forever, if you are willing to put in the work, and set yourself free.