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Monday, December 30, 2013

Task 17 - Pay off Credit Card

My friends and family would likely use the term frugal to describe me but that hasn't always been the case. In fact during my younger years they might have described me as totally the opposite. I never left the house with less then $500 in cash never looked at or considered what things cost.

I lived a life in a way that needs and wants were the same thing and I never wanted for anything. That behavior definitely had its costs and I managed to collect some fairly hefty credit card bills each month. I never had any problem paying them until I had a blip in the employment area. During that time I didn't really adjust my lifestyle and actually I spent more since I wasn't working. Part of it was home remodeling that I had already planned to do and had already committed a fairly large amount of money too. So rather then paying those cards off every month as I was accustomed they built up and left me with a relatively big nut to crack.

When the light bulb in my head finally turned on I made a lot of changes in my life. Partly because if I continued down that road it would have lead to financial ruin but also because I found a new hobby. That new hobby was seeing how frugally I could live. It was strange for me at first since I had never considered what anything cost. My parents are affluent successful people and provided very well for me. When I wasn't in school I was working and as such was able to provide for myself when my parents responsibility was done. They taught me the value of money but I missed the lesson on appreciating that value and what it all meant. Not working definitely taught me that lesson.

When I found a new job I didn't change that new mind set and have continued to be more careful then I had been in the past. No more fancy 50-80k cars that I would trade in every 2 years. No more dining at super expensive restaurants every weekend and no dropping 200$ every night every weekend out at the bars. I definitely noticed a shift in my friendships too. It was then that I realized that many were just along for the ride and weren't true friends.

While a large portion of my collected debt was from home remodeling and decorating that expense was no longer needed since my condo was completely renovated and decorated. My debt was manageable with some planning I could pay it all off. I setup a budget (that used to be a naughty word) and put myself on a payment plan. Some cards vanished almost immediately and others I consolidated into a few large ones with very low rates.

I had set a goal to pay them off with out stunting my lifestyle entirely. I am a hard worker and I love to travel and I vowed not to allow my debt to stop me from enjoying life.   I didn't need to go cold turkey I just needed to learn how to do things in moderation and on a budget.  Thankfully I stayed on track and now one of those cards is down to 0$. It is liberating to know that one is gone and now I am going to take the payment I had been sending to that one and add it to the other. This will help me pay it down even faster then planned. Hopefully by the end of my extended Day Zero Project it too will be a thing of the past.

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