I saw Oprah’s debt diet show a few years back since my friends were one of the couples getting help. Seeing people I knew going through financial struggles helped me wake up to the fact that I was doing some of the same things. I was $40k in debt. I had $20k in student loans and no degree & not doing anything with the education I received. The other $20k was just dumb stuff I had thought i had to have in my early 20’s.
I had to move out of my apartment that I loved and move in with a roommate (yuck). I ended up moving in with my boyfriend and he didn’t charge me rent. This was about 4 years ago. Last year when I turned 30, I knew I had to do something. I got some audio books on personal finance and I pulled my credit report – after crying at how low my score was, I called some of the creditors to make arrangements and I set up auto pay with my bank. A few little debts taken off my report right away. My score went up 1 point. I was so excited. I had called some of the other creditors and let them know I would be making small payments and to my great surprise most of them settled with me for a fraction of the cost. More came off my report and the score went up.
I started doing this almost a year ago and I went from owing $40k down to $14k. I got a “starter credit card” and use that to pay my debt off and make one payment to the credit card company. That has established good revolving credit as well as getting my student loans up to date. Then, I quit getting lattes in the morning and going out to lunch everyday. I even found a hairstylist that charges a fraction of what I was paying before. I started visiting my local library instead of buying books online and working in a food co-op so I got great deal on fresh produce.
I have felt a huge relief in my life with having the majority of my debt gone, my score going up, and finding ways to support my community.
Thank you for all of your advice and help. It has truly helped!