Talking about money, and debt especially, is scary for most people. Society tells us that money is a taboo topic that we don’t talk about but are just expected to figure out. But I’m here to make some changes in my life… so it’s time for me to get real and lay all my numbers out on the table. Let’s dive into my current debt totals and my plans for how I’m tackling paying it all off.
MY CURRENT DEBT NUMBERS
I’m just going to jump straight in here and lay out all my debt. If you followed Financial Flamingo before I took my 2-year break, these numbers might be a bit surprising. If you didn’t, here’s a past article I did about where my debt numbers were a few years ago. Things definitely changed in the time I wasn’t writing. I’m sharing these numbers to hold myself accountable to my new financial goals. I’m not happy with where my finances are right now, and the only way to make things better is to change my habits and focus on tackling this debt. Here’s my debt breakdown:
- Green Sky Loan (for foundation work we had done on our house) – $6,524.70
- Discover Credit Card – $20,115.15
- Bank of America Credit Card – $7,908.59
These numbers are all as of February 5, 2023.
MY PLAN FOR DEBT PAYOFF
So, how am I going to pay this all off? In the past, I’ve always focused roughly on the Dave Ramsey plan for my finances. However, that hasn’t worked for me so far in my life so this time I am trying a different approach. My perspective about my finances has changed a bit from the previous times I tried to pay it off, so I think a new approach is needed. I’m actually going to be using the debt avalanche method. If you want to know more about this, check out this article I wrote comparing the debt snowball plan to the debt avalanche plan.
Basically, with the avalanche method you focus on paying the highest-interest debt first. Usually, the snowball method is recommended because paying smaller debts gives you motivation and helps you build momentum. I want to look at this as more of a marathon than a sprint, however, so I think the avalanche method is going to work better for me. I feel like smaller debts kept standing in the way of me focusing on paying the debt that really bothers me – which is my Discover card.
HOW I’M GOING TO CHANGE MY HABITS
Of course, I can’t just decide to do the debt avalanche method and hope that I can put money toward my debt each month. I have to change some of my habits around how I think about and handle my money in order to make things happen.
The first thing I’m doing is reviewing and adjusting my budget – and committing to sticking to it. I budget by paycheck, and I actually do really well with creating a budget before I get paid each time. I just don’t always do great at sticking to it. To get me kickstarted with changing my spending habits, I’m also doing a no-spend month for February 2023. My overall plan to change my habits involves spending less money and budgeting the extra to go straight into debt. This way, I won’t be waiting until the end of the pay period before sending “extra” money to debt – it will just go straight to debt like a bill when I get paid because it will already be budgeted to go there.
Even though I’ve dug this debt hole for myself – especially since it’s mostly credit card debt – I am just focusing on taking one step at a time toward paying it off instead of dwelling on my past mistakes. All I can do is learn from my mistakes and try not to make them in the future. I’ve learned that shaming myself or being upset about my situation doesn’t help me get out of it! I’ll be sharing updates on my debt progress and how I’m living life along the way as I go on this journey of paying it off. Let me know what your debt numbers are in the comments and join me to change your financial future!
Learn More About Paying Off Debt:
- Debt Snowball vs Debt Avalanche Methods
- Student Loans 101
- How to Stay Motivated While Paying Off Debt
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