Debt-free Dreams

FinancialFreedom6

I’ve recently made a big change in my life: I’ve decided to become debt-free.

Luckily I’m rather frugal by nature, so I didn’t have multiple huge credit card balances like a lot of people do. But when I started my financial journey, I had almost $10,000 in student loans (from my biology degree that I’m not even using!), $5000 left on a car loan, one credit card with a ~$1500 balance, and a mortgage with ~$70,000 left to pay. Not a lot of debt compared to some people, but believe me, I could feel the weight on my shoulders!

I was tired of being in debt. I was tired of sending a car payment every month, and a student loan payment every month, and a credit card payment (or several) every month. It’s frustrating to watch all that money go sailing off in the mail as soon as I had earned it. Financial freedom sounds so good…just imagine having MOST of every paycheck available to use, instead of earmarked for other people for a bunch of debt! I could use the extra money to save for retirement, or save up for a better house, or heck, just spend some and have fun instead of watching it go down the interest drain. Sounds great, right?

The turning point came when I had a mild mid-life crisis. Ok, make that early-mid-life, I’m not *quite* middle aged just yet. 🙂 I decided to bite the bullet and follow my dreams, which requires saving up for a new house. (Note: The “following my dreams” story is a big one, and will get it’s own post later!) Saving up for a 10% down payment takes a lot of money, so I need those debts gone ASAP. The debt-free mission was born.

Step 1 was to alter Outflow: halt all unnecessary spending immediately. The first thing I cancelled was my gym membership…that really hurt because I love going to the gym, but that was $42 a month that could go to bills instead. I stopped eating out at restaurants, and stopped buying lunch at work. I completely stopped all clothes shopping with the exception of socks and underwear, and I stopped buying books, music, and videogames too, even cancelling my World of Warcraft membership. This part HURT, but it’s necessary.

Step 2 was to alter Inflow: generate some additional income. I didn’t want a second job if I could possibly avoid it, so I started thinking about what I could do at home for extra money. I have no experience with children, so babysitting was out, and I’m too shy to make my own business mowing lawns or cleaning homes. But I love to sew and draw and generally create, which are things I can do at home in private. so I decided to set up a little online shop on Etsy to sell some handmade items. It’s a lot of work, but I’m currently averaging $150-200 a month doing hobbies that I love to do anyway! (Note: My Etsy shop, PeachPod, is the inspiration for my blog title and will be the focus of a later post as well.)

Step 3 was to PAY PAY PAY! The credit card was the first to go. Then I started attacking the most annoying one, the student loans. As of today, 4/17/2014, I have $1200 left to go on my loans. I’ve been paying $600 a month on them, so that’s two months until I am free from them forever! That will be a great day. 🙂 After the student loans are gone, I’ll tackle the car loan. When it’s gone, the only thing left will be the mortgage.

It’s been a tough road, but so far it’s been worth it. I love watching those balances and interest go down, and my expendable income go up. Luckily I haven’t lost my stamina for saving, in fact, the longer I do it, the more drive I have to push through to the very end. And there’s definitely some satisfaction in saving every nickel and dime; it’s almost like a competition I have with myself to spend as little as humanly possible. And then beat that amount next month.

So that’s where I’m at. There’s still a few thousand dollars to go, but the finish line is in sight. I can’t wait to pay that last payment and be free from the burden of unnecessary debt!

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8 responses to “Debt-free Dreams

  1. You are doing amazing! .. I look forward to following and celebrating each goal with you. Thank you kindly for visiting my blog, love having new followers.

  2. Good for you! It’s a good feeling, isn’t it? When I left work to be a stay at home mom a couple of years ago, we made a lot of changes to make it economically feasible, and I don’t miss anything we gave up. We’re not debt-free either but so much closer than we used to be. I’m still working on the generating more income part–any tips for an Etsy newbie? I haven’t had much success with it yet.

  3. I enjoyed looking at your blog. I am a fellow Etsian. I am fairly new and still getting the hang of a lot of things about Etsy, blogging and my business. It is fun, though, and I really like what I am learning and becoming through my business experience. Thank you for sharing your life with us. It is inspiring and helps connect people! Check out my blog, if you have some time. Nikki
    http://www.bedheaddesigns.blogspot.com

  4. Pingback: Dreams | PeachPod Chronicles

  5. Pingback: The Property Hunt Begins! | PeachPod Chronicles

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