I’ve been tracking my family’s monthly debt totals for just over two years, with an eye toward repayment. Unfortunately, this strategy has been an unmitigated failure, and our debt has more than tripled in that time. (GULP.) Of course, this probably has to do with the fact that tracking has been my only debt repayment strategy. Sure, I try to minimize spending, coupon, meal plan, etc., but I haven’t ever really made debt repayment an intentional goal.
Well, there’s that whole issue of the debt – and I’m just talking credit card debt here – tripling over the last two years. But what really motivates me is fear. First, I’m fearful that we’ll be swallowed up by the debt and won’t be able to get out. We have over $50,000 in credit card debt, so that’s not an unrealistic fear. I’m also fearful that I won’t be able to teach our four year old daughter sound money management skills because I won’t want to answer any of her questions about our finances. And how can I teach her if I’m not a role model? I’m fearful of financial emergencies, like a major car repair or medical bill, because we will have to take on more debt to pay for them. And in the longer term, I’m fearful of not being able to retire comfortably, or to help our daughter pay for college in any meaningful way. Pretty scary, right?
What Got Me Going on This Path
Over the past couple of months, I’ve developed an interest in personal finance, particularly blogs. I love hearing other people’s stories and learning their tips and techniques. I also really love the support I’ve found on these blogs and social media sites. My husband, the primary earner in our family, is on-board with the idea of paying down debt, but neither understands the true scope of the problem, nor wants to fully commit to going all-out to deal with it. Like I said, he wants to pay our debts as quickly as possible, but he wants to leave room for fun, too. I, however, believe that we’ve had our fun and must now get down to business.
Through some of these personal finance blogs, I’ve learned about Dave Ramsey and his Baby Steps. In fact, I just finished reading his book, Financial Peace Revisited. (Borrowed from the library, of course!) I really like not only his approach to achieving financial freedom, but also the whole “peace” part of his plan. I’ve woken up in the middle of the night scared about our finances, so I recognize that debt is robbing me of peace. And I want to get it back.
Why Blog About This Stuff?
As I mentioned above, I really like the support I’ve found on other personal finance and debt-focused blogs and sites. And I could use all the positive energy and support I can get as I tackle, really tackle, our debt. Also, I believe that writing about our debt repayment in a public space will help keep me accountable.
So please join me on this journey, send lots of positive energy my way, and share your knowledge and experience with me!