“Hello, thank you for calling Discover card, this is Jessica speaking. Who am I speaking with?”
“Hi Jessica, this is Iris.”
“How can I help you?”
“I would like you to tell me the amount that I owe in total, with interest.”
“Well, the amount changes depending on what day you decide to pay. See, you are charge everyday with interest. When are you planning to pay it off?”
“Okay, well I can help you with that.”
That day I paid off my credit card, and a burden was taken from my shoulders. For the first time I felt my independence was official, because I was able to handle my business and in doing so I became financial aware.
Just to make things clear, I have been here before; I paid all my credit cards off, I have done my miss independent dance, and celebrated my debt free moment. Then some-how I would find myself back into the same situation again and again.
So what is so different about this time? Well, what I realized is those times I accomplished a goal to get rid of debt, but I did not accomplish the goal to have a debt free lifestyle. My mind was still stuck on the idea that I can buy what I want when I want. This time my mind set had changed and I had to change the way I look at money.
That day, was not about just getting rid of my credit card debt, it was a celebration of my new definition of money. Money is the source to independence, that allows you to do things for yourself and others. To make money is a blessing and the wisdom to respect money is the beginning of a beautiful relationship. That’s right, you have a relationship with money, that is either bad because you don’t understand how it works and can work for you; or it’s a good relationship build on the understanding, if you take care of it, it will take care of you.
Here are the steps I took in getting to know my money better:
- Be aware of your finances. Don’t bury your head in the sand and ignore the painful numbers. Look at how much money you are spending in ratio to how much money you are making. Write all your debt down and put it in a place where you can see it often, like your wallet. Now every time you grab for that credit card you will see a reminder of all the money you owe.
- Stop spending money you don’t have. How do you know you don’t have it? This is simple, do you owe someone money? Yes? Then you don’t have it. Do you have at least 8 months of savings in your account? No? Then you don’t have it. If you don’t have it, then find out what is stopping you from getting it. For some women, its their addiction to shopping for clothes and shoes. For me it is the desire to eat good food. I would buy food almost 5 days out of the week for lunch along with snacks and smoothies. I spent much of my money sitting with my girls or by myself indulging in some fancy restaurant. To reach my goal of no more credit card debt, I sacrificed what I spend the most money on. I started cooking my lunch and bringing my snacks and drinks from home. I would go to the nice restaurants on special occasions. I didn’t stop cold turkey, but I slowed down a lot. I felt the difference instantly, seeing that my spending money lasted longer.
- A little hard work, never hurt anyone. Some people bring in a little extra cash with a side hustle. For me it was doing overtime at my 9-5. I could have found better things to do with my time, like write. Instead, I sacrificed with a goal and worked extra hours even when I didn’t want to. It was worth it.
- Finally… stay focus on realistic goals! Write down money you owe. Next, write down how much money you can put towards your debt, every month. Make sure the amount you choose to put towards your debt will not interfere with your other bills or savings. Be realistic about how long it will take to get rid of your debt and be ready to sacrifice and FOCUS!
Here is a video, just of how I am feeling right now.