While many bloggers in the personal finance community have horrific stories of mounting student loan debt, terrible accidents that force them to turn to credit cards, and massive medical bills, my story of accumulating debt is far simpler.
I graduated with a four-year journalism degree from the University of Georgia (GO DAWGS!) in 2008 with nary a loan to my name. Although I was the first person in my family to attend college, a combination of merit-based scholarships, government grants given to students from poor backgrounds and working three part-time jobs helped me through university financially unscathed.
Basically, I was really, really lucky.
So, what was the source of my fiscal woes?
1.) I got divorced.
2.) I didn’t plan ahead and ended up owing the tax man thousands of dollars. So I had to take out a personal loan in 2013 to pay the CRA. (More on that idiocy and bad decisions in a separate post.)
In early 2014, I found myself a soon-to-be divorcé in debt to the bank to the tune of $6,000. Tack on some credit card debt and add a dash of poor decision making for good measure, and my total debt hit just under $8,000.
I had spent months reading personal finance blogs, trying to convince myself to get my act together. And in Feb. 2014, I finally decided I couldn’t stick my head in the sand any longer. I would use the advice from some of my favourite bloggers to tackle my debt once and for all while building up an emergency fund.
I used the tactics of annihilating my smallest debt first and the debt snowball method to aggressively pay off that debt with a deadline of Dec. 2015. I’m happy to report I managed to pay off the balance in October, just eight months after setting my original goal.
And now I’m doing my best to remain debt free.