Today we have a post from Carly at The Milspouse Foodie. Carly is just beginning her debt journey, but has already made some awesome progress and realizations. You go girl!
In many ways, I am an ordinary millennial. I am young, just out of college, and I am ridden with student loan debt.
About 12 months ago, I was required to start paying on my $38,000+ student loan bill. So I did. I paid minimum payments and didn’t really think much of it – owing student loans is a regular part of adult life, right?
Then 6 months later I checked my account and saw that my balance was STILL $38,000 and some change. I had been paying these off for 6 months and hadn’t even moved the needle. Not one little bit.
It was February of 2014 and a little seed started to grow in my mind. “Exactly how much do we owe?” I wondered. So, I tallied it all up.
I had been married for 2 years and had amassed over $6k of consumer debt in those two short years. My new husband and I had opened up six credit cards between us to pay for a dining room table, a new TV, and much more. We were so excited about our new furniture, our new life, and even our new credit cards.
I distinctly remember a phone call with my in-laws in which they offered to help pay for our furniture, knowing that we were broke newlyweds. What did we do? We turned them down! We smiled and replied that we needed to buy this furniture in order to“build our credit.” Looking back, I just laugh at myself for saying those words. We bought into all the lies and now we owed a lot of money for all of our new stuff.
I stared at the screen, looking at our total debt – $44,000. This is the moment that I became a not-so-ordinary millennial. I had realized that this was not the way that I wanted to live.
I had recently been texting a friend of mine about each other’s DIY home décor projects and renovations. She shared with me that she also has a secret passion for personal finance. My friend had been debt free for a year and was now on the fast track to early retirement. I had no idea she was this passionate about money! She opened the door to me and invited me into this personal finance community, teaching me about debt snowballs, investments, and early retirement. After a little bit of head knowledge and with her help, I set out on a self-induced journey to financial freedom.
Present day brings us 8 months into our journey and we’ve paid off over 35% of our debt. My husband is currently deployed with the US Navy, so we’re both sacrificing financially and otherwise to make this debt payoff happen. I can’t wait until he returns and we’re on the home stretch to debt freedom. At that point, we won’t be tied down to loan payments, I can work where I’m passionate, and the door of opportunity swings wide open.
That’s what I’m most looking forward to and what I hope to communicate with my millennial debt-ridden counterparts. By being chained to debt, we can’t open those doors of opportunity. We can’t be free to live life on our own terms. That’s what I’m seeking in financial freedom – the ability to make choices based on how I want to live my life, not because I owe people money.
Carly is a millennial military spouse who writes about delicious food, military spouse life, and getting out of debt. She is a full-time graphic designer and lifetime foodie. Carly is currently working her way through $44,000 in debt while her husband is deployed with the US Navy. You can follow her debt journey & more at www.TheMilspouseFoodie.com