Here is a bit of background, and current stats on my debt. At this moment – 2nd March 2013 (3.07pm to be exact!) I owe:
Credit card #1 – $2377.12
Credit Card #2 – $5000.00
Personal loan – $7397.00
Total debt: $14,774.12
I have visited A LOT of websites / blogs relating to debt and getting debt free and I have seen some people’s total amounts of debt which make mine seem small in comparison However, to me this is a huge amount, especially as I pretty much have no physical assets at all to show for it. How I let this debt sneak up on me – I use the term ‘sneak up’ because it really has accumulated over the years – is something I am not proud of. For a long long time, I felt as long I was making the minimum repayments, I was getting by. But minimum payments aren’t enough if I want to end this debt relationship anytime soon. I look at the bottom of my #1 credit card statement and paying the minimum amount will take me 21 years and 5 months to repay – with interest of $3,019.40. Crazy.
I am not at all blaming anyone or any circumstances for the accumulation of this debt except my own poor credit management and refusal to get really serious about debt elimination until now.
Surprisingly, I am actually quite good at saving. And in a way, this may have contributed to the steady rise of debt. I always seemed to be saving for something – mainly travel – and to make this happen and ensure I put max into my savings account, I put minimum repayments on may cards / loan. I would also top up whatever funds I hadn’t been able to save with credit, and looking at it now, I think therein lies the issue. I am not a frivolous person, and certainly don’t seem to spend a lot of money on purchases ‘just because’.
Travel is an expensive hobby. After my most recent trip of almost 5 months in South America, I returned home almost broke – when the first pay after 7 months of not working went into my bank account, I had $20.00 left. Just in time!
Now I see that it is impossible to avoid this debt any longer. And it has got to a point where I will have to focus on this as my only financial priority for this year. So, by choice or not, I’m finally in the right headspace to do this. And be excited about getting debt free.