Everyone faces money problems at one point or another in their lives. It may be due to loss of a job, or a medical issue. In my case, the issue was overspending. If we travel in the Way-Back Machine when I was graduating college, we will find me searching for a job. It took me some time but I found a job. It paid me $27,500. I lasted less than a month due to the super long commute and the job just not being the right fit for me. Somewhere along the way, I picked up this false notion that once I graduate college, I will find a job and make $70,000 a year. That fact that this was not the case left me with a sense of depression.
Out of Control Spending
I soothed my depression by shopping. Yes, a guy that shopped. I would buy clothes, electronics, movies, and CDs. I maxed out a credit card. That was a mini-wake up call, but not a big enough one. I thought that to solve this problem, I would open a new card, transfer the balance (this was the time when you could transfer balances for no fees). I had a nice two year 0% interest rate on the new card. Now, I can just focus on paying off that card over time. This allowed me to use less of my savings each month to pay off the debt. Problem solved. But, the problem was not solved. I didn’t even address my overspending. I quickly found me having thousands of dollars in debt on the new credit card!
My Wake Up Call
My true wake up call came one day when I was shopping. I was looking at a jacket and it was almost as if a light bulb went off. I questioned why I was buying this jacket. I had a perfectly fine jacket at home. I had no need for this jacket. I realized I was using the “high” of new items to make me feel better. The problem was that after a few days, that high went away and I was right back in the downward spiral.
I looked at all of the stuff I accumulated and it crushed me knowing what I was doing. I vowed to change my ways and I did. I came the to conclusion that it isn’t the end of the world that I wouldn’t find a job making $70,000 tomorrow. I could get there, it would just take some time.
Soon after that, I found a part time job. I began budgeting, saving a little bit from each pay check to build up my emergency fund and taking whatever was left over after expenses (which wasn’t much) to my credit card debt. A couple of months later, I found a full time job. I ended up working that job and keeping my part time job. (Note: the part time job was in retail and I was working both jobs during the Christmas season.) I was working close to 80 hours per week. It was rough, but working all of those hours made me not want to go out during my little free time. This help me to avoid all unneeded spending.
I used the entire part time earnings to pay down debt as well as a good portion from my full time job as well. It took me some time, but I eventually paid off all of that debt. Looking back now, I am grateful for the lesson learned as I think of where I could be financially had I not over spent. If you are suffering from overspending, take it from me who was in your shoes: don’t be ashamed of it. Acknowledge it and work to find the root of the issue. The sooner you do so, the sooner you can get your finances back on track.
The $999.99 Giveaway
I am joining up with a handful of other personal finance bloggers in giving away $999.99 cash! This giveaway will run through February 28th.
I am thankful for the chance to be part of this great giveaway!