I feel like I say this every week, but I have to because it’s true: we have yet ANOTHER great contributor this week for Gettin’ Guesty!
Feelin’ pretty lucky up in here.
Please help me welcome:
He’s the very first gent to share his story here on And Then She Saved and I’m so happy he’s joined us. Hey, I’m all about equal opportunity and man, woman, girl, boy, don’t matter, money and financial issues abound for us all, am I right!?
Money issues don’t discriminate one bit.
Michael tells us all about his financial struggles, and how he’s overcome them.
And to that I have to shout out, “Bravo! Bravo!”
(Also, I hear that it’s his birthday tomorrow! Happy Early B-day!)
My story is familiar to many: I have a lot of debt. At my peak, I had $140,000 in student loans and $9000 in credit card debt. In the last six months, I’ve cut my credit card debt in half. Although I will still have my student loans for many years, it feels good to know that by this fall, I will have no more credit card debt.
The most significant way I have paid down my debt was to change the way I spent. I had to do more than simply say, “I’m not going to buy these things.” I had to permanently change my spending habits. It’s like going on a diet to lose weight. Eat nothing but grapefruits and you will lose weight. But is this sustainable? What should I do if I craved a hamburger and fries? What could I do to make sure the weight-loss was permanent? I would have to adopt a different way of thinking with regards to how I spent.
There are things I want and there are things I need. I need to pay off my credit card so as I started making larger monthly payments. Then I pay all my essential bills and I cling on to my money and make sure that I don’t use my credit card at all until my next paycheck.
And I want so many things. I could easily spend hundreds of dollars at the comic store. I want an iPad and a cable TV subscription with all the fixings. I want an expensive gym membership, a personal trainer, and large amounts of protein so I can become a huge man. I want to be able to follow any whim like, “I want a deluxe cheeseburger and three beers,” and then go out and get it. For awhile, I was indulging in many of these things, but I couldn’t do them all without using my credit card. Some things had to be cut. And for some things, I would find other ways to do them.
Now I cook at home and bring my lunch to work. I carry snacks with me so I won’t buy food on impulse. My girlfriend and I often make dinner or we’ll take turns if we order out. I eat more things like plain oatmeal, rice, beans, fresh fruits, and vegetables; these are very nutritious and are not expensive (especially at a grocery store like Trader Joe’s). I used to drink a lot of Diet Coke, but not so much anymore. If I drink coffee, I make it at home or drink the free coffee at work. I don’t buy coffee at coffee shops (unless I have a desire to be tweaked, but for the most part, I rein in my tweak desires). When I reached my goal weight, I ended my gym membership. I plan on finding other ways of working out; for example, I just got a deal on a month of Bikram yoga, which was cheaper than a month of my gym membership. I go to the library for books and music. I haven’t bought new clothes in a while. A few months ago, my black shoes fell apart and I thought about getting new shoes. Then I thought, “Let me alternate between the four pairs of shoes I have and when they all konk out, I will get new shoes.” I have seen a few shows, been out to eat with my girlfriend, and had occasional nights out, but I have been able to do so without being broke before my next paycheck.
These little changes in how I spend aren’t revolutionary. They take some getting used to, but they haven’t been that difficult. It takes awareness and a different frame of mind. I realize someone could say, “Hey, is that all?!” or “Hey, I can’t live like that! I need X and Y!” For me, it’s simple accounting: this is how much I make, this is how much I can give to my debt, and this is how much I have at the end of the month. What compromises can I make so I don’t add to my debt, but that I’m still satisfied, healthy, and happy? I can exist with sacrifices, but deprivation can be draining. Every day is a little struggle, but I breathe a little easier.
Michael Newman ● THANK YOU ● for being a part of And Then She Saved!
If you would like to be considered as a contributor for Gettin’ Guesty send me an email at: Hello@AndThenSheSaved.com
P.S. Ready to get out of debt ASAP? Check out the Spending Fast Bootcamp! SpendingFastBootcamp.com