Real-Life Spending Faster Darlene

Real-Life Spending Faster Darlene |

Hello fellow spenders!  My name is Darlene. I’m 35, married and a mom to two little girls. I work full-time in the biotech industry and we have a dog, a mortgage and a ton of debt. We are living the American Dream in the Boston area!

Some of you may be thinking, “Well, you have a house, that’s something to check off your list.” But I wanted to share my story because it was the combination of kids and the house that accelerated my return to debt. (That’s right, my return. About eight years ago, my husband and I paid off all of our credit card debt after living with my in-laws for a year.)

The simple reason for our return to debt is we had been living a life we could not afford.  We bought our house in 2011 and had our first baby four months later. Yet we failed to change our spending habits to the degree needed to account for our new expenses (mortgage and childcare).

In the last five years, we have made a lot of unnecessary purchases, but some definitely were necessary.  We bought a new front door and a new roof last year (Hello, leaky roof and pile of snow in our front hall…), but there were lots of other purchases, trips, dinners out, photo shoots for the girls, etc. that definitely were not needed.  This makes me a little sick, but the fact is our total debt (me and hubby) as of September 1st is $102,110.16.  This does not include our mortgage but does include student loans, a personal loan, credit cards and car loans.   I’m going to talk about our debt as a combo deal since our money has been combined forever. (Well, since 2009, but who’s counting?)

The debt has been weighing on me, but I go through periods of time when I am able to push it aside and others when I go into action (Hello, Mr. Budget I Can’t Follow.), or try to accept it as part of life in which childcare equals another mortgage payment.  Then, one awesome day when I was perusing Instagram, I saw a friend post a picture of The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living. I went to and bought it immediately. Not only did Anna’s story inspire me, but her plan struck a chord. I’ve been trying to live within an unrealistic budget for five years, failing at it, and as a result, feeling like a failure as our debt has increased year by year.

Something inside me shifted while reading Anna’s book. It was the realization that I don’t “need” all this stuff. That has been incredibly liberating. In addition, simply removing all this tracking and decision-making actually will create space for other things in my life.  Most importantly, I want to teach my girls by example that you save before you purchase. (Because we all know kids learn more by what they see us do than by what we tell them.)  Anna’s story gave me hope that it is possible, no matter what the circumstances.

I decided immediately that a Spending Fast was the next step!

Fast-forward three weeks and I convinced my husband that we needed this (with lots of compromises, but hey, that’s marriage). We are committed to one year of a Spending Fast. Details still need to be ironed out surrounding Christmas and a friend’s wedding in Florida in April, but we’ll figure it out.

Here’s to jumping in head-first and making a big change – or lots of little ones. Wish us luck, please!

SF Start Date: September 1, 2016
SF End Date: August 31, 2017
Total Debt as of 9/1/16: $102,110.16
CC debt: $31,681.80
Loans (cars and personal): $29,691.81
Student Loans: $40,736.55


To follow all the Spending Fasters, click here.

P.S. Ready to get out of debt ASAP? Check out the Spending Fast Bootcamp!


4 thoughts on “Real-Life Spending Faster Darlene

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  1. Christine Duval

    Good for you and good luck. 1 entire year, wow, however, with that amount, I can see why. Plus, you now, Christmas, it’s not all about gifts. I have clicked on to keep track of how you’re doing. I need to get on board with this too.

    1. Darlene

      Thanks Christine! My husband said the same thing about the year, but we are in it to win it! My next update is coming soon ;)

  2. Lorien

    Good luck!! I just want to say, it’s such a relief to see someone with a comparable amount of debt to what we have. Ours is all student loans (plus a small car loan) but it’s drowning us all the same. We started a spending fast this month and so far it’s been going great! Can’t wait to hear about your progress- we are SCARED moving into the holidays!!

    1. Darlene Wilson

      Hi Lorien –

      I am glad to bring you some comfort, because honestly it IS comforting to know that we are not alone with this debt monster. Good luck on your fast and I have had to make some tough decisions about Christmas (not participating in grabs that require an amount of money to spend, no gifts for my husband or I, a lower budget for our kids and neices and nephews, making gifts where possible, and absolutely NO charges on the credit card). Thanks for reaching out – we’ll get through this!!


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