Hi, my name is Mandi and I’m a repeat Spending Faster. Let me explain:
I’m originally from Nashville, TN, but moved to the UK in December 2011 to be with my British husband, Terry, after five years of international dating. During those five years, I had graduated from college with $50,000 in student loans. I also had paid for one heck of a lot of plane trips on our credit cards to visit Terry as well as a six-month honeymoon through Asia and America that had used up all of our savings and maxed out our credit cards. We were young, in love and more than a bit naïve about our finances. By the time we really sat down to take a look at our financial position in March 2014 we had $64,000 in student loans and nearly $10,000 in credit card debt. We were in over our heads. I found And Then We Saved and the idea of not spending any money for a year appealed to my all-or-nothing personality. I convinced Terry to give it a go, and by September of that year we had paid off nearly $10,000 of debt. We were over the moon and expecting to be debt-free by March 2017.
Then the unthinkable happened.
One day Terry came home with a sore throat from a day out with friends the day before. Then he became ill quite suddenly and was rushed to the hospital, where he died of bacterial meningitis at the age of 30. My world stopped spinning and my Spending Fast came to a crashing halt. Terry had been the major breadwinner between the two of us, which had allowed me to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher. My salary couldn’t cover the rent on the home we shared, and so I quickly had to find a new home and completely re-evaluate my financial life as I knew it. One perk of having been on a Spending Fast was Terry and I had talked finances. A lot. I knew all of our debts, bill payments and passwords as we checked them together every month. Then it was up to me to rebalance my finances to fit within my salary as well as to build a new life for myself in the UK as a young widow.
It’s been nearly two and a half years since Terry died. Yet, it’s only recently that I have found myself in the financial and emotional position to really throw myself back into paying off my debts so I can begin traveling again, something Terry and I once had enjoyed doing together. Without my monthly student loan payment hanging over my head, I dream of weekends away in Italy learning how to make pasta by hand and revisiting Hong Kong, the first stop on our honeymoon adventure.
In January of this year, I officially recommitted myself to a Spending Fast, but was too embarrassed to tell anyone. I smashed it in January, paying off $955.09 in debt and adding money to my savings. February went equally well, with $1,394.39 going toward my debt. With this taste of success, I allowed myself to indulge a little in March, and then again in April, and slowly my monthly debt repayments shrank to $600 – not much more than my minimum payments.
I’m not in any more debt than when I started my original Spending Fast in March 2014. As of this morning, I owe $37,418.21 to the devil that is Navient (student loans) and I have managed to pay off my car loan and a significant amount of credit card debt I charged along the way.
But I know I can do better. So, when Anna put a call out for people to blog about their Spending Fast, I jumped at the chance to have a few thousand accountability buddies. Here I am, admitting to the entire Internet that I, Mandi, commit to not spend any money until June 1, 2018, in the hope of being debt-free by the end of 2018. Until then, I will keep y’all informed of the good, the bad and the ugly of my Spending Fast adventures.
P.S. Ready to get out of debt ASAP? Check out the Spending Fast Bootcamp!