Meet Marcia, a mother to twin boys who has decided she's ready to focus on paying off debt. She is currently on her debt-free journey and is taking on the challenge to pay off her consumer debt and student loans to create a better future for herself and her children. In this interview, she shares why she's made the decision to become debt free and what steps she's taking to make this goal a reality for her.
"I think about giving myself and my boys a better life. I can't do that with debt to my name."
At what moment did you decide to pursue paying off debt?
2017 was my “enough is enough” moment. I struggled so much while in nursing school, and I knew once I started my career I never wanted to struggle like that again. I now have a bigger income now and my main focus, while I'm on my debt-free journey, is staying afloat financially!
How much debt do you have in total and how much debt have you paid off so far?
I have $31,000 of debt in total including my student loans. I’m still on my debt-free journey and so far I have paid off three of my credit cards for a total of $900. I am now working on my student loans. While $900 is just the tip of the iceberg, being able to make this progress have made me extremely motivated.
How much income are you earning as you accomplish paying off your debt?
I just started working as a nurse. Though I haven’t worked a full year as a nurse, by the end of a full year with my hourly pay, I’ll be bringing in $60,000 annually. This increase in my income will help me ramp up my debt repayments.
What specific things are you doing to stay focused on paying off your debt?
I cut out all unnecessary spending. I’ve always lived pretty frugal, but now I’ve cracked down even more. I'm leveraging planners and calendars to help keep me organized. Visually seeing my due dates for my bills helped keep me on track. Also, I'm sorting my paychecks into categories and budgeting every dollar.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
My motivation is remembering why I started in the first place and for my children. Remembering the struggle I've been through, and never wanting to backtrack. I think about giving myself and my boys a better life. I can't do that with debt to my name.
How do you manage the days where you just wanted to go out and spend money?
My twin boys keep me grounded. Knowing they'll need long term financial wellness trumps a night of fun and having this mindset had been a big help. I knew I’d be taking away from them if I selfishly spent the little money we had on myself.
What would be your money advice to your younger self?
My advice to my younger self would be to SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. Work as much as you can, but save even more. I was so careless when it came to money. In the past, I've been so ashamed at how I squandered the great position I was in and allowed myself to spiral down the staircase to debt.
What steps are you taking to ensure you meet your ultimate debt payoff goals?
I save more than ever now and I also keep a strict budget/spending limit. This is super important for me. For every dollar I spend, some type of investment has to come with it!
I plan my weeks according to my spending. Saturday’s are grocery shopping days. And I plug in my bills so if it falls in accordingly with my pay schedule. I also asked my service providers if I could change my payment days to ensure I stayed up to date on my bills. That helped me a lot.
What advice would you give anyone reading this looking for encouragement on their debt-free journey?
I would definitely suggest setting goals - realistic ones. Ask yourself who and why are you on this journey. Make monthly checklists to help you stay on track. It’s not easy, but debt freedom is totally obtainable. Picture yourself not living paycheck to paycheck. That alone should be enough motivation.
Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us Marcia. We look forward to an update in the near future!