One of my goals for this year was to pay down some lingering credit card debt incurred by a house remodel and dental work. Well, I have been failing at this goal (for some legitimate reasons, I admit) but now I am ready to buckle down and get serious about paying down this debt!
I need accountability for any goal that I set, so I’m sharing my commitment with you, my amazing readers.
My ultimate goal is to pay off ALL of this consumer debt by the end of 2019. I’m also hoping to help end the shame around having debt. Most folks pretend they don’t have it but most do, of course, whether from a car loan, student loan, or credit cards.
By talking about my debt openly (with actual numbers) I’m hoping to inspire others to look at their financial situation with more honesty and less shame.
I’m been making progress in other areas of my finances – such as how I’m now making a full-time income from blogging! But this debt keeps hanging around – a feeling I’m sure some of you can relate to.
I’m also hoping some of you will join me in this challenge to pay off some major debt before the end of 2018! Here are the steps I’m taking and how you can join in:
Debt Challenge Step 1: Calculate Your Total Consumer Debt
Finding my total debt was the scariest part of getting started with this. I have 0% interest balances on several credit cards right now (here is my recommended card for 0% interest plus a $200 sign up bonus).
If you’ve gone over budget and find yourself paying interest, check out this post for ideas on how to stop paying interest.
I added up my balances and found my total as of August 1st: $9,800. Yikes. But it seems less scary now and I’m ready to tackle paying this down.
Debt Challenge Step 2: Set a Goal
I am setting a goal for what I want the remaining amount to be by January 1st, 2019. I am trying to be realistic about what I will be able to pay each month based on my current income.
My goal for the new year is for my balance to be under $7,000. It will take discipline to get there but with accountability and support I know I can do it!
Debt Challenge Step 3: Monitor Your Progress
I have established a way I am going to keep track of my progress towards my goal. I am a spreadsheet girl from way back so I keep a sheet dedicated to my current credit card situation. I update it on the first of every month and keep a running total of what I still owe.
Debt Challenge Step 4: Find People Who Will Support Your Efforts and Keep You Accountable!
As I already mentioned, I struggle to do anything unless I am accountable to someone outside myself. Thanks to Gretchen Rubin, I now understand that this is because I am an obliger in her four tendencies personality framework. I have to create external accountability for any personal goals – this is where you come in!
I’m going to be posting regular updates on Instagram and Facebook about the challenge with the hashtag #debtfreejourney. I’m not the only one who uses this hashtag, but it is a great way to get encouragement from others who are dedicated to working their way to being debt free!
I’ll be sharing decisions I’ve made to cut back so I can pay down debt and other ways I am saving money. I encourage you to join in the challenge by posting about what you are doing to pay down your debt and get inspirations from others!
I’ll send an email checking in at beginning of every month and some tips halfway through the month to keep you on track. Be sure you are signed up for my email newsletter to get the updates!
If you want personal encouragement from me just send me a private message on Instagram asking for me to follow you and I will follow you back!
And please feel free to leave a comment below sharing your goals for the challenge. We are stronger together and we can finally be free of this debt with support and accountability from each other!
2018 Year In Review + Goals Update! - The Frugal South
Thursday 20th of December 2018
[…] this is the one goal that I decidedly did NOT meet. I have written before about the lingering debt I can’t seem to get rid of from my dental work and house emergency repairs. Well, it is still […]
Sunday 23rd of September 2018
Any suggestions on consolidating debt? What is the interest free card? Thank you so much for sharing your story and goals. Good to know I am not alone.
Monday 24th of September 2018
You are definitely not alone, Irish. MANY MANY people have consumer debt but are just ashamed to admit it! I meant to link to my recommended card for 0% interest balance transfers, so here it is: https://www.thefrugalsouth.com/my-1-recommended-cash-back-card-200-sign-up-bonus/ Thanks so much for reading and please reach out if you need any encouragement on your debt free journey!
Saturday 4th of August 2018
I love what you said about everyone pretending they don't have debt but so many people do. It's one of those things I never expected 'adulting' but you turn around, and there it is! We recently put our remaining debt on an interest free card so my goal is to have it paid off (or at least close!) by the time the interest free promo ends (September 2019). Right now, I have a set amount automatically transferring once a month and plans to increase that amount starting Jan 2019. The automatic transfer is everything for me!
Saturday 4th of August 2018
Thank you SO much for your comment, Danielle. You are right about people being mostly unwilling to talk about their debt. I too have my balance on an interest-free card that I am paying down. Thanks again for your willingness to share and good job on the automatic payments, woo hoo!