I Love Living Debt Free!

By, Melissa Alvarez

Since I can remember, I have never been a person who liked owing money to anyone. However, I learned a good lesson in college about owning a credit card.The only debt I’ve ever had was credit card debt, and this started in college. The reality is that most 18-19 year olds don’t know the first thing about personal finance, credit cards, or taking out loans, and that is where they get themselves into a bind. It often happens so quickly: BOOM and you are in debt.

When I first moved to Chicago I realized how expensive it was to live here; especially for a girl from Kentucky! Once I got my first job in the city and started to get that paycheck I literally just started paying everything off. It was hard of course, but I knew at some point it would get done and it would somehow feel better.

Reality set in again when I left my job to pursue my dream of starting my very own business. I was back to square one. No steady income and no way of paying off my credit card debt. I quickly found a solution and sucked up my pride and began working as a nanny again. It was the BEST decision I ever made. It took me less than 6 months to pay off what I owed. Was it easy, hell no! Fortunately, I paid off my debt and I was able to begin saving and contributing to a few accounts that I set up for health care and retirement.

After paying off my debt, my fiancé and I moved in together and it only got better! We are really good about keeping each other in check. For example, he’s been dying to get this $4,000 leather chair. We are both obsessed with it and when we walked into the store to see if it was still there, my fiancé was ready to purchase it.

I’ve never seen him so serious about buying something! I was itching and I could feel my heart pounding with excitement, but then it hit me: $4,000….hmmm. What could we do with $4,000? My mind started racing and I visualized laying out on the beach in Croatia or swimming in the oceans of Australia. That’s when I whispered to Rob, “Not today babe. Get it when you pass the CFP.” He just looked at me and grinned and we happily walked out of the store without purchasing anything.

That’s the thing- over spending is just too stressful! I don’t know how anyone could feel happy just swiping their credit card and taking out unnecessary loans that they may never be able to pay back. It’s just not worth it. I think as Americans we need to begin to live beneath our means versus above them. It will pay off and you will ultimately feel a sense of authentic happiness with yourself and your lifestyle, at least I do.

The feeling of being debt-free is beyond words. Sticking to a budget has really allowed me to feel a sense of freedom. I’m currently wedding planning for our big day and I don’t have to stress about the little things. Yes, it’s expensive; don’t get me wrong, but not owing anyone anything has allowed me to go into planning stress free. It’s my life, and I personally choose to live debt free!

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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