As of today, for the first time in my adult life, I'm debt free (except for my mortgage, whatever, doesn't count). I've been looking forward to this day for years and years. Oddly enough, the sky didn't open. No angels sang. There's no ethereal glow. Was I expecting to feel different? Maybe a little, but like a birthday, I don't feel any older or wiser. If I compare my financial situation today to what it was three or five years ago, things are so much better. I'm not paying my bills only to find there's no money left for food. I'm not selling my comic book collection on eBay to get through the month. I'm not asking for money from my parents when something terrible happens.
I'm happy I can finally start doing that thing where people put money aside and use that money for emergencies and big purchases, but there's still anxiety in my stomach. The next goal is to set money aside for the emergency fund. After dealing with credit card debt, I don't want to fall into that pit again. Why spend money you don't have?
I realize some of you are in truly difficult times. I'm not writing this to brag. If anything, consider this post my confession: I was stupid with money. From my first day of college when I signed up for that credit card (free t-shirt, my ass) to just a few years ago, I wasted money. I didn't "act my wage." In fact, to this day, I still have to resist the urge to spend and spend. I have to curb that impulse, and I've gotten better at it. It is possible to dig your way out.
I need to thank Tania Kaufmann for an email she sent on January 9, 2009. She laid out a seven step process to paying off my debt, that whole Dave Ramsey approach. I saved the email, and it became my blue print. I also need to thank April, my partner, my encourager, my co-conspirator in this effort. I couldn't have done it without you.