I Started Paying Off Debt & Got Control Of My Life While Unemployed
I didn’t make any explicit financial New Year’s resolutions. But I started the new year with new budgeting goals and a renewed interest in paying off the debt that plagued me. I removed my credit card info from every web store, service, automatic payment, and anything else I could think of. While I didn’t switch to a cash diet, I switched to a debit diet. If it wasn’t in my checking account, it wasn’t getting used. I found that when I couldn’t afford to use debit for something, I got serious about whether I needed or wanted it.
My partner and I started planning our meals and, as a result, spent less on groceries. I started walking more instead of driving (and recently gave up my car after a would-be costly breakdown finally sealed its fate). I started making weekly (small) contributions to my savings account. I started walking dogs and temping regularly for a company downtown who I had worked for in the past. My unemployment benefit reduced whenever I worked temp gigs, but not enough to hurt. The connections I was making made the difference worth it.
In what seemed like no time, I found that I had a spare 100 or 200 dollars on occasion. I used it to aggressively pay down my credit card debt. I started getting competitive with myself to see how much I could pay down every month. In April of 2018, my balance was below $2,000 CAD ($1,550.14 USD) for the first time in years. My anxiety around my debt turned to excitement and motivation. I began to create detailed spreadsheets tracking my successes and used them as fuel to keep me going.
Also in April, I was at last well enough to accept a full-time job in a well-respected and highly-rated company. My job references were from the company where I temped. I even had enough saved to get me through the first few weeks sans-paycheck. I am excited to have a new steady income which will supplement my continued efforts to pay down this debt.
It is now August, and my next credit card statement will be below $1000 CAD. I am on track to eliminate my consumer debt by the end of November 2018.