(Re)Creating Carly











{February 23, 2014}   Keeping Up with the Joneses? Puh-lease. I Gots No One to Keep Up with, and All the Love I Need.

Hello all! Long time, no blog!

Thanks to some down time via February vacation, along with some positive debt repayment news, I’m finally back with an update.

It’s been about a year since I made my first payment towards getting out of credit card debt. And what a year it has been. In addition to adjusting to a yearlong sacrifice of THINGS (which isn’t really as difficult as one might imagine), I’ve become so much happier and have taken control over my life.

When I first forced myself to look at the balance on my credit card statement, I was more stressed out than ever, feeling like everything was pretty hopeless. I searched everywhere, fruitlessly, for a simple solution. I felt sorry for myself and was enraged that I worked so hard every day, and still, as an educated professional, could not afford to do seemingly simple things, like order Indian take-out, or see my beloved Jack White in concert. I looked at everyone and everything, except myself, to lay blame. It’s that damn ONE PERCENT. It’s all THEIR FAULT! It’s Scott Walker and his cronies, systematically destroying America’s middle class! It’s NYC! What kind of imperialist city charges its residents $7.50 ONE WAY to travel from one section of town to another?! And when one of my close friends suggested I find a part-time job, I seethed – DOESN’T SHE CARE ABOUT ME AT ALL??? HOW COULD SHE EVEN SUGGEST SUCH A THING??? When I called debt counselors, their advice was the equivalent of a sarcastic eye roll. “Spend less and get another job, lady.” But HOW could I work MORE??? I was already working so much, and was utterly exhausted by the time I got home. And how could I cut spending from my already tight budget?? No more take out?? EVER?? No more coffee house stops in the morning?? THIS IS NOT A LIFE! I MIGHT AS WELL BE DEAD!

Yep.

I know.

Pretty pathetic.

But once my tantrum was over, I faced the truth that there would be no easy way out for me, and I was going to have to be a grown-up. After all,*I* had gotten myself into this mess (regardless of what economic injustices may have indirectly befallen me, or what lines of consumerism BS I chose to believe). It was ALL ME. I am no victim. And spending even a moment believing otherwise was only delaying the inevitable: me cutting my spending, increasing my income, and getting out of debt.

When I changed my perspective, that’s when my life changed.

Getting real about my finances and learning to live within my means has made me see the world, as well as myself, in a new way. I am more than THINGS. I am more than EXPERIENCES I CAN’T AFFORD. I am CAPABLE of making intelligent financial decisions. I am capable of being a GREAT FRIEND to others without overspending. I am capable of enjoying the SIMPLE THINGS. In fact, I’d argue that the simple things are far more precious than those that come with a hefty price tag.

Cliché, yes. But the best things in life REALLY are free. (Clichés are clichés for a reason, people!) Listening is free. Exercising is free. Laughing is free. Kissing is free. Sharing stories is… well, you get the idea. Keeping up with the Joneses? Puh-ljoneses2mansionease. I gots no one to keep up with, and all the love I need.

This isn’t to say that it’s been easy, and that I haven’t grown weary of debt repayment. Oh, have I ever. But when I think back to how unhappy I was, living with my head buried beneath stacks of PAYMENTDUENOWs, I am so grateful to claim every last bit of this experience. The saying is true: what doesn’t challenge you, doesn’t change you.

I haven’t blogged a lot over the past many months – mostly because I only feel like I should be blogging when I have something significant to report. And I’ve pretty much said all there is to say about how to get out of debt: you just need to put a plan in place, live within your means, find extra sources of income, and make as big a payment as humanly possible each month until that balance is wiped out. I’m not there yet, but I will be soon.

I’m so happy to report that I’ve gotten my debt down to $4800. FORTY-EIGHT HUNDRED, GUYS!!! And I’m still on schedule to have it paid off by my debt-free date. What is especially fantastic about this is that while I’ve managed to pay off over $17,000 in debt (including interest) over the past year, I’ve also managed to keep putting money away for retirement. I know some people think that saving while paying off debt is counterintuitive, but my retirement account pays a ridiculous amount of interest for this economy and the more I am able to put in there now, the more the compounding interest will do for me later.

Some of you who have been reading this blog over the months may remember my decision to stop dating while I repaid my debt. Some thought this was a good idea. Others, not so much. Well, I am so happy that I made that choice for me. Paying off a ton of debt in a small amount of time requires sacrifice, and I know that having the added pressure of dating would have been too much for me. Now that the majority of my debt is gone, I’ve jumped back into those waters, though, and feel like such a lighter, happier person – no longer weighed down by financial worries and misguided priorities.

I really couldn’t have gotten this far without the support of my fellow bloggers, friends, and family, who have been more than happy to spend cheap nights out with me, and cheer me on throughout this endeavor. I’m not done yet, but that $0 balance is finally just a few short months away.

So… TELL ME! What’s new with YOU?!

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Glad you are back! Excellent work.



Carly says:

Thank you so much! 🙂



Dad says:

After too long in the winter doldrums, finally something worthwhile to read. Nothing like a great success story! I’m proud of you.



Carly says:

Glad I could help spread a little sunshine during these dark days. Thank so much for your encouragement! 🙂



congratulations carly!! So proud of and inspired by you. Great to get a post from you in my inbox today. hugs – K



Carly says:

I’m trying to figure out a way to get you to create a new blog called kpgoeseast! Miss you! And thanks for the kind words! 🙂



Elaine says:

Where there’s a will, there’s a way and you certainly found one, along with many ways to enjoy life along the way. Knew you could do t and I’m so very proud of you. xxxooo mom



Carly says:

You are so right. With the right amount of determination, anything is possible! You are a testament to that. Thanks for all the support. xo



Congratulations Carly, so proud that you are close to reaching your goal. I’ve missed your blogs, they keep reminding that I can do it too. Please keep up the blogs for the rest of us that need your inspiration and good advice.



Carly says:

Thank you so much! Of course you can do it! And if you need any help navigating it all, let me know! So happy that you’re finding inspiration in my journey. 🙂



AMAZING!! What a feat! I can imagine that going into the dating world with this kind of achievement under your belt will spell success for your personal life too. I hope you’re glowing with pride. Better than makeup. 🙂

It’s good to hear from you. I’ve been wondering how things are going, and I’m so glad the news is this terrific.



Carly says:

Hey Anita!! Thank you so much! And, yes, you’re so right — finally getting to this point is MUCH better than makeup! So nice to hear from you. Think I’ll swing over to your blog and check out what’s new with you. 🙂



Brigitte says:

Carly, I’m so late to your post but I loved it. You must feel so great about this and doing this in one of the most expensive places in the world–well big kudos to you, my talented friend. I will see you the end of this month and look forward to reading the next part of your book/chapter.



Carly says:

Thanks, Brigitte~ I feel fantastic! Looking forward to our next meeting, as well. So happy we’re all getting back to the things that really matter. 🙂



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