My First Step in Tackling Debt

I’m on this new-ish journey of adulting and trying to be responsible, and it can be SUPER hard sometimes. I recently got married and our kiddo just turned five and started school (ahhh!) and we moved into our own place and I adopted a rambunctious doggo. On top of all of those new things, I’m still in school full time, while also working full time. It’s all really great, and also really challenging and sometimes scary.

Facing My Debt

My first “dip” into real adulting happened when I decided to face the fact that I have a lot of debt. I haven’t always been in a decent financial place, which resulted in a significant pile up of (primarily) medical bills, cancellation fees, and other miscellaneous things that I couldn’t afford to pay. I know that these things have been piling up, but I’ve tried to pretend that they don’t exist. I open the envelope, see the bill, and tuck it away. It’s an unhealthy habit that I developed, and it negatively affected my credit while drastically increasing my stress. My financial situation is not anywhere close to perfect, but it’s better now than it has been in the past, which gives me the opportunity to start fixing the financial mistakes that I’ve made.

I always had the intention of following Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (and I still do) but I can never seem to get started on it. I do follow a monthly budget (which is the only way my husband and I can survive our finances) and I track our spending to the penny, so we never have to question where our money has been spent. We pay our monthly bills and I pretend like there isn’t a folder of 58 other bills hiding in the house somewhere. Until now.

My Scary Debt Binder

A couple of weeks ago I was paying our monthly bills like I always do, and for some reason I decided to dig out the scary debt folder that I always dread touching. That day I wasn’t feeling stressed about my scary debt folder, and I wasn’t feeling stressed about trying to tackle it. I had a sort of epiphany that doing ANYTHING, even the slightest little thing, would be better than pretending this folder didn’t exist. Maybe that seems obvious to most other people, but it seemed like news to me.

In that moment, I decided to take my first step toward getting rid of the scary debt folder… I acknowledged that it exists, and I made a commitment to make at least one small step forward with my folder each month. Even if my small step is a $10 payment on ONE debt, I’m committed to that. Instead of having the same mindset that I’ve always had – that a little payment doesn’t make a difference – I switched my mindset to believe that it makes a much bigger difference than no payment at all.

Acknowledge Your Debt

I’d like to believe that I’m not the only one with a scary debt folder that I’ve been pretending doesn’t exist. My hope is that by being vulnerable and sharing my first step with people, someone else will decide to take their first step and fully acknowledge their scary debt folder. Without acknowledging that it exists, I know that I’ll never be able to tackle it and be free from the weight of it… and neither will you.

If you’ve recently decided to commit to tackling your debts, let me know if the comments. I’d love to celebrate your first (or second or tenth) step with you!!

If you’re still on the first step of acknowledging that your debt exists and committing to tackling it, but don’t know where to go next, read what I did as my second step!

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