My First Debt Payments

After organizing my scary debt folder into a less scary debt binder, I felt like I could actually get started on the hard part of tackling debt, which is actually paying it. I have a lot of debts (more than thirty) and each one ranges from $29 to $2700. I don’t think I’ve made a single payment on any of my debts, which means some of them have gone into collections and negatively affected my credit. Others I’ve had for years and they keep sending me bills that I ignore, and nothing seems to happen.

For my first round of making payments, I decided to start with the ones that had online payment options. This is mostly because it was a Sunday and everything was closed, but also because I hate being on the phone and listening to awful hold music and repeating my payment information fifteen times.

I was pleasantly surprised when I logged in to the first website and it said that I had already paid off my $795 debt to them! I truthfully don’t remember paying this, but it said I paid monthly payments and I’m still pleased about it. It was fun being able to move a bill to the Paid in Full table of my binder already.

Unsurprisingly, I did not get that lucky for the other websites I logged into. Most websites required a minimum payment amount of $10, so I went through and did that for the ones the ones that I could, which ended up being six different debts. One website required a minimum payment of $15 and another required a minimum payment of $25, and I paid each of those as well.

Another website required a monthly payment agreement that would be automatically withdrawn from my checking account each month, which is my least favorite thing. Our monthly budget is so delicately coordinated, and I don’t want to add to it after just moving in to our new place and as we get into the holidays. Plus, my commitment to my debts is very little right now, and agreeing to 12 or 24 monthly payments doesn’t feel little to me. My other option for this website was to pay in full, which was $78 and change. I decided to pay it in full, and I moved the debt to the Paid in Full tab of my binder.

I also ended up paying a $160 debt that I didn’t know about, because I couldn’t take my new doggo to the vet without paying it. It’s still a mystery why I never received an email or letter about it, but at least it’s paid now.

I ended up paying $100 towards miscellaneous debts (which I had worked into our budget) and I paid off a $78 debt and a $160 debt. Most months I’m not going to have an extra $200+ to put towards debts, but I was able to cut things out of our budget (after stress crying with a glass of wine) to make it work this month. Truthfully, some months I may not even be able to pay $100 towards debts. Those months, I plan to go back to my very first step and acknowledge that my debts do exist, and remember that I’m committed to ONE step per month, no matter how small. To me, that means that even when I can’t afford $100 a month in payments, I’m still committed to a $10 payment on one debt, because progress is progress.

I know that I can ALWAYS cut $10 out of our budget in order to follow through on my commitment to make a small step in tackling my debt each month. I could spend $10 less on groceries for the month. We don’t have cable, and instead have Hulu and Netflix… I could “pause” either subscription for a month. I budget for miscellaneous shopping every month (like when I go to Target for one thing and leave with ten) and I can easily take $10 out of that budget. My husband and I could opt to not get Starbucks together (also something we budget for) and instead have coffee at home together. There are SO many things we could do to save $10 that could go towards debt.

What are some ways you could save $10 a month to make a payment towards your debts? Let me know in the comments!

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