The amount of my personal debt is $175,000. I can break that down: $170,000 from student loans & $5,000 from credit cards. That's a lot of money.
It is difficult to write this number down.
There is definitely a weight that comes with this amount. It also stops me from doing a lot. I'm not going to get into specifics about how I accumulated this amount (maybe I will in the future), but I do have two degrees out of it all. If I could go back I might make different choices, but it is too late for that. My debt is here to stay.
At this time, I am only focusing on my own debt. I've chosen not to include my husband's debt into the equation because I carry the bulk. We keep a lot of finances separate, so it is easier to talk about my own bills. With my current salary, I can barely cover the minimum payments of my loans (even with reduced payment options) so paying these off won't happen overnight.
I know there a ton of stories out there about people paying off massive amounts of money in less than five years. I would love to say that will happen in my case, but realistically, it won't. I am on a ten year payoff plan (debt free by 2028) and even this is ambitious. A lot can happen in ten years though, so I'm optimistic I can meet or shorten the time frame.
The good news is that my total debt used to be higher. Over the last year, I have reduced my credit card debt by $10,000. This was a huge step for me. Reducing my balance usage to below 10% of my total credit limit was the first milestone I wanted to hit. Now that my credit debt is reduced, I can focus more towards my student loans.
I'm going to try and write more about my budget and spending on a monthly basis. I think this will be a good exercise to keep myself on track. I have a bad habit of spending money, so this will be an uphill journey.
Feel free to follow along and share your own debt reducing stories in the comments below.