Thursday, October 25, 2007

How Did I Get Here? – Part I: My Financial Revolution

I started what I call my “financial revolution” this past August when I read an article on MSN Money (I couldn't find the same one I read then, but this one is similar) about how most Americans don’t know the cold hard numbers for how much debt they are really in. I certainly didn’t know, so I did some crunching and discovered the number was $118,364.75.

All I could think was: Holy crap. That’s not good.

To add insult to injury, I later discovered that I hadn’t included one of my student loans, and the actual number was $120,067.02.

Here’s how it broke down:

DebtAmountInterest Rate
Private Student Loans$57,813.909.25 – 14.75%
Federal Student Loans$41,284.975.125 – 6.62%
The Bank of Mom & Dad$7,610.240%
The Bank of My Friends$526.270%
Car Loan$6,366.755.99%
Credit Cards$6,464.890 – 28.15%

Looking at that number, I felt a lot like Marty in Back to the Future III. I was staring down Mad Dog Tannon, trying to figure some way of the situation that wouldn’t get anyone killed.

Luckily, the article I’d read also had some helpful tips for reducing debt and taking control of your finances, as well as stories about people who had been successful. The Women in Red were especially inspiring to me.

From there, I found links to more articles, with more tips, and my PF obsession was born. I read everything I could find on paying down debt, saving money, being frugal, and living within your means. The more I read, the more I learned, and the more I wanted to know. I felt like the light bulb had just gone on in my head, and money suddenly made sense to me.

Stay tuned. In my next few posts, I’ll continue the story of how I got into debt, and how I plan to get out of it.

This post is the first part of my Financial Revolution Series, which is my personal financial story. Each post gives a piece of the story, detailing how I got into debt and how I turned things around. Read the whole story:
How Did I Get Here? - Part II: The Back Story
How Did I Get Here? - Part III: Budgeting Is Not a Four Letter Word
How Did I Get Here? - Part IV: Making Choices and Cutting the Crap
How Did I Get Here? - Part V: Student Loan Consolidation Is a Pain in the - yeah, that
How Did I Get Here? - Part VI: The Pruning Gets Easier
Where Am I Now? - Part I: Increasing My Income
Where Am I Now? - Part II: Nuts and Bolts

Next time on TV Girl & Money: The Back Story


Jake Stichler said...

This is pretty similar to what I did, actually. For me, though, it was realizing how much of my wages I was using to make my payments, and how much that was hurting me, as well as realizing how much money I was wasting in general on, well, stupidity.

Grats on making the Carnival of Debt Reduction with me.

The Chef said...

Well you still din't mentioned how did you get there, and explained about your current situation or your realization that you are HERE! in a debt mess, anyways I too am in the same mess... all the best for your goals. I shall be following your blog for further insights :)