The Ninth Promise of Debtors Anonymous states that we will find acceptance and gratitude and it will replace regret, self pity and longing.
When I looked at my financial nightmare, seriously for the first time… I was filled with so much shame and regret. Here I was in my 50s, deep in debt, with absolutely nothing for a safety net. I wasn’t even living paycheck to paycheck. I was spending my next paycheck two to three days before I actually had it in the bank. Which meant that more times than not, I would bounce a check and pay extra charges for having an overdraft.
With not having any funds available, I never really devised a plan to get out of debt because I simply didn’t have any money. Yet, when I left my marriage I knew that second chances for me had run out. This would be my last chance to get it right.
My plan was simple. Start working on the debt. One bill at a time. Starting with the smallest one. I really didn’t care about interest rates or late fees. My credit score was shot and robbing Peter to pay Paul hadn’t worked. So, it was one bill at a time.
The next part of my plan was to quit bouncing check. Every bounced check cost me two hours of pay. So if I had four bounced checks than I was working that day to just pay overdraft fees. To do this I started rounding up the checks I wrote and rounding down my deposits. In a very simple way, I had started and emergency fund. Yes, it was only pennies… but it was pennies I have never been able to save before.
It took over five years but by doing these three little things and sticking to them I was able to get out from behind. I started with a debt of $65,000. Today I am in my fourth year of being debt free. I am so grateful that I had the strength and courage to stick with the plan and not try to “fix” things quickly. And I’ve learn to accept that the simple life is the best life for me. With simple things I have been able to stay debt free and more importantly have been able to build and maintain a healthy emergency fund.