Credit Card Debt Free

Revolving Debt. That is the defeatist term commonly assigned to credit card debt. For good reason, too, as Credit Card debt is something that is very easy to succumb to, and a tough cycle to break.

We all know how we get there. We figure why wait to save money for possessions when you can have them immediately? Why spend your own money on groceries, when you can spend the money of Chase Manhattan Bank? I’ll take extra guacamole on that Chipotle; after all, it’s going on US Bank’s tab!

Credit cards make it convenient for us to have possessions, large and small, available to us at all times. It makes it easier for young people to obtain that which is dearest to them; Clothes, electronics and home furnishings.As a fairly recent college graduate, I found myself gradually giving in to revolving debt, and I feel it was only natural. In the four years I was in college, I was poor! I only spent money on the essentials (beer, computers and food), and I wasn’t able to purchase many of the worldly possessions I had sought. Tuition got so expensive for me, and I had so little money, that I ended up paying for my ENTIRE SENIOR YEAR of college on a CREDIT CARD! This is where my revolving debt cycle began.

I graduated college with over $5,000 in credit card debt. Granted, this debt was on a card with 0% interest for an entire year, it was still a large debt. I told myself that when I got a job, the first thing that I would do is pay off the debt. It didn’t take long either. I had the debt paid off within 6 months of graduation.

After paying off my immediate college debt, a second life event occurred, and caused me to fall into a much worse cycle of revolving debt. This is when I bought my first house. I started off on the wrong foot from day 1. See, I didn’t buy my house outright; I bought it with my lifelong friend (and technically domestic partner… but not in a gay way or anything. Well, probably a little gay. No, just kidding.) Scott. At the time, I did not have any cash reserves for the house purchase. Conversely, Scott had a lot of money saved up for the home undertaking. As a result, I tried to even things out by using my credit card to purchase things and even out the cash distribution. So, within a month of purchasing a home, I already had amassed another $5,000 in credit card debt (once again at 0% interest).

I wasn’t satisfied with that debt. I needed more! In addition to the house, there were several things that I needed to purchase in order to actually furnish the home. New bed? Check. New Computer? Check. New Desk? Check. New Bedroom Set? Almost check… but I talked myself out at the last minute. In addition to furnishings, I also wanted to take care of myself. So, I got Lasik surgery (so I could stop wearing glasses) and a very nice New Treadmill (so I could stop being such a lard ass).

Add up all of these purchases, and I my revolving debt peaked somewhere in the $10,000 range! Even at that point, I still thought I wouldn’t have any trouble paying it off! I mean, I was making over $50k a year… what’s $10,000? More than half of it was at 0% interest. I can chip away at that over the next year and I’ll be fine!

A year passed, and my revolving debt did not go down at all! Every time I paid something off, something else came along, and my debt remained in tact. It seemed as if there was nothing that I could do in order to make it go down. I had a high paying job, but it was only paying me enough to live my month to month life. I never had a problem paying my mortgage, my car, my insurance, and student loans. However, after paying these debts off, I was still living check to check. I poured any remaining money into paying off credit cards. However, it was a mere $100-$200 a month. That doesn’t do much to reduce a bill of $10,000!

Finally, I decided that I needed to get out of this debt if I was ever going to feel good about myself. I realized that having a main job (in my case, my employment with Minneapolis Public Schools) only provided enough income to pay off my monthly debts. I realized that in order to pay off my revolving debts, I needed to work harder to supplement my income.

Luckily, I happen to be quite skilled in the computer realm, web design in particular. I started working harder on my designs, and started to build up a client base. I worked my ass off. I was working on a project just about every week night and the entire weekend. I worked hard, and it paid off.

Two major things have happened to me as a result of my revolving debt. The first is that I worked my ass off to improve my situation, and as of today, I am now free of revolving/credit card debt! The second is that I realized that developing web sites for clients (and IT consulting in general) is something that I really enjoy. In fact, I enjoy it so much that I was recently able to quit my job! Yes, I am now a freelance IT consultant, and I absolutely love it!

I guess my advice for any of you out there that are stuck in a revolving debt whirlwind is that if you want to get out of debt, you need to work harder. Also, you need to work smarter. If you have the mentality “I’ll chip away at the debt”, chances are that you will fail to make a dent. If you want to get out of credit card debt, you need to be aggressive. You may also need to find another source of income. That’s what I did, and it has eliminated that stress from my life.

About Jeff Sauer

I started blogging in the year 2000, and go in spurts of inspiration followed by long dormancy. I love writing, and your comments keep me going, so comment!

Check out my Google Profile.

Comments

  1. All I can say is you’re lucky that your passion/hobby is so high paying. Coaching basketball is my passion and it’s what I do in my spare time. As a varsity assistant coach I spend no less than 25 hours a week during the season for practice, games, and meetings. I love to do this. But for the entire season I get paid roughly $2,500. Broken down into hourly wage that’s completely peanuts. In the Spring and Summer I coach two AAU teams that take no less than 30 hours of my “free time” per week. And for all this I make a grand sum of $500. Am I to give this up and stop chasing my dream so I can be debt free? Am I to stop being a teacher because it doesn’t pay well either? My answer on this day is no. Maybe that will change in the future. But for now debt is a reality that I must face to try to reach my goals. Working harder is not an option for me…maybe working smarter is, but at what price?

  2. Frales, I agree. I am fortunate. I didn’t mean to write this as a negative thing toward those in debt, or even a blueprint on how you can personally get out of debt. Everyone has different circumstances, and obviously the circumstances often control our ability to cope with said debt. In your case, I wouldn’t change a thing. You are doing what you love, and you can’t really put a price on that. In reality, the only way I think you can obtain extra funds given your time crunch is to donate your sperm, because that way you’ll get paid to do what you’re best that…

  3. Way to go with your debt!! Also nice pics of Pattys day!! Now where is the site about your favorite hairsylist??? lol We will just have to get a pic together so you can post that!! lol Take care Jeff and we will see you for your next cut and highlight!! lol

  4. Kristi Sauer says:

    If you ever miss paying theose CC bills, come see me…you can pay some of mine!

Trackbacks

  1. […] I started doing freelance work at night in order to compliment the income from my day job and eliminate my credit card debt.   By the end of 2005 I determined that I could safely quit my job and make enough money […]