This morning I submitted my last credit card payment in my debt snowball. I paid off about $20,000 in credit card debt in less than 6 months. I'm not proud of it, but I can't beat myself up about it either. My car will be paid off in January and my refinanced undergrad student loans will finally die a year after that, hopefully sooner. Then I'll begin shoveling more cash at my house and investments.
Why am I sharing this? I grew up thinking that debt was a lifestyle. Student loans were normal. Credit cards were necessary. No one ever told me otherwise. In my 20s, I continued to live by those principles. I had friends that had zero debt and were investing aggressively since they were 21. I also had friends that confidently stated, "There's no such thing as not living paycheck to paycheck" and "You'll always owe somebody something." Let me tell you something. That is a LIE. My Aunt Ethel bought everyone in my family this book several years ago. It traveled with me through 5 moves, but I finally cracked it open after turning 30 last year. I've religiously listened to Dave's podcast and a dozen others on financial literacy, investing and debt freedom daily. I've gotten a hold of my bad spending habits and changed my mindset. It doesn't matter if you make $50,000 or $250,000 per year, have a 530 or 830 credit score, purchased 3 houses or rented your entire life. You have to have the right MINDSET. You have to WANT the freedom. It took me making more money, working for a company that preaches financial security, wanting to work for myself and getting away from "normal" people to realize all of this. I'm not quite where I want to be, but I'm no where near where I used to be. (continued in comments)