I hate money.
I love having money and spending money, but I hate the concept of money itself. How it must be watched, nurtured, constantly counted and put to work.
I don't like anything that has to do with finances.
It's just not in my blood.
I'm a smart girl. I grew up in the projects, raised by mother and grandmother. I was a stellar student and a good athlete. I went to Colgate University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Money is the only thing in my life that makes me feel like an idiot. I don't understand money. Unlike most other things in life I didn't bother to learn more about it.
Big mistake! I got my first credit card in college, like anybody else. I never abused it and paid it off religously every month. After I graduated I got a job in New York City and saved $11,000 in one year. But then I bought a car and went to graduate school.
Bada bing, bada boom, two years later I had a master's degree and $16,000 in credit card debt.
The whole time the debt was mounting I thought I had it under control. I thought it really wasn't that much. People run up $20,000 in credit card debt all the time and pay it off quick fast, right?
Wrong. Oh so very wrong.
I lived in Los Angeles while I worked as an intern for the L.A. Times. I traded in my Mazda Protege for a Nissan Altima. What was I thinking? I just wanted a bigger car. I also got a bigger payment and added three more years to my debt.
I got a job in Virginia and struggled at first to make the monthly bills. Money nightmares woke me up in the middle of the night. Thinking about money made my chest tighten, my heart race and my vision blur. How did I let this happen? I felt so stupid and guilty.
You're wondering what I bought?
Plane tickets. Cosmetics (MAC lover right here). Boots, shoes, sandals. Suits for job interviews. Sheet sets. Miscellany from Target. DVDs. Christmas gifts. Groceries. Gas. Chewing gum.
I don't know how it got so big and I don't know when it started.
But I do know that it's going to end now.
There's too many things I want to do. I am ready to make some big moves in my life and the debt is like a millstone hanging from my neck. I'm in love with a wonderful man and want to get married. I want a house. I want to get my mother and grandmother out of the projects. I don't want to send another e-payment to American Express or Chase Visa. I want to sleep like a baby at night. I want to buy a hot bebe dress and some killer shoes for a night on the town without mortgaging my future.
I want out of debt now.
Like an alcoholic fed up with addiction, I am ready to take the first step: My name is Joy and I am deep in debt.
And I want you to help me. And I want to help you.
This blog is my personal journey through paying off my debt. It will take sacrifice (no more HBO? Drat!) and hard work (if I have to get a second job, I might cry). But, l am going to do it. We can do it together. I'll have budgeting tips and progress reports. We can watch my debt shrink like magic. And when I flub up (for example, I just have to go on my best girlfriend's birthday cruise, but only God knows how I'm going to pay for it) I'll shout mea culpa and get back on track.
Are you with me! Yes! Let's go!