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Divorcing. Debt.–Guest Entry by Domi Golden

Divorce

Divorce- [dih-vawrs, -vohrs] (noun): total separation; disunion; (verb- used with object): to separate; cut off.

It’s a word that no married person wants to hear. Or speak.

Six years ago, I dedicated my life to one man. A year later we married. Life was good and we had everything we wanted- or so it seemed. The reality was that we were in debt, fighting over the finances and generally unhappy. My marriage was disintegrating right in front of me.

You see, I was the Nerd and the Saver and my husband was the Free Spirited Spender. I attempted to work on our financial issues but it seemed like no matter how hard I tried, Mr. Free Spirit and I were never on the same page. Bills were past due and our bank account was always bouncing. But we got that new video game and had that silly kitchen gadget we thought we needed!

Before I knew it, our financial differences had become a major marital problem that couldn’t be fixed. I found myself saying the worst four words I had ever said.

I want a divorce.

Mr. Free Spirit moved out shortly thereafter, and I began my new life as a single woman. Finally, financial peace and freedom! I can do what I want, when I want. No more past due bills. No more overdrawn accounts. No more money issues. Right?

Wrong.

I got myself into an even bigger mess. I took out a loan on my 401k to buy furniture. I used it to buy more kitchen gadgets, go out to eat and who knows what else. I got further behind on bills. Then the icing on the cake? One of those debts went off a cliff. I got sued for a $5000 medical bill. They soon started taking upwards of $400 from my pay each month.

I was drowning in debt with no way out. I had to sell a bunch of items that I didn’t really need, give up my dogs and break my lease so I could move into a family member’s house. I couldn’t afford my rent and utilities anymore. My life was getting worse- not better. How could I have let it get this bad? How would I ever get back on my own two feet again?

That’s when it happened. Just when I thought there was no hope left- hope showed up.

I received a message from a great friend of mine who was following this Dave Ramsey guy and something called The Baby Steps. He and his wife were working towards financial peace and had found a system that worked. He shared the Baby Steps with me and helped me get started with a written budget. Huh? Plan where my money goes before I even have it? What a crazy concept!

I spent hours and days working on my first budget, sharing what I had with my new financial mentor. We talked and he tweaked. I tweaked it and shared with him again and again until we had it figured out. I read a couple books that helped explain the system and I soon became obsessed with the idea of being completely debt free! The idea of never having to make another payment on debts ever again had consumed me! I figured I could be debt free in about three years, but that wasn’t soon enough. I had to do something else.

With some encouragement from my mentor, I got a second job and started selling more stuff. With that added sacrifice, I shaved off almost a full year from the payoff date! That’s twelve months of payments that I won’t have to make! Twelve extra months to save towards a better and brighter future!

As though the help my mentor had given me wasn’t enough, he and his wife decided to gift me with the most precious gift I could ever receive- a lifetime membership to the best class I’ve ever taken: Financial Peace University. In nine weeks, I learned more than I could have ever dreamt possible. I have learned how to create a monthly budget and to stick to it. I’ve learned how to give every dollar a name, prioritize my bills and make sacrifices to the things I don’t really need. I’m human, though, and have made some slips here and there; but with the support from friends and family, I’ve had the accountability to get myself back on track and the slips are fewer and farther between.

I am proud to say that as of today, I have been able to pay off almost $5000 in debt (3 of those debts paid in full) just by making minimum payments. I would not have been able to do this without the help and encouragement from my friends, family and most of all, my mentor.

Dear Debt, I want a divorce.

* Again, special thanks to Domi for her submission. Find her on Facebook. (https://www.facebook.com/Domilicious)

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