Ten years ago today, I graduated from college. This is significant because today I also paid off my student loans, making me totally and completely debt free!
This is about how I feel:
Ironically, two months before I planned to pay off my credit card debt, my number was stolen and used to make $200+ in purchases at two Target stores in Colorado. It’s been years since I’ve shopped at a Target and I’ve never even been to Colorado, so it’s odd to think of my credit card living a life of shopping thrills without me. I’ve put the expenses into dispute with my credit card company and, with any luck, I won’t have to pay them.
In the meantime, I’ve paid off my credit card debt!
I hit another milestone today: my total debt is under $10,000! I’m heading toward a seven-year low mark and I’m just doing full-on battle with the beast.
Since studying abroad in college, I’ve carried credit card debt. It ballooned when my income increased, a typical example of lifestyle inflation. Two years after graduating from college, I bought a brand new car and my student loans came due, all within the same summer.
See that big spike in the chart below? Yeah, I’ve been recovering from that since 2005.
Wow. Today my credit card debt is under $5,000.
I’ve been racking up credit card debt since college, when I needed to study abroad in order to graduate with a degree in German, over 11 years ago. Student loans paid for all of the basic expenses, but I didn’t have a dime to my name to pay for weekend travel, food outside of my host family’s house, or souvenirs.
A few years later, I had debt totaling $40,000+, from student loans, a brand new car purchase and the day-to-day reliance on credit for splurges. Not all of my credit card debt was frivolous, though. I paid for some of my younger sister’s college tuition, I bought furniture and art, and there was a short period of time that I relied on credit cards while getting my consulting work off the ground. I wish I could have paid cash for those things, but I’ve made peace with those debts over the years.