My money story doesn’t really have a start date. There wasn’t a date when everything went horribly wrong.
I had no real concept of money growing up. I didn’t save. I got my first credit card when I was 18, which I promptly maxed out. I used money carelessly.
I knew in my 20s that there was a problem and that I relied too heavily on credit. That I shopped when I was stressed. But isn’t that what culture teaches us? To shop until we drop? To get a little retail therapy?
Things calmed down for a while because I was in law school and I had no extra money to spend. I also didn’t have the banking job that made people want to give me credit cards.
I moved to Vegas, became a lawyer and immediately jumped into the world of all things yuppie. I was also stressed because I hated my new career. I shopped a lot. For shoes. So many shoes. (Shoes that eventually caused me actual harm to my ankles.)
At one point, I realized that I had no way to pay the money back. I owed $100k for law school. I owed money to my grandfather. I owed $37k to various credit card companies. I made too much to qualify for bankruptcy, because I definitely considered it as an option.
I turned to Credit Counseling, which was the best decision I’ve ever made. I got a money coach. I talked to a financial therapist. I got serious help. I stayed accountable on my blog, The Frugal Lawyer, which has since been transferred here.
I paid off $37,000 in debt within 3 years. I made the final payments to my credit card companies in December 2011. It was an amazing feeling.
I’m still not perfect with money and I’m always trying to be better. I want to get my loans paid off and concentrate on retirement. I’m also no longer the face of yuppie compulsive shopping addiction. (I would much rather curl up with my cats now than hit a sale to destress.)