How I Finally Got My Finances in Shape (and How You Can, Too)

When I graduated college, I was sure I had my life figured out.

Fast forward ten years later, and I was in debt. Not just student debt, either: I had a mortgage I couldn’t afford, credit card debt, you name it. I felt stressed and overwhelmed, until one afternoon I sat down and had this thought:

“I’m not going to let this happen.”

My parents were in debt while I was growing up, and I was bound and determined to not end up there. (The best-laid plans of mice and men…) I looked at my finances, and I knew I wasn’t going to spend the next twenty years flirting with bankruptcy. I was going to end this.

I came up with a plan, and I’m pleased to say: it worked. It really worked. It took time, and brutal sacrifices, but I’m now debt free.

Armed with my experience, I’m ready to offer some advice on how you, too, can get your finances into shape. If you want to follow in my footsteps, here’s everything I did to fix my financial situation.

I consolidated my debt. Did you know you can consolidate your debts into your home loan payments? You can use the debt consolidation calculator provided by Lendi to see what your monthly payments might look like, if you want to do what I did. Debt consolidation helps you get all of your payments into one clean, manageable place. Plus, it frees up your cash.

I moved. Speaking of home loans, I exchanged one home for another. The home I was in was too large, and it was in a nicer neighborhood: the cookie-cutter, green lawn kind. It was a beautiful subdivision, but I didn’t need anything that swanky. I moved to a smaller house in a more diverse neighborhood, and I’m not lying when I say I love it more. My mortgage payments went down considerably, which was good, because now my credit card debt was rolled in there, too.

I stopped buying. Did you know where all my money was going? The same place yours might be. Food, clothes, internet, TV… The problem was, I was spending more than I needed to. I need clothes and food, of course, but I needed 60% fewer clothes than I owned, and I was spending hundreds more on groceries than I had to. I took control of my consumption and resisted spending where I didn’t need to.

I started a passive income stream. My whole life took a deep breath of relief when I moved, but my finances still weren’t clearing fast enough for my taste. I decided to start a small online store on the side. I needed the help of SEO companies to get my search engine optimization up to par, but I started making a decent amount of passive income through the website. Since I was making money without extending very many hours, it allowed me to boost my wages without increasing my stress levels.

That’s everything I did to improve my finances. If you want to make this shift, don’t kid yourself; it’s not easy. If you want to live a life free of debt, you have to make bold moves. You have to turn your life upside down.

But if you do, it works.