Have you ever seen those stories of people digging themselves out of massive debt piles and think “that could never happen to me”?
It happens WAY more often than you would expect- and it can happen to anyone.
I sat down with Erica from The Healthy Girl Hustle to learn her story of getting into $67,000 in debt and how she worked tirelessly to dig herself out.
Check out my interview with Erica – and then check out her blog!
How Did You Get Into Debt?
I never thought I would have to be answering a question of this nature but I guess it has been my fate.
My goal when I was fresh out of high school was to do my studies in the States (I am Canadian).
The medical program that I was after was available at an accelerated pace in the US.
I did realize that I would be an international student and it would ultimately cost more to finish my degrees.
I had amazing credit.
I opened up some mutual funds so I could take them out in a lump sum upon finishing University.
I thought I was all set, but unfortunately, I ran into some financial trouble when the Canadian government stopped my grants due to a few tax mix-ups (it was complicated!).
So I had to get a few more part-time jobs to pay for my tuition (or try).
I wasn’t lucky enough to have much help from family due to their own financial situations.
If I wasn’t at school, I was at work and it made for an extremely stressful postsecondary time in my life.
In my last year of University, the registrar’s office told me they would hold my degree until my debt to them was paid.
I regrettably was forced to put a very large amount of tuition on my credit cards (interest rate of 19.9%!) in exchange for that important piece of paper.
After that, it was the worst financial situation I could possibly be in.
I still didn’t have a job related to my medical studies, my part-time work was not bringing in enough to pay my credit card debt, rent, gas, car payment, etc.
And I had this looming 19.9% over my head constantly.
I was $67 000 in debt and completely overwhelmed.
The banks froze all my accounts because I had missed so many payments and my credit was going to crap.
What strategies did you use to get out of debt, and how long did it take?
At this point, I needed a solid job that made more money.
That year, I worked for 8 different companies trying to scale my way up the ladder to a higher salary.
I worked non-stop and took every on-call shift I could.
Finally, I landed a job in the hospital and things were looking up.
I kept my other part-time job that I could work the opposing shift.
I moved back in with my mom, and every dollar I made went into essential living expenses or my debt.
It took a good 3 to 4 years for me to get my head above water.
I continued to move up in the hospital and with my side hustles.
I got my debt down to peanuts and my credit did a complete 180.
So much so that I could be approved for a mortgage finally.
What are you doing now to avoid getting back into debt?
I learned a lot about finances early on and quite quickly.
I always have a hefty amount of funds sitting in limbo waiting for a potential emergency.
I have never been one to spend on senseless things and accumulate consumer debt but I still watch what I buy.
I ask myself, do I REALLY need this?
What will I gain from having this particular item?
Is this going to be an investment in my health or my business?
I only buy things that I need and I just let my loved ones treat me here and there for the things I want.
How did you stay motivated while paying down the debt?
What motivated me, and what still does, is financial freedom.
I want my future to continue to look promising, and I don’t ever want to allow finances to make me feel hopeless again.
If I couldn’t pay down the debt, then how would I have enough money to buy a house?
This was the goal, to own my own house.
Would you have done anything differently?
Most of my situation was out of my control.
I did work with my provincial government body to get some of my government student loans reduced.
I would have asked for their help sooner and maybe I could have slowed the snowball down but other than that, no I wouldn’t have.
What would you recommend for someone who is in the same debt situation you were in?
The most important thing to tell yourself is that it will get better.
The only person that will make the debt go away is YOU.
You need to do what it takes to get yourself out.
If that means being uncomfortable then so be it.
That’s what you have to do.
It is a temporary situation if you stay consistent, it will be a lifelong situation if you allow debt to hold you down.
Have you ever found yourself deep in debt? What strategies did you use to dig yourself out? Would you like your debt story to be featured on my blog?
Share your answers in the comments!
Hi, I’m Erica! I am the writer and founder of The Healthy Girl Hustle. I’m a Fitness Trainer & health addict who loves a good cup of coffee. I find research in the medical field exciting and I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology with concentrations in Psychology and Health Sciences. Adding to my knowledge daily is kind of my thing! I am a busy mom of 2 toddlers who keep me on my toes, constantly.
My mission is to help women achieve their fitness and health goals, visit the site @ https://www.healthygirlhustle.com. Follow The Healthy Girl Hustle on Instagram for Fitness and Health tips and advice!
Do you want to reset your money mindset?
Sign up here to receive the FREE 7-Day Money Mindset Reset course!