Ruth, a SugarMamma subscriber recently became personally debt free. This means that her $27,272 in credit card and personal debt is now GONE. Yes, completely gone. $0 owing in credit card debt AND she did this in 12 months, all on a contracting income using the Sugar Budget App and The $1000 Project. Read below for her story, how she achieved it and some serious inspiration.
Ruth very graciously opened up about her attitude, desire for change and new money mindset which is here to stay….
Lets get chatting….
What was your attitude around money before you started on this journey?
“My previous relationship with money could be described as ‘winging it’ – I only ever planned for the week ahead, and long-term security was not on my radar. I travelled and moved around a lot in my 20s, my theory being ‘I can pay it off later when I’m older and have settled down’.
I’m a contractor so my employment situation has often been insecure. The debt accumulated slowly – not from impulse buying or high-end purchases, but if there was a gap between jobs that’s when I would get into trouble and find myself relying on a loan or credit card. Which is easy to do when you have no savings and no emergency fund.
As the years passed I just never got on top of it and after a couple of rough periods with family illness etc, it became overwhelming. I felt like, well what’s the point of being able to pay off $30 when there’s still tens of thousands to go?”
How did you feel about money in your life?
“It sounds silly but my attitude was that I just didn’t care about money or think about it too much. Being a creative person, I always thought being money-focused was more of a negative trait and that I was OK living on the bare minimum.”
What was the “Ah-ha” moment for you?
“The two biggest factors were education (YouTube, blogs) and self-awareness – actually facing the problem and crunching the numbers, painful as it was!
I remember a big turning point when I sat down with the Sugar Mamma budget template, worked out exactly how much I owed, and realised my combined minimum monthly repayments on my debts were almost as much as my rent. Essentially, I was paying double rent every month and only covering the interest. I thought about the type of house I could be living in with that money and nearly fell off my chair. It hit me that until I tackled the problem I would be stuck in this cycle forever. And that was it, I wanted my life back.”
How long did this take from there?
“My original plan was 15 months (I included a buffer in case there were any life emergencies) but managed to complete my goal in just under 12 months. If you had told me this 18 months ago I would have laughed. I always assumed it would take at least five years to get myself back on track.”
What was your plan of attack?
“I set up a budget for each fortnight, cut back on every expense I could, sold things, took on extra odd jobs and followed the $1000 project to start transferring regular packages towards my debt, using the snowball method. Using cash for basic living expenses made a big difference as I could see visually in my purse how much I had left for the week which influenced my spending.
I also tracked my progress by setting up a spreadsheet listing all of my debts. On the 1st of each month I would enter the new total and tally the difference of what had been paid off. This was incredibly motivating as I could see the number going down every month and each debt greyed out as it was finalised.
My motto was “The harder I work now, the sooner I get my life back”. I was prepared for a hellish period of no fun but it was actually fine. I realised that buying stuff does not improve quality of life. I kept super busy with my various jobs and, as I wasn’t going out as much on weekends, used the extra time to tackle home/creative projects and things that had been on my to-do list for years, which felt great.”
How do you feel now about your financial future?
“The biggest shift for me is that I used to believe that being financially savvy and secure was exclusively for people in the industry or on very high incomes. I now realise that, outside of covering basic living expenses, it’s not about how much you earn but what you do with it. Society is geared towards encouraging us to spend as much as possible and keep on buying more – it is so very freeing to feel 100% in control of what I do and do not need and what is important in my life.
As a single woman I used to make jokes about eating cat food in my retirement. Now I believe I can achieve anything I put my mind to, and am taking active steps to maximise my super and start building an investment portfolio.”
What is next?
“This year I want to continue expanding my financial education. I will keep following the same fortnightly budget system and the $1000 project, only this time using the $1000 packages to start investing. I cannot put into words how exciting this is – it really feels like a fresh start in life. I’m also aiming to build my emergency fund to $10,000, and take my Mum on a trip for her birthday.”
I hope that reading Ruth’s story inspires you to change your money mindset, set goals and get up and have a go. Financial freedom is only one of the many insights you will gain from taking more responsibility and self love towards your financial future…