How I Paid Off $35,000 of Debt Over Lunch

Alden Wicker
Posted

My Debt Aha! Moment

We brought lunch from home (of course) and met in a conference room to share our financial positions. We were honest to a fault, and most importantly, we never judged each other—no one’s debt made them good or bad.

This was the turning point for me.

I remember looking at a spreadsheet of my school loans, credit cards and interest payments, and thinking, “This is the first time that I’ve actually seen the big picture.” It was like looking in a mirror—not only was my credit card debt a huge problem, but I was also nowhere near being out of it.

But it was a relief to see that everyone had problems. One girl had a larger salary, but she also had a lot more credit card debt, which helped me to realize that if we could help her, we could help me, too.

CHECKLIST: I Want to Create a Plan for Paying Off Debt

How Our Money Lunch Club Worked

We set budgets. We created emergency savings. We read articles and books, and then copied pages for each other. We even called credit card companies to lower our interest rates.

But our top priority was planning ahead. Although I couldn’t be there with my Money Lunch friend at an upcoming bachelorette party, we could come up with a plan beforehand to prevent her from spending too much.

“I needed a reality check on what I could afford because I wanted to play at the level of people who had more money.”

We made it okay to say, “You know, you don’t really need that,” when everyone else was saying, “That’s so cute! You have to have it!”

You need that emotional preparation and support because the real world wants to test you. And knowing that we had to share things with each other held us accountable because we were going to ask how much she spent at that bachelorette.

I personally needed a reality check all of the time on what I could afford because I always wanted to play at the level of people who had more money—our Money Lunch meetings brought me down to earth.

RELATED: How to Combat “Money Comparisonitis”

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