In the LearnVest Personal Stories series, everyday people share the details of their money lives, discussing the individual choices they’ve made and how it’s impacted their financial journey.
Today, one woman shares how she went from being a spendthrift to saving nearly half of her income—each month.
I’ve never been very good at saving.
I’m a spender—shoes, trips, nights out, you name it. It’s a fact that became especially apparent to me when I found myself saddled with $10,000 of credit card debt after graduating from college.
Despite this fact, I decided to move to New York City a year later to pursue a career as an actress. The only problem? The minimum payments on my credit cards were so outrageous ($300 a month) that I had to put auditions—and my career dreams—on hold and get a steady, full-time job just to keep up.
As it turns out, I’m great at paying off debt.
I found a job as an administrative assistant at a hedge fund, making $45,000 a year. Between sticking to my budget and putting 30% of each paycheck toward my debt, it only took me 14 months to pay it all off.
I celebrated the feat by printing out a screenshot of my zero balance statement to display on the fridge. Having that measure of quantifiable success was empowering, but the truth is that I still hadn’t gotten the hang of saving—the one thing that could help keep me out of debt.