I’ve crunched my numbers again this morning; this is what I do – crunch numbers and come up with completely unrealistic repayment plans. Amend my scheduled payments and write all about it in my note book only to change my mind again in a few days.

I’ve given myself an end date of 31st December 2016 and I’ve calculated (without interest) that it’s average of $233.33 per week. My absolute minimum per week is $300 so yes realistically I can pay this off. Whether I will or not remains to be seen!!

I’ve now decided that instead of trying to pay equal amounts of everything at once including paying my future self in savings, I’ll do the snowball method. This means my smallest debt will be the first to go. After this, all payments will be back to my primary bank so that my new history will start to look a lot better. I tried to talk them in to lowering my interest rates but since I’ve only been paying minimums to them for the most part of my loan and credit card, I don’t look too exceptional in their books. This will change after my other bank debt goes and I can concentrate on this. One step at a time.

I only want to have $1000 in my savings account which is sitting at $600, in 2 weeks I can bring it up to $1000.

One of the hardest things for me to come to terms with is that I will really need to focus on this over the next year. I think that’s part of the reason I’ve put it off for so many years. A year is a long time when divided by pay weeks!

I’ve started a list of the amazing things I will do once I am debt free.

Buy a NEW car. Brand new, from a dealership. 2016 model. The idea of new debt after my old debt is gone scares me, though Ev told me it’s not something to worry about. Pay my minimums, if I want or need the debt gone – sell the car. But the idea is I will have enough savings to pay it off after a couple of years if I really want to. This will help improve my credit rating as I’ve often missed payments and had to pay late fees and although it’s not a bad rating, it’s not as good as it could be.

Save $15,000 in one year. After seeing how much I can put away each week this should be easier than once thought. I don’t spend much on myself. I have been to the salon twice in the past year. I’m not fashionable enough to buy clothes often. I’m not in to new gadgets and toys, make up or anything else costly. I rarely drink and prefer to eat at home. My only large expenses on myself are tattoo appointments!! I do have quite a big one coming up next month which I will need to work out soon. Most likely this will come out of my $1000 savings fund.

After all of this is gone I can’t even imagine how I will feel. My whole adult life, being in debt is all I’ve known.

I’ve been in debt since I was 20, a total of 7 years under the gloomy debt cloud. It was such a minute amount at the time considering what I’m under now. It’s too painful to revisit so I often don’t. But I wish I did a year later. I wish I did it again when the $2,000 debt crept up to $4,000, then again at $8,000. I got to $20,000 before I really lost sleep, but still I pushed it aside, paid my minimums and didn’t think about it too hard. Gradually the weight and toll it had been taking grew and finally came to a point where I couldn’t possibly ignore it anymore. I will touch on this later.

Currently my debt is $16,100 which is totally manageable in my new savvy ‘I will be debt free by the end of next year’ mind. I’ve read so many inspiring blogs on how people manage to get themselves out of debt and after reading through a lot of fantastic stories have decided to share mine – even if I am the only one reading it will still do me the favour of watching just how far I come along through this journey as well as keeping me motivated.

Here’s the part where I lay it all out. My smallest is a SUPER HIGH INTEREST credit card that I fell for when I needed to buy Christmas presents for my family about 5 years ago. I still have it. My limit was $2000. Now I think – If my family knew how much trouble this would keep me in, they would have told me not to do it. I could have paid this off in 7 weeks if I really wanted to. The card is still active, and I still use it when I mismanage my weekly budget. I keep meaning to cancel the card. There is $1,700 owing on this card. I’ll cancel it soon.

My second largest is a credit card through the bank I have held an account with since I was 10 years old. This card has a limit of $4,000, is not active. I deactivated this around 3 years ago, just didn’t pay it off. I owe $2,500 on this.

My largest and most frustrating debt is a personal loan that I had used for student loans, furniture, gadgets and just a bunch of crap I didn’t need. Except for my car, which I bought for a cool $6,000 and is now worth only about $2,000 if I can trick someone well enough in to buying it. This loan was originally $18,000. It is now just $11,900. I keep my debts at rounded figures because it agrees with my slight obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

So add this all up and I have the weight of exactly $16,100 on my shoulders. It’s not so bad – it’s been worse. I’ve totally got this!

I’ve only recently (say – the last 6 weeks) come to terms with the extent of this and how I finally need to accept and manage my debt. I can thank my boyfriend for this. He is fantastic with money. He owns properties – as in paid off and owns actual properties. Has very decent savings and absolutely no stress whatsoever with money. I have always been so embarrassed about my problems that I didn’t fully disclose this to him. So I would try to pretend it wasn’t so bad and spend more than I should in order to hide that I had serious amounts I should be paying off weekly. We’ve been together for 3 years and moved in together at the start of the year. Now things need to be more open. I got away with not sharing this with him for so long that I built it up in to a giant ugly monster that would threaten our relationship if it came out.

In the end – I couldn’t really afford my share of the groceries one week and had to tell him the truth. He felt pretty bad because he didn’t realise I had been struggling so much and offered to help any way he could. I wouldn’t accept him taking over my loans and paying him back, because I don’t feel like I’d really be accomplished in that sense I had to have him save me from the monster. This was a HUGE relief, and it forced me to act on working out a proper plan and setting an end date.

In the last 6 weeks, I have paid $870 off my debts and have put $600 aside in to a savings account. This isn’t a huge achievement. I know I can do better. But to put in to perspective, the 6 weeks before that I would have only paid $600 off my debts and put NO dollars in to a savings account – I’d be living week to week and expecting someone to call to remind me I need to pay my minimum on something.

My short term goal is saving $1000 for an emergency fund. I then plan to snowball the figures down and be left with my personal loan only.

However, each week I have been coming up with a new brilliant plan to combat this – maybe I should pay this way – maybe I should pay minimums until I’ve got enough savings.. etc. I would love any tips on how you have managed to get yourself in to a routine and any advice on what else to consider so my budgets don’t blow out.