This little blog called the Beautiful Minimal Millennial is celebrating its first anniversary. I started this blog to keep me honest with my spending habits and help me build better money habits. I will be honest, growing up I remember two financial phases. The first phase was frugal, coupon clipping, and watching every penny come and go. The second phase was filled with frivolous spending and fights between my parents about my mother’s spending habits and my father’s refusal to buy new shirts for work.
My parents never discussed their finances with us kids. Never disclosed their salaries. Never talked about budgeting. Never discussed planning for retirement. All I did was see my mother swipe a plastic card. I heard that she paid the bills. The utilities never were shut off. We always had food. But it was a mysterious black hole for me about how it all worked. After I moved out, I found out that while doing their taxes my father figured out that my mother spent about $30,000 on QVC in a single year! Apparently, my mother now has an allowance.
I went into my own personal debt hole with credit card debt of about $10,000, car loan debt around $31,000, and student loan debt around $50,000 in the past 10 years. I had little in savings or retirement. I was green with envy when others talked about paying off debt and saving for retirement. Watching HGTV where people lived in Tiny Homes really pushed me over the edge. How could they just foolishly live without debt and travel the country? Wasn’t the American Dream to live and die with debt?
I would lay in bed panicking and worrying about if I was ever going to get out of debt and be able to retire. I felt suffocated with all of the stuff. The stuff that collected dust, the stuff that promised me that I would feel or look better, the stuff that I was paying interest on annoyed me. First rule of order was to get rid of the stuff that weighed me down. I will not forget that summer day. It was right before the 4th of July holiday in 2018. That day I walked into the library with the thought that if the Marie Kondo book was available I was going to read it. It was almost like a triple dog dare to the universe. And the universe won. The book was there!
That first weekend I read that little book cover to cover. I started with my clothing. Then I went through my books. I took off a couple days from work to finish the rest of the KonMari process. As I saw garbage bags full of stuff be picked up and took countless trips to the Salvation Army, I felt lighter. I felt like there was hope for me.
I can’t remember how I learned of Cait Flanders’ debt free journey that year. But I do remember reading that book and feeling the weight fall off my shoulders. I finally felt that I could breathe and see the light at the end of the debt tunnel. I had a plan. I wasn’t alone with debt. I could make this happen. I had a plan to make 2019 my NO SPEND CHALLENGE YEAR!
To keep me honest, I started a blog so that I could admit to the world with some sense of anonymity that I was going to get out of debt. In the beginning, I did not know how to tell others about my journey. By changing my spending habits, it meant changing my relationships. It meant suggesting free options over spending money. It meant learning to be a better home cook so that eating at home was still going to deliver a good meal. It meant learning to shop from a list. It meant staying out of the bargain dollar section at Target. It meant not buying a bunch of random things at the grocery store just to throw them away. It meant to meal plan with precision. It meant changing my money narrative from I am a broke millennial to a millennial with her shit together that has money flowing to me to pay off debt.
Here is where my blog all started: My Year of Less
Today I come to you with no credit card debt and over 50% of my car paid off. I bought that car November 2018. Impressed? I know I am!
The journey was certainly less than glamorous. It was painful at times. It was hard. It was boring. It was a struggle to break the cycle of bad financial decisions that was built upon about 20 years of poor choices. It was not easy. But it was worth it.
November 2020 will be when I celebrate officially owning my own car for the first time in my life. I will actually have the title to my car! It has never happened before. I never thought it was possible either. But I guess as the story goes where there is a will, there is a way. I found my way!
Looking for some resources?
- No Shopping for 2019 Recap
- How I did the The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo before it was popular
- Ditching the Loan Interest on Student Loans and Car Loans
Looking for some suggestions on how to start a no-spend challenge or get through the debt journey? Send me an email and I will write an article with some tips and tricks.