When I look back on the last year or so of my debt free journey, there are 3 major life changes that I made that really stand out. These 3 changes stand out because each of them were major catalysts in my journey to debt freedom.
Without them, I might still be in debt right now. And the best part of all? Anyone can do these 3 things. Read on to learn more about the 3 major life changes that I made on my debt free journey.
This post is all about the 3 major life changes that I made on my debt free journey.
1. I Got a Part-time Job
Back in February 2019, I was starting to get really impatient on my debt free journey. My income from my full-time job as a data analyst was good, but it wasn’t enough to get me out of debt as quickly as I wanted. At this time, I knew I had to find a way to increase my income so that I could throw more money at my debt and pay it off as soon as possible.
As soon as the idea of getting a part-time job popped into my head, I ran with it. I cannot tell you how many people said things to me like:
Why would you do that to yourself? Can you just relax? You’re already doing well on your debt free journey. You don’t need to get a part-time job, too. Etc. Etc.
But I blocked it all out. Getting a part-time job felt right in that moment, and when I get stuck on an idea that I feel strongly about, it’s almost impossible for others to change my mind!
So, I started looking for part-time jobs. I knew I wanted something local (I really didn’t want a corporate job – just a personal preference) and something low key. After some searching, I stumbled upon a local ice cream shop on Indeed.com, applied, and had the job within a week!
My first day on the job was Valentine’s Day 2019. The ice cream shop was just one block away from my apartment in downtown Raleigh, so at the time, I could walk there in just a few minutes! It worked out really well.
I ended up making about $9 an hour plus tips. On average, that came out to be about $12-13 an hour. I worked anywhere from 1 to 4 days a week for about a year on top of my 9 to 5 job and ended up making about $5,000 to put toward my student loan debt.
It was a great experience overall, and something that I do recommend if you think you can handle the pain points (yes, there were a few struggles!). I write all about the pros and cons of having a part-time job in this post.
2. I Created an Instagram to Track My Debt Free Journey
You might be thinking to yourself, “how is creating an Instagram “life changing”?” – but hear me out.
I had created a blog called Debt Free Determined in December 2018 but really only posted on it from time to time.
One day, on my way home from my full-time job, the idea of creating an Instagram to track my debt free journey progress came to mind.
I didn’t know of anyone else tracking their debt free journey on Instagram, but still thought it might be fun. Little did I know there was an entire community of people on Instagram with the same idea as me!
Creating @ImperfectTaylor was one of the best decisions I could have made at the time.
As I started posting on @ImperfectFinance (which is now @ImperfectTaylor), more and more people cheered me on. The support from others motivated me to work harder and also made me feel less alone. No one that I knew in my personal life was on a debt free journey, but on Instagram, I had hundreds of “friends” doing it with me. And the more time I spent on Instagram seeing what others like me were up to, the more I was inspired to keep going.
Creating an Instagram to track my debt free journey was a game changer for me. I had about $36,000 of debt when I created @ImperfectFinance in May 2019, and I finished my debt free journey in May 2020. I paid off $36k in that one year, and I really don’t think I would’ve done that without the support from everyone that follows @ImperfectFinance.
3. I Got a Roommate (For the First Time Since College)
I graduated college in May 2015 and had a job offer right around that time for my first-ever job. Most of my friends and fellow graduates were going to work in Washington, D.C. but I wanted to do something a little different, so when I got a job offer in Raleigh, North Carolina, I jumped at the opportunity.
I was so excited to not only start my career, but to also move to a new city. I didn’t know anyone in Raleigh at the time, but that didn’t scare me; I was overwhelmed with excitement, and more than ready to start a new chapter of my life.
My dad had helped me find my first apartment and I was absolutely in love with it. Getting a roommate at that point in my life didn’t even cross my mind – I was ready to be independent and to live on my own.
I officially moved to Raleigh the last week of June/first week of July 2015, and my first day of work followed shortly thereafter. Since that time, I lived on my own in a one-bedroom apartment.
I felt so strongly that I would never have a roommate again, until… I got bit by the debt free journey bug.
I got my part-time job scooping ice cream in February 2019, started @ImperfectFinance in May 2019, and in the summer of 2019, my lease to my one-bedroom apartment in Downtown Raleigh was coming to an end.
At this point, getting a roommate was really a no-brainer for me. I was paying $1,400 a month for rent for my one-bedroom apartment (which felt so expensive), I didn’t even really like my apartment all that much, and I was getting really serious about my debt free journey.
When I crunched the numbers and realized I could save about $600 a month if I moved away from downtown and got a roommate, the decision was easy to make.
I don’t really think I realized just how hard it would be to go from not having a roommate for 4 years and being super independent to living with someone again (especially someone I didn’t know!), but everything ended up working out in the end, and I cut about 5-6 months off my debt free journey because of that change.
Have you made a big life change on your debt free journey? If so, tell me about it in the comments below!
This post was all about the 3 major life changes that I made on my debt free journey.
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