Hi Dawn Michelle,
I saw your interview with Katherine on her blog and I loved it! I am like how you were before. I kept buying everything I want and now I am in debt and it’s really hurting my relationship with my boyfriend because I can’t save up for our future just trying to pay off the debt little by little. I was wondering if you could give me some advice on how you paid off your debt. I’d really appreciate it. Thanks!
Thanks so much for your message! I’m also so glad that you enjoyed the interview. I will do my best to give you some suggestions on paying down debt by sharing a bit more of my own story.
When I moved to Los Angeles I was continuing to live above my means while going into some serious debt. I was spending hundreds of dollars on photography, hair pieces, clothing, makeup, and anything beauty to have a specific image as a professional dancer in Hollywood. Looking back it was truly ridiculous, yet I was new to the Los Angeles dance scene which was nothing like the performance world of New York which I was used to. My insecurities fueled my debt.
Even after I started working in Los Angeles and feeling much more comfortable in the professional dance scene, I was a consistent shopaholic for anything and everything. I was a recreational and emotional shopper. It was not until I decided to change and take full responsibility for my debt that I started on a minimalist lifestyle journey which also helped me pay off my debt.
I shared a few thoughts on my former shopaholic days in this article. I wish I had known some of the things I know now, but at least I can share them with you. Here is a great example of one of my emotional shopping excursions. I think I spent over $100 at American Apparel that day after that unfortunate experience. I also break down exactly how much debt I had and how it was paid off in this article.
Once you are clear with what your spending weakness is, you must find a new avenue for that misused energy. My weakness was all things beauty. I would spend about $100 on my organic skin care every 1.5-2 months, and that was skin care alone. I was also buying makeup, clothing, and hair products monthly as well.
I had to find a new way to create the glamour I needed for work without even a fraction of the cost. So I started doing research and making my own skin and hair care, as well as certain makeup items. I already had a lot of knowledge on cosmetics after being a beauty consultant for a few years, yet had never thought to translate the information to natural DIY products until my debt took over.
By decluttering and organizing my wardrobe I stopped feeling like I had nothing to wear. I also stopped buying magazines and started looking at street style and fashion blogs for inspiration versus loading myself with the current trends and shopping necessities. After I paid off my debt, shopping vintage and thift brought more creativity to my personal style. It was also much easier on my wallet.
Deciding to live more and more like a minimalist encouraged me to declutter constantly which I believe made room for more abundance to come in. I still have a lot to learn yet these things really helped me along the way. My new minimalist philosophy gave me a new perspective of how to live my life. I finally stopped my insatiable wanting just to want. Stores no longer have the same influence over me, and sales no longer mean anything unless it is something that I actually need.
I hope that this is helpful to you and I know that you can get through this. We all have ups and downs. That’s what life is. I think it is how we choose to move through them that is most important.
(Image by Dawn Michelle)