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When I sat down with all of my bills, added everything up and really realized what a mess of debt I was in, I knew I was a financial train wreck.

Maybe you’re feeling that way right now.

Well, I’ve got news for you. Train wrecks can be cleaned up. Even the worst ones. And you can do it all by yourself, but if I’m honest, it’s a hell of a lot faster if you get help with it.

This is how it went down for me.

I spent a very long time sticking my head in the sand, refusing to assess where I was, because quite frankly it was scary. I didn’t accrue my debt with my husband. He had no idea. Which is totally shitty. I don’t deny that. If I’d gone to him earlier, changes are that it wouldn’t have reached the over $60k mark. But we’re not here to split hairs about what might have been.

Once the question of the actual total was answered, I knew that there was no way I could get rid of it by paying the minimum payment. And since it was spread across five cards, attempting the pay a lot on one card until it’s paid off method was not going to be enough.

So I prayed. And I prayed hard. And the first answer was that I needed to tell my husband. That was a great big negative. I was not doing that.

The next answer came in the form of a radio commercial. Which is funny, because I hate radio commercials, and generally avoid them whenever possible. But I heard this one several times. And it finally clicked. I don’t think it was for the company I ended up going with – but it caused me to go to google to figure out how to consolidate the debt.

That’s when I found American Consumer Credit Counseling. (FYI, I’m not getting any kickbacks for promoting them…unless they see this and want to give me something…).

We talked through what the cause of my debt was. Then they contacted the credit card companies and negotiated new interest rates for me.

At the end of it all, I had a manageable monthly payment that I paid directly to them and they dispersed for me to each company. When one was paid off, my payment didn’t go down – they just took the extra and paid it to the one with the highest interest rate. If I had extra money one month, I could send that too.

I got the debt paid down to approximately $48k and my husband found out. Because I told him. I knew God was telling me to tell him. I struggled with it daily. And I resisted as long as I could.

It was not good.

But after 48 hours of fighting and a little time apart, he forgave me. And he helped me develop a budget that I could stick with. To be clear here – I hate budgeting. And I have a hell of a time sticking to it. Not because it’s oppressive or anything, just because numbers are not my thing. I struggle with it weekly. And when I don’t stick to it, it causes problems. I’m fairly thickheaded on this topic, but I’m getting it.

Admittedly, ours may be a special situation, because we do not have a shared budget. Maybe you do, and your husband is right there with you already. Either way, believe me, you can do this.

Our split budgets came out of a unique situation. He was a teacher, and I was a bored stay-at-home mom. When I first started my business, I was not making a lot, so I just kept the cash for spending money.

As it grew, though, I started paying for groceries. And then DISH network. And then the internet.

But my husband really had no clue how much I was making, because I had to ship most of it off to the debt. And here is where the blessing in disguise part of the story starts.

I mentioned earlier – he was a teacher. And let me tell you, he was a miserable teacher. Correction – he was a great teacher…but it is not what he was meant to do with his life, which was making him miserable.

When he found out how much money I was actually making, he realized that he did not have to teach anymore. Once my debt was paid off, he could feel free to pursue his own passions – which happen to be in construction. (That man can build/fix anything.)

And now his business is super successful. He’s booked all the time. And he’s happy. So happy.

There is a chance that we could have gotten to this point without the debt part of the story – but I don’t think so.

I think the lesson here is that we were in a comfortable place. And nothing good comes from living in your comfort zone.

We were surviving with him teaching. But neither of us was happy. He was very very unhappy. And that made me unhappy.

Something had to happen. Could it have been less painful? Maybe.

But then again, maybe not.

I can’t tell you where this journey is leading you – but I am positive there is a reason behind it.