PeerStory: Debbie Does Budgeting

PeerFinance101 is about helping each other out with personal finances. From peer lending to sharing stories about managing debt, investing and anything related to meeting your financial goals.

Our story is from a long-time friend from college. Debbie moved out to the west coast to work in publishing after we graduated from Iowa State University.  

Debbie’s PeerStory: Growing up Financially Naïve and Where it Led Me

After we graduated from college, I got a good job as a production assistant in Los Angeles. It wasn’t my dream job but I could see the path towards the career I wanted.

The money was ok, but life on the west coast is expensive and I wasn’t quite making ends meet. One of my biggest goals was to buy my own house by the time I turned 30 years old but I wasn’t getting there.

The wake-up was when I checked my credit score one day. I had never been late on a payment but because of all the debt, I only had a 660 FICO score. Talking with banker friends, I knew it wouldn’t be good enough to get a loan on a house.

Making a Commitment and Enlisting Others to Help

We dedicated a whole Saturday morning for working through our budgets. I decided to cut my budget down to the bare bones and stick with it for two months.

I managed to pay off all my student debt and credit cards in a little over two years and my credit score jumped. Nine years later and I have my house and a ton of equity from making payments and not falling into the trap of refinancing.

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