How to Get Out of Debt

So many people have debt. According to the latest report in 2020, US Consumer Debt reached $4.21 trillion. Whether it’s student loans, car payments, a mortgage, or credit card debt, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, so many people feel shame about their debts. So the first thing I want to say is — don’t feel ashamed. You may feel guilt or regret for getting in a bad situation, but you’re not a bad person for getting in the situation.

The first step to getting out of debt is budgeting, which I wrote about yesterday. There are many ways to budget, so choose whichever works for you. Everyone is going to be different.

The second step may sound counterintuitive, but it makes complete sense when you really stop to think about it. SAVE FOR AN EMERGENCY before you start paying off your debt in full. That way, when you’re paying off your debt, if you have a situation like a broken-down car or a medical crisis, you won’t have to put that money onto your credit card! Some people say you need to be able to save between three to six months’ salary, but for the purposes of this, $1-3k should be enough.

Third, stop using your credit cards. Only spend what you can afford. You can use them again once you’re out of debt. Are your expenses more than what you’re bringing in? If so, how can you remedy that? Sometimes, giving up dining out often or getting Starbucks will only fix so much. Can you move to a cheaper place? Are you able you get by with public transportation? Can you pick up a job for nights and weekends or start a side hustle?

Fourth, take a look at your habits. Are you a compulsive spender? If so, get some help. Check out Debtors Anonymous.

Then, there are some simple things to plan before getting started. First, figure out your ultimate why and write it down. Put it somewhere that you’ll see it — like your wallet. For example, “I want to get out of debt so that ____.” Personally, I want to pay off my small amount of debt to start saving for a wedding, upgrade my house in the future, and for any future children. But since that’s quite a lengthy statement, I wrote down,” I want to get out of debt so that I can start a future with my future husband.”

You also need to set your goals, and the SMART Criteria is the most well-known.

  • Specific: A goal should be clear and simple
  • Measurable: You should be able to track your progress.
  • Achievable: It should be possible within the timeframe you choose.
  • Relevant: It should play a part in getting you closer to paying off your debt.
  • Time-Bound: You should have a deadline.

Let’s say I want to pay off my $4,000 debt within 10 months. I’ve estimated that I’ll have $400 interest max, so $4,400. That means I need to set aside $440 a month to pay towards my debt. That goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

So once you’ve figured this out, how are you going to pay off your debt? There are two popular strategies, and whichever one you choose depends more on your personality. One will give you more victories in the short run, but one will save you money on interest.

The Snowball Method

Make a list of all of your debts, from the smallest to the largest.

  • Visa — $1,000
  • Mastercard — $2,000
  • American Express — $3,000

(Of course, likely there will be car payments, a mortgage, or some student loans, but I’m using credit cards just for ease.)

You’ll pay the minimums on the Mastercard and American Express each month while paying all you can on the smallest amount — the Visa card. You’ll pay it off first and have a quick success, which will motivate you more in the long run! Then you’ll attack the Mastercard, then the American Express. This is a good strategy because you’ll be encouraged quickly as you go along. However, it may cost you more in interest.

The Avalanche Method

Make a list of your debts with the interest rates from highest to lowest.

  • Mastercard — 24%
  • American Express — 20%
  • Visa — 18%

You’ll continue to make minimum payments on the cards (or mortgage, student loans, car payments, etc.) with the lowest interest rates and tackle the debt with the highest interest rate first, paying as much as you can. This method won’t give you victories as quickly as the Snowball Method, but it will save you money in interest, which is quite important!

It depends on your personality and what will keep you going the most to choose between these two methods. Will you be more motivated if you have success quickly? Or will you be more motivated if you know you’re saving money in interest? I prefer the Avalanche Method, but that’s just my personal preference. (Besides, I also only have one small debt to pay off, so it doesn’t really apply to me.)

The moral of the story is that you can pay off your debts. You’re not destined to walk the earth owing money forever. And you shouldn’t feel ashamed of yourself for having debt. Most people do, in some form or another. You are not a bad person for having debt. There is nothing wrong with you, so do not look down on yourself. I know I don’t. Sure, I got myself into my situation, and I feel guilty for that, but I don’t feel guilty for being the person I am. I made a mistake, like millions of others out there. I’m just lucky mine was small. But there’s nothing inherently flawed about me for making this blunder. And there’s nothing wrong with you, either. So give yourself a break — especially if your debts aren’t on credit cards, but are student loans, a mortgage, or car payments. You’re doing all you can do! And I promise you that you can pay off your debts. You can do it! It just may take some time.


Adult Freaking Acne on a Budget

It’s been almost a year since I previously wrote about my adult freaking acne, but I looked back on the article and thought to myself, “God, Lindsay, you couldn’t suggest more affordable options?” Because if you’re anything like me, you can’t afford to buy the items on that list consistently. Hence, I’ve come up with a much cheaper regimen that still works. 

Okay, so I may still use Make Up For Ever foundation and Tarte concealer, but other than that, my skincare and makeup routine is much more affordable. And I thought I’d share it for those of you who are also dealing with adult freaking acne.

Keep in mind that this routine is for oily skin that breaks out. If you have combination or dry skin, these aren’t the products for you!

Morning Routine

Solimo Daily Acne Cleanser — This is the Amazon brand, but it’s great. It has 10% Benzoyl Peroxide for your acne. You can buy it for $6.10, which is much cheaper than the Murad face wash I recommended in my last post.

Solimo Deep Cleaning Astringent — Another great Amazon brand find! It has 0.5% salicylic acid to help curb your acne. Unfortunately, you can only buy it in a three-pack, but the price is still right at $12.47!

Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Facial Toner w/ Aloe Vera Formula — If the Solimo astringent dries your skin out, I recommend Thayers Witch Hazel for your toner. It has four-and-a-half stars and nearly 72,000 reviews! You can find it for $9.59.

Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen for Acne — Sunscreen is a no-brainer. Not only does it keep your face looking young, but it can help prevent skin cancer! It’s a MUST HAVE! This one is SPF 55. Life Hack: Put it on the top of your left hand when you’re driving in the sun. It will keep your hands looking young! This is $10.97, but worth every penny!

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Facial Moisturizer with 0.5% Salicylic Acid — Too many people, especially those with oily skin, skip moisturizer because they’re afraid it will make their face even more oily. But you can’t ignore this crucial step in your skincare routine! This moisturizer is not only great for oily skin, but will also help your acne in the process. You can get it for only $6.67, and there’s currently a $1.32 coupon!

Rimmel Stay Matte Mattifying Primer — I’ve tried primers in many brands at many price points. I thought nothing could beat Make Up For Ever’s (ridiculously expensive) primer, but I was wrong. This is wonderful for oily skin, and really does keep your face matte. And the price is definitely right at $3.63.

NYX Professional Makeup Matte Setting Spray — I used to swear by Urban Decay’s De-Slick Setting Spray, but NYX’s setting spray is even better! Your makeup will stay on all day long — even when you’re sweating — and your face won’t look oily at all. At $6.73, it’s a steal!

Night Routine

Garnier Micellar Water — Removing makeup can be a pain in the ass, especially if you use waterproof mascara. But this micellar water will take it all off in no time! One (BIG) bottle is $6.40.

Reusable Makeup Remover Cloths — These, along with the micellar water, will take your makeup right off in minutes. You may think these aren’t worth buying, but you’d be dead wrong! You can buy a five-pack for only $7.99.

CeraVe Retinol Serum for Post-Acne Marks — After washing your face and putting on your toner/astringent, this is the item to use! This is one of the more expensive items, but it’s worth it if you have acne scars! Besides, CeraVe is known for being very effective for skincare! I’ve never used a product of theirs that doesn’t work as advertised. It’s a little pricy at $16.97, but worth the money.

Tea Tree Oil Face Cream for Acne-Prone Skin — This is a great nighttime moisturizer that isn’t greasy at all. It fights acne and soothes acne scars as well. With four-and-a-half stars, this product is $14.48.

Neutrogena Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Treatment Gel — This is an excellent spot treatment at a great price. It has 10% Benzoyl Peroxide for acne, and is one of the cheaper (and better) spot gels. It only costs $6.89, but there’s currently a coupon for $1.89 off.

Occasional Mask

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay — This is not only great for acne and acne scars, but brightens your skin! You can use it with water or apple cider vinegar, but I highly recommend apple cider vinegar. To be honest, I need to use this more often because it makes my skin so smooth and beautiful! You can purchase it for $14.95 for one pound or $19.95 for two pounds.

I don’t recommend starting all of these products at once to be used every day. Instead, start by using them 2-3 times a week until your face gets used to them, or they may dry out your skin. And flaky skin isn’t any better than acne-prone skin!

I still have adult freaking acne even though I’m about to turn 36! I know I can’t be the only adult dealing with this horrible curse. Hopefully, this skincare treatment will work for you!