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Debtors Not-So Anonymous: An Interview with Julie D. Andrews

Most women find themselves on the same path financially.

Until the end of university, their financial situation is seldom up to them. Their parents take care of the finances until, well until they don’t.

Unfortunately, this usually happens in an abrupt manner. School is over, we’re expected to get jobs, get apartments, pay our bills and oh yes, take care of those nagging debts we racked up thanks to our shiny, new education.

Before we’ve even started in life, we’ve found ourselves stalled at the gates.

Author, Content Creator, and Ex-Debtor, Julie Andrews, knows of this all too well. After university she found herself living in one of the most expensive cities in the world and carrying around a debt that she wasn’t even completely knowledgeable about. Her life in New York City was supported by living in a one-bedroom apartment that was converted to a three bedroom so that she could have roommates, and working a paid internship. “I didn’t even know the amount of debt I had or what it looked like,” she shared.

She had stuck her head in the sand.

She had debt, but no idea what the debt looked like and therefore, no plan on how to even begin to tackle it.

How many of us have found ourselves in these kinds of situations before?

We’ve got credit cards that we refuse to look at in fear of overwhelming ourselves, bills that pile up, and debts that go unlooked at. This is a coping strategy, but it’s not a good one.

Life is full of demands, and they tend to pile up. The mortgage needs to be paid, the kids need something for school, the car broke down. Credit cards are convenient and once debts start to pile up, it’s easy to allow ourselves to keep adding to the mountain and think we can visit it another day, but we need to be fully aware of everything in our lives or else we don’t have full control.

Julie took control and paid off $26,000 in student loans by herself while living in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

She admits “I was not always smart about money. I was very unaware about money. I did not have a healthy relationship with money.”

So how did she do it?

  1. She took her head out of the sand!
    “You have to know the numbers and you have to look at them head on. And you have to live an honest life, which means living within your means.”

    Until you educate yourself, you are powerless to your situation. By learning about your debts, what they look like, and how much you owe, then you’ll be able to become an active participant in your life.

    Until you take your head out of the sand and face your debt head on, then you won’t be able to do anything about it.

  2. She became honest about her money
    The first thing Julie did was to learn exactly what her debt looked like. She no longer wanted to lie to herself and hide from her problems.

    Next, she created a system for herself. He biggest breakthrough came when she decided to write everything down. This kept her honest about her spending and knowledgeable about where her money was going. Seeing how much she spent on paper each month gave her the ability to see where she was wasting money and where should could find some to help pay off her debts.

    She also became honest with others about her financial situation. Instead of eating at an expensive restaurant because a friend wanted to, she was open about her goals to save and would suggest a cheaper place, or a night in. “My biggest advice would be don’t spend money you don’t have and be very honest about that. People will respect you for that.”

  3. She made calculated money decisions
    Two of the biggest things that helped her:
    1) When making a buying decision she never got wrapped up in the moment, always asking “is buying this thing, or spending money on this thing, more important than me reaching this goal?”

    2) Knowing the value of money. What does this equate to in your daily life? If you realize that a night out could get your groceries for a week, or that those gorgeous heels could pay your phone bill for a month, then it will become easier to say no. Then you’ll see the true value of money.

  4. She started chipping away at her debts
    Instead of looking at her debt as a huge mountain to climb, she simply took it inch by inch.

    Don’t become overwhelmed by your debts. Just start chipping away at them bit by bit and each day you’ll be one step closer to completing your goal of financial freedom.

  5. She learned the truth about money
    “Money doesn’t define you and money certainly doesn’t define your success… It’s just something that you need to pay your bills and pay your rents and to buy things, but it doesn’t define you.”

    Money tends to cloud our judgment. We see the glamour of it, of having something, and forget about how silly it really is. Having more money doesn’t make you fancier, happier, or a better person. “If you have more money you’ll only use it to do more of the things that you are already doing. You’ll only become more of the person that you already are.”

Money doesn’t have to be complicated, but we make it that way. Yes, debts are stressful, but what’s more stressful is finding yourself without control of your own life? By following Julie’s tips, you too can get your finances in check and find yourself free of your financial burdens. It just makes cents.

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Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is an Associate Editor at Goddess Connections for the Women Who Run It E-Mag. She graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications Studies. She is a resident of Toronto and she has a passion for exploring topics on health and fitness, and enjoys writing stories about women’s issues. She also enjoys writing about business and how to build a career. When she is not working for Women Who Run It you can find her exploring Toronto, going for jogs, or simply enjoying life as a strong, empowered woman who runs it. Her goal is to share stories that help women of all walks of life take control of their lives and create balance with ease.