In March 2015, I had so much debt I felt like I couldn't breathe.
I had spent the previous two years building my Etsy business into a physical store, working as a freelance writer and jetting off every other month to visit my fiancé. I finished my Master's degree after four years of night classes.
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From the outside, my life looked great. I was in charge of my career and my education. I was in love. I was a strong, relatively independent woman.
And then it all fell apart.
How I got to be $50,000 in debt
Honesty time: This wasn't my first debt rodeo.
In 2011, I paid off about $8,000 in credit-card debt, the remnants of a divorce and a few years of car repairs and insurance I couldn't afford. Selling the car helped, but keeping up a consistent side hustle got me out of the hole.
This time was different.
During a brief panic, I'd rented an apartment that cost $400 above my budget.