This comes at a funny time because I was just recently also thinking about how unexpectedly okay I feel about my finances right now. I’m making more than I ever have before — still not much! but more! — which enabled me to save ahead for Christmas and buy actual good presents, which I feel great about. I have enough money, most weeks, to buy the fancy bread or an extra jug of chocolate milk if I want. I no longer cry every payday when I try to pay my bills. I have an emergency fund. Things are still not great — in January my student loan payment goes up significantly, and I’m still just not making headway against debt in general — but I have enough breathing room that I feel okay. And that’s such a wonderful feeling.
(Edited to add: I would love to see a Billfold article about paying down debt when you’re making enough to pay more than the minimum payments… but not by much. Is it even worth it to pay ten or twenty extra dollars that could be deeply useful elsewhere? Is there any real hope of eventually being debt-free when your earning prospects are not improving any time soon? Inquiring minds want to know.)