This post is sponsored by SunTrust. Thank you, SunTrust!

According to recent statistics, 80% of people admit their personal finances keep them awake at night. Despite this, few people ever talk openly about their finances. Talking about money (and the strategies we use to manage it) shouldn’t be taboo, especially since talking about these things is key to helping us all handle our money — and the headaches that come with it — a little better.

Looking back on my financial life, there was one time that really sticks out as the most stressful. A year-and-a-half out of college, my internships and endless cover letters landed me a dream job in the record industry. I loved that job and had a blast seeing music made up-close and personal, even if, financially, I was doing about as well as most 24-year-olds (which meant I was paying my rent but also eating a lot of box mac and cheese). At the end of my first year the company moved me to New York to work in their main offices. This was VERY exciting (NYC, baby!), but nerve-wracking as I’d lived my whole life in Southern California. After a little deliberating and discussion with my family and Mike (who I would continue dating long-distance), I decided to go for it.

in the snow
In front of my apartment. It snowed on my second day there…I owned ONE pair of close-toed shoes – running shoes!

Moving to New York and working in the music business there ended up being an incredible experience, but an EXPENSIVE one. My fifth floor walk-up apartment, for example, was so small that you had to roll over the bed to get to the bathroom, but cost twice as much as my rent in Los Angeles. Then there were restaurants, clubs, cab rides, winter clothes, and a million other costs related to living in the Big Apple. As much as I enjoyed my time there, after about fourteen months I decided to leave my job to go back to California and move in with Mike. That’s when — upon settling into my new life with Mike — I had to face how in debt I’d become.

Long story short, I’d accumulated almost ten thousand dollars in credit card debt while in New York. At first I kept this to myself and hustled to find a new job. I was very lucky in that I was able to land another dream job of sorts in the ticket sales department for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Unfortunately, while the job had great potential for advancement, it didn’t pay much to start — minimum wage with a one percent commission rate on sales! For a few weeks I had a lot of sleepless nights worrying about all the interest piling up on my credit cards and dropping me further in the hole.

Eventually, I told Mike about the situation and he was very supportive. We sat down and made a plan of how I could pay down my cards. First, we decided that I had to stop paying the minimum on my cards each month and start doing everything I could to pay down as much as I possibly could. We also decided that I should ask about overtime at work, which I was able to get, thankfully. We made some budgeting and saving changes. We found low cost (or no cost!) things to do on the weekends, began to really think about our purchases at the supermarket (coupons!), and all but stopped eating out. Most importantly, I started to pay very close attention to my budget — how much money was coming in, how much was going out, and how to prepare for fallow times.

It took about two years, but I eventually paid off my cards and was finally out of the red. Even though it was an incredible stress in my life, I’m actually thankful for the lessons it taught me. The budgeting/savings skills I learned have really come in handy with my life as freelancer, which definitely requires making a budget and sticking with it. While I definitely still have my financial stresses, I’m so much better prepare to deal with them than I used to be.

SunTrust is sparking the OnUp movement to motivate people to move past the worry over their finances and take a single step, and then another, and another – each action increasing confidence and moving toward financial well-being. Go to and turn financial stress into positive motivation to move onUp.

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.  

The onUp movement was created to guide millions of people one step at a time towards a more financially confident life without ever losing sight of the moments that matter along the way.

Join the growing number of people transforming their stress into positive motivation to move onUp.

Join the movement


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.