Dear Debt: A Story of Breaking Up With Debt, book review. How one woman was able to pay off $81,000 in student loans (without living with parents or making six figures). Click through to read!

Being in debt is lonely and mind numbing, but it doesn’t have to be. Dear Debt is a story of one woman on a journey getting out of $81,000 of debt, without living with her parents or making six figures. She launched a new career and money mindset in the process.

Melanie Lockert, author of the book, is a freelance writer and event planner, who runs the popular blog, Dear Debt, which won the Best Debt Blog award at the 2015 Plutus Awards. The site features a diverse group of people writing letters of action to break up with their debt.

Dear Debt was actually one of the first blogs I read when I started to get interested in personal finance. I found the site from my google searches of hating debt and wanting to get rid of my student loans. It’s been a great relief to read people’s different debt stories and the mutual hatred of debt. Who knew debt hatred could be such a bonding and relatable experience! 🙂

Recently, Melanie released her first book, Dear Debt: A Story About Breaking Up With Debt. The book chronicles her first tango with debt at age 17 when signing up for student loans, all the way to graduate school and later on with life and the presumed societal inflations of lifestyle.

The book was released on Friday and I devoured it over the weekend. I kinda got really enveloped in it to point where I forgot about finishing my binging of Stranger Things on Netflix. So yeah, the book was more important to me than “netflixing”, that should tell you how good it is!

The beginning of the book frequently mentions the psychological and societal attitude towards debt. People, starting when they’re teenagers and signing for their first set of student loans, are led to believe debt is a normal thing and not something to worry about. Everyone’s doing it. Melanie talks about how she broke free from the perspective and took charge of her debt situation.

People like to say money isn’t everything. While that’s true to an extent, I firmly believe the only people who say that are people who haven’t been face-to-face with being broke or feeling buried under debt.

Melanie went through college and graduate school pursuing various creative endeavors in theater and the arts. She got her bachelor’s degree in theater and master’s degree in performance studies. Because of her activities in the creative field and non-profit work experience, she thought she was destined to a path of low wages and struggle.

Many people have similar mindsets to where she was at. They think they will never be able to reach financial independence or be in charge of their money due to their situation. The book breaks down different steps on moving past a limiting money mindset to developing a proactive view towards money.

Money is not good or bad. Money is simply a tool for opportunities

Melanie talks about the negative toll her student loan debt took on her and how got out of a rut. She details different steps she took to start saving, even through seasons of underemployed and a low-wage nonprofit salary.

The book covers how to get started with side hustles: strategy, building your brand and dealing with things like taxes.

The biggest lesson is shifting your money mindset. We all have a unique mindset when it comes to money: the way we view saving, making more, and spending triggers. Mindsets and bad habits can be remedied and improved upon. Changing your money mindset is arguably the most important thing towards staying motivated to eliminate debt and achieve your financial goals.

Being in debt doesn’t have to be a miserable and lonely experience. This book helped me remember that.

Dear Debt: A Story About Breaking Up With Debt is available now!

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Colin // RebelwithaPlan

Colin Ashby is the writer behind Rebel with a Plan, a website dedicated to people who choose to rebel against the norm of living in debt and feeling financially unenlightened. He believes everyone has an eccentric quality to embrace and that lattes are sometimes a necessity (despite what the personal finance community tells you).

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  • So happy for Melanie and her new book!

    • I have it all marked up with highlights from all the awesome quotes! Great book and so happy for her!

  • The Green Swan

    Thanks for the book review! Sounds like a good book and a new blog I will be checking out. Thanks for the intro!

  • I love her blog. It’s a great blog that details what kind of relationship one should have with debt!

    Personally, I hate debt. I feel enslaved by another person if I take on another debt. I’m willing to raise money through debt or family and friends but only if I feel OK feeling like I owe them. I will spend all my waking days to pay someone’s dollar back before I eat but I can’t feel that way when I have debt owed to Sallie Mae or for-profit companies.

    • I share the feeling. I think Sallie Mae actually changed their name because people associate such a negative connotation with them.

  • Holly Johnson

    Nice review~ Melanie definitely keeps it real. I can’t wait to check out her book.

  • “The beginning of the book frequently mentions the psychological and societal attitude towards debt.” Psychology plays a HUGE part in debt and the fallout from it. I think Melanie does a better job than anyone capturing that aspect of debt.