My debt monster can be quantified. It has a precise figure, it knows a certain shape and form. A fluid one, mind you, but with the tendency to grow larger. I know there’s no way to conquer debt without first facing it and looking it squarely in the eye to size it up, so here goes.
Behold, my debt:
- Visa: $18,000 (19.99%)
- Line of Credit 1: $12,000 (8.80%)
- Line of Credit 2: $13,270 (7%)
- Personal loan: $20,000 (2% – family loan)
My commercial debt comes to $43,270.
Add in the personal loan from a family member, and the official number I’ve burdened my life with is $63,270.00.
I just turned 30, and I have over $60K of debt to my name, with no car, no home, no investment property to show for it. I’ve got here because of wanting to live a certain life. I got here because of the trips, the dinners out, and the big gaping chasm that demands I fill it with more things to make me feel more complete.
The buck stops here.
As a disciple of all things FI (except for, umm, the actual application of the principles), I’ve been exposed to many schools of thought as to how to approach one’s ulitmate goal. I’ve tried shopping bans several times over the years and failed miserably – I’m not using the word “addiction” lightly when I claim I’m a (self-professed) shopping addict; I turn to shopping to feel good, when something feels off or empty in my life I turn to purchasing new items, when I want to buys omething the thoughts are all-consuming … name me the symptoms, I have them. The furthest I’ve ever gotten was 5 days without shopping (pitiful, I know). To get something you’ve never gotten, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done…. cue in 160 Days of Nothing New.
Although I love all the different vehicles I’ve read about to taming the urge for consumerism – minimalism, shopping bans, extreme frugality, saving a certain % of your salary off the top – the Buy Nothing New folks have resonated with me the most. Perhaps it’s just the semantics of “Buy Nothing New” that appeals to me more than “Shopping Ban” – I don’t know, but it certainly feels good, and it’s feels like a fun challenge instead of a limitation. Whenever I’d scrawl “buy nothing month” or “no spend week” in my planner, I felt like there was a sense of deprivation and lack, where as “nothing new” feels like there’s still so much there for me – I have everything in the world still available to me, except for this one little category. The best part is that “Nothing New” makes it feel like a little category, when all this time it’s been my massive, untameable monster. So why the 160, you may be thinking? I was going to go to June 1st, 2016 – I’d ideally like 6 months, but in July I’ll be visiting my family in Europe and they’re in a country that’s undergone financial devastation and I know I’ll be bringing gifts for my younger cousins that will help them in their upcoming school year. That brought me to 155 days, whereas 160 days will be bring me to 06/06/2016. Rounded numbers are also just semantics, but let me live.