Yes folks, boys and girls it has been one year since I made the concrete decision, and took action, to get my credit card debt in order. As such today will be a reflective Blog entry.
One year ago I was over $17000.00 in debt on various credit cards. I will admit that that may have been either an exaggeration or I was over my limit on one or more cards. I am not sure, as the maxed out limit on all of the cards and overdraft was $16,250.00.
Also a year ago I planned to either rent a room or buy a camper for the back of the truck and then once this odyssey was over, buy a house. My situation has improved and the goal of debt freedom is still alive but my dream of buying a house is on hold as I plan to move and pursue a career in: writing, making films and television projects.
As I reflect on the time in my life that was a year ago I remember stressing over my finances and a few things happened to make me ponder this lifestyle.
The first of which was my boss ranting about the various frustrations of being a small business owner and considering packing it in. This forced me to wonder what I would do if such a thing were to happen?
If for any of a thousand different reasons I was suddenly employed, could I maintain my lifestyle? Could I easily find a job to maintain this lifestyle? The answer was no, this caused me to wonder about where my life was heading and if the direction was wise.
I also wondered what I would actually do if I was suddenly unemployed. I wouldn’t just lay down and die, that is not me. I knew that I would radically and quickly alter my lifestyle to meet my current, seriously reduced, financial situation.
I then thought that if I was capable of living on less, if I had to, why not live on less because I chose to. That way, with the freed up income I could get ahead. If I did that, I could stop paying everyone else’s debts and start paying my own.
Then a song on the radio “Tracy Chapman’s Fast car” played and the line in it “leave tonight or live and die this way,” hit me. I then realized that there was no good or bad time for change, there was always and only the now. Either you change your life, here today, or the inertia of time will force you along and years will pass by and you will be in the same rut, in the same situation.
That was it, that was the moment when I decided to change my life and do whatever it took (legally, ethically and morally) to get my debt under control. I would radically alter my lifestyle to get ahead. I wouldn’t just pay my credit cards off, I would build up a savings and get myself on a better financial footing.
So how am I doing, one year in? Well, I would have been doing better if I knew then what I know now. Now that I have hit my stride and have (somewhat of) a good idea of what I am doing, I am making great gains. Early in the year it was hard going as I transitioned from living in a townhouse to living in a room to buying and living in Wanda.
As of today I have $11,175.14 of credit card debt. Compared to an estimated 17,000.00 a year ago that means that I have knocked $5824.86 or about a third off of that total debt. Sure I have gone much deeper into debt to buy Wanda, but she is a house (of sorts) and an asset, not just unsecured debt.
I also am on track to eliminating the remaining two thirds of that debt by July of next year. Then I will refinance Wanda so that when the payments are done, they are done, with no balloon payment at the end, as it is now. Of course I will also build up a savings; I am looking forward to August.
All in all I am in a much better place both financially, emotionally and stress-wise than I was a year ago. I do not regret doing this; I just wish it had not been such a steep and steady learning curve. With adventures and odysseys, that is to be expected and yes, part of the fun.
As far as writing goes I have finished the fattening of Chapter One but will give it another go over before I move on to chapter two and do the same with it. I will slowly go through the book and add a chapter where it feels like it needs it, perhaps near the end.
I will drive up to the old neighbourhood tonight and have a walk and look around as I reflect on my life. I will go out for a simple meal at a local pub, just to celebrate. Such events need to be celebrated, and you can’t spend your whole life paying down bills, thirty bucks won’t kill me.
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