Okay so back at the start of February I set my self a goal to pay off my credit card debt. Originally, I had mentally prepared myself for this task to take the remainder of 2018 and I thought that was going to be a big ask. And I’m pretty sure my friends closest to me secretly thought there is no way you will do that after all they know how much I love to shop, not just for me but also for others. BUT with some perfect timing and a few sacrifices I’ve done it, I’ve paid off both interest bearing credit cards which had a combined debt of around $7,500.
I won’t lie, I am fortunate to be on a liveable salary, not excessive but undeniably liveable without too much strain, I mean I’m no finance broker so there is no luxury in my wage but I also can’t complain about my monthly salary. Now I work hard for that money, and I love what I do at that fulltime job so I consider myself lucky in that aspect. And over the last two months I’ve had a job change which meant a slightly higher salary and a holiday pay payout from unused leave.
Now don’t get me wrong it was such a good feeling of paying it off – it really was a big moment to see that $0 balance owed statement, but if I’m being honest I’ve now created this unease in me that keeps panicking that without being allowed to use my credit card for all the extras that I’m not going to have any money or that I’ll suddenly find myself back in the land of credit card debt because there is always something I want. I’ve realised over these past two months that this is the world we live in, we are consumers. I feel like while once upon a time our primal need may have been to hunt and gather, our new (or at least my) primal needs developed into a need to constantly be buying “stuff”. Not even fancy stuff or stuff that would last, just buying stuff, all those little bits and pieces here and there, things we see others promoting on social media, the K-mart shopping cult where everything is just so cheap and replaceable. Stuff that ends up cluttering our home, our cars, our minds and eventually our landfills.
Because of this unease I feel, I find now when I go to purchase anything I find my self standing there really thinking about it and trying to calm that inner voice that says no, if you buy this it means debt even if you pay cash. I find that if I find myself online shopping (out of habit) or considering going to the shopping centre I have to go into a state of mindfulness to calm my inner self down, I can’t work out if the increase in heart rate when I’m thinking about going shopping is excitement or fear but I do know that either way it’s not a positive feeling to be having.
All of this means that I’m no longer spending my time fighting for space in my home to put a new purchase, I’m no longer spending time trying to figure out what to wear to work as I haven’t bought anything new I’m just on a rotation of the pieces I have. Over the last couple of months I’ve become so much more conscious about what I buy, even at the grocery store I now find that I’m looking for the options that don’t have as much packaging or that have recyclable packaging. When I look at it I find it a little bit weird and wonderful how starting to pay off my debt has had a snowball effect on other areas of my habits, my wants, and my awareness. I love that over time my home will become less cluttered as things wear out and I do not replace them, my mind also becomes uncluttered.
I simply can’t finish this post without saying a thanks to @sugarmumma for her youtube clips and instagram posts, the advice and motivation I found on these posts were the kick in the butt I needed to sort my sh*t out and get on top of some debt. So thank you for sharing your wisdom! (and no this isn’t a paid ad or anything as such (I wish lol) this is someone I genuinely found on social media and learnt a few valuable lessons from over the last couple of months.
So how did I do it?
1. Changed jobs and managed to cash out an annual leave balance that was credited back to me after my accident at Christmas
2. Sold my old car, okay confession that I did buy a new car and I did finance it, but it was at 9% interest compared to the 21.95% interest on the credit card, and it means I’m now driving a reliable car and not having to spend hundreds on mechanic bills every two months. $3,500
3. Have held strong and managed not to buy any clothes since 1 Feb. I ended up getting a pair of heels repaired rather than replacing them, so for $30 I should get another 6 months out of them.
4. Sold my second TV $150
5. Sold my beloved TT Race Bike, since I’m now longer racing it made sense to sell it and put that $1,800 towards debt rather than keep it because of the memories alone.
6. I told my friends what I’m trying to do and how much debt I need to pay off and how much I need to save for IVF. I love being a bit lavish around birthdays and Christmas so it was important to have these conversations, so I didn’t put pressure on myself at special occasions to break my budget. This year they mainly get things that are homemade as a way to keep cost down, I love being able to personalise their gifts so this is a great way of doing it without feeling guilty that I can’t spend bucket loads.
7. Reduced my weekly grocery shop budget down, saving $470 in two months. Batch cooking is a great money saver, as is homemade baking.. yum yum!
Total debt remaining – about $40k (gulp)
Total saved for IVF so far – about $3,500… just another $10k or so to go (I can do this!)
Happy debt clearing everyone!