The Final Kicker
Yes, I am renting a room in a house now. However, my apartment is still not completely out of the picture. You see, last year when I foolishly renewed my lease in that complex, I did not get a standard 12 month lease. I got a 14 month lease. So instead of my lease being up in January, it is up now in March. That’s right. For the past two months, I’ve had a sub-letter living here. They paid $300 less than the actual rent price because no one else in town was so financially stupid as to pay the overpriced rent to live here.
Yes, here. I am now here in my old, now empty apartment after 2 weeks of selling most of what I own after the subletter moved out.
The experience has been bittersweet. Although I’m glad to be disconnecting from this place and launching headfirst into debt freedom, it is sad seeing everything that I spent so much time carefully searching for and selecting over the past two years, sold for pennies on the dollar or given away. And even though I’ve met a lot of lovely people through Craigslist in the last couple of weeks, its a bit of a kick in the teeth to see another round of people benefiting from my financial ignorance. Never again will I let this happen to me. Another lesson learned the hard way. I have resolved that I’m not going to buy another piece of furniture until I am out of debt.
So what? What’s the big deal, you ask. It’s all just stuff, you say. And you are right. But over the past 10 years that it took me to rack up $30,000 of credit card debt, part of that debt came from moving frequently throughout grad school. I have now realized that I have a pattern. I move every couple of years for various reasons – some within my control, some out of my control, but each time it required buying or selling furniture. Like the time I moved into an apartment that turned out to be unbelievably bug infested. I moved out soon after and left my furniture there. Or like the time I had to move away for a year to do research. I didn’t want to sublet the apartment I was in at the time to strangers (heard the horror stories) and couldn’t afford to put everything in storage for a year so my landlord let me keep everything in her basement. When I came back, surprise, surprise everything was covered in mold. The furniture thing is just one spoke in the wheel of bad past financial decisions, but it’s times like what I’m experiencing now that make those past financial patterns salient.
It’s not that I miss the furniture that I sold/gave away. It’s that I can’t help but see all the money and time wasted in every thing or every box of things that someone carried out of my apartment. I’m done with stuff for the foreseeable future.
The rickety bed and other salvage furniture that I have in the room that I rent now are provided by the owner of the home. I plan to stick to furnished rooms while I’m paying off my debt. If I can’t find one, I have a small inflatable mattress that I will sleep on. In fact, I’m sitting on it right now in this nearly empty apartment.
I’ll be handing over the keys in a few days after two years of living here. I’m ready to chart a new course in my life. Now I have a map. First stop, debt freedom. Final destination, financial independence. No more detours.
Photo credit: Regret – the shopping sherpa @ flickr