Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.
How about, “No shiny crap looks as good as control feels.”
I’m talking about the sense of control you feel when you, and you alone, decide how you spend the limited time you have left on this earth. That’s one of my life goals.
As of yesterday, I have paid off a tad over half of my credit card debt. Last year, my credit card debt was at an all time high of $30,340. My current balance is now $15,000.00! Yes, this credit card is half-dead and running for it’s life.
Ha! Resistance is futile, you evil little card.
After some fits and starts last year (i.e. losing my job and being unemployed for 3-4 months, and later after getting a new job in another state, moving into my current overpriced apartment out of desperation), I’m finally back on track with my debt paydown.
I haven’t decided what, if anything, I’ll do to celebrate this midway milestone.
I know that in 8 months or so when this infernal credit card is finally paid off IN FULL, I am going to celebrate by doing the one thing I haven’t been able to justify doing in the past 10 years. I’m going to take an international trip!
Most Americans have small to medium debt loads (excluding mortgage) that can be paid off in 2-3 years of “Gazelle Intensity”. Sacrificing our wants for 2-3 years is not fun, by very doable.
For those of us with massive debt ($100,000 +), the challenge becomes learning how to delay gratification without delaying life.
We can’t delay life for 10 years. I’m talking to those of us in our mid-30s and up. I’m 39. I can’t afford to delay life for another 10 years while I tackle this student loan debt and save for retirement. That’s a deferred life plan. I regret not using my passport for a decade. The reason was entirely financial. I’ve had too much debt, and not enough money for a long time. I still have too much debt and not enough money, but while debt payoff is important, I’ve realized that living life is also important. I’m learning the meaning of “balance”.
Minimalism is teaching me to identify the top things I value the most and to put my energy in those places. For me, travel is one of those things. While travel is absolutely fun and fruitful at every stage of life, there are some things you can get away with, and some venues that are open to you only when you are younger (in your twenties and to a lesser extent into your thirties). I want to travel now and I want to keep traveling.
For those of you who are also deep in debt and a little ‘less young’, it is important that you plan and celebrate debt milestones by doing those precious few things that you value the most, whatever they may be.
I’ll save up and pay for my trip up front in cash of course. That almost goes without saying. I’m about 70% decided on where I want to go, but I have a list of places I’ve been wanting to see for the past 10 years, so my first destination is not certain. However, wherever I land, it will be someplace awesome.
And you know what? They are right. Skinny Feels are freaking delicious!
“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW)
Congrats on getting halfway there with the CC! Yes it is hard trying to strike a balance between being responsible financially and also enjoying life. Hope you enjoy your trip…how long are you thinking of going for?
Thanks, Sarah. The trip that I would like to go on would be for two weeks. I will have plenty of vacation time saved up at work. I’m not 100% decided whether or not I will go. This will be the topic of my next post.
Congrats on forcing your debt to embrace its own demise! Staying on track with our debt repayment would have been super difficult for us if we had lost our income, in the way you did. I applaud that you have continued to make it a priority. Best of luck, and hope you pick an excellent place to travel!
Thanks! Getting out of debt is a priority for me, but given my age and the number of years of repayment I have ahead of me, I can’t let it become my only reason for living. That would be a terrible loss. We can always get money back, but we can’t get time back.
Hi – Love your debt blog! The financial advisor company I’m licensed with is doing a pre-pilot program with a company that uses the Federal Loan Reduction and Forgiveness Act to negotiate a smaller student loan payment. In addition to the reduced payment, after 10 or 20 years your loan is completely forgiven (regardless of whether it’s all paid or not – 10 years for public sector employees, 20 for private).
I spent a day with the Chief Officers of the company and am so impressed with their passion to help people and their knowledge of negotiating with school loan companies. You just need to give their office a call and tell them how much debt you have, how much you make, etc. and they will have an advisor call you with a plan of how much they can save you. Then you can decide whether you want to do it or not.
The completely unregulated school loan industry is putting so many people into financial crisis (with no escape through bankruptcy or even death)! They’re making a killing, and finally there’s a solution, but nobody knows how to use it. Only 1/40th of the people affected are doing the reduction and forgiveness act because it is such a complicated process.
I’m so excited to see what they can do for you! Drop me an email at email@example.com and I’ll give you their contact info. 🙂
Thanks for the info, Jenya. My goal is to be out of debt far earlier than 10 years from now. I’m too impatient and stressed to live with debt over my head for that long if I can help it! 🙂 I hope that your program helps a lot of people escape student loan debt.
Thanks! I do hope you do it in less than 10! Being aware of it and making the effort is half the battle! 🙂