I don’t mind telling you that I was an expansive and thrill-seeking teenager. Getting my first job made me feel powerful and rich. I felt so rich in fact, that I spent a great deal in order to keep up with all my friends. All of them, which meant spending a very great deal.
We’re only talking modest amounts by today’s standards, but back then, I was living beyond my means, and the credit card companies loved me; I thought we were going to be together forever.
But the relationship soured; my various and several credit card companies wanted more and more from me, while I felt they were offering less and less. Sure, one or two of them offered me a great deal more, but I was committed to all of them.
A decade later and I didn’t feel anything had changed or developed; that stereo (ghetto blaster; remember them?) that we bought together in 1997 was still costing me dearly. Something had to be done.
So I finally woke up and realised that the relationship wasn’t working for me – sure there were benefits and perks, like insurance and some cool services, but these were smoke and mirrors, just pain-killers, numbing me to the reality. So we broke up.
Wasn’t as simple as that though, it took a long time for us to split our possessions and responsibilities. Sure, we stopped seeing each other, but, like any alimony, the payments continued and I was hurting because of them.
Of course I cut them up; of course I started buying everything with cash and watching the pennies, and of course I tried to pay off the higher interest cards first and foremost. I also took a ‘consolidation loan’ to help me pay off the high credit, but I abused that cash too. It’s taken a long time, and my life has suffered along the way.
The one thing that I have been good at is earning more money as I go along. Need to pay off some debt? Get a higher income and then you can increase your payments and avoid simply paying off the ‘minimum’ that will get you nowhere. Fine, yes, I know increasing your income can’t be as simple as that, but you’re older, wiser and more experienced now – go and ask for a 10% pay rise and apply for 12 new jobs that pay 10% more than your current salary.
My debt free day is
The 28th July 2009 – that’s the date I’ll be debt free; utterly and totally free of the shackles of my spending.
It will allow me to buy a house, and therefore take on 25 years of managed debt…