Month: October 2014

Let’s start with debt…

What percentage of American households have debt? Google that and you’ll get many different answers. The real answer? Who cares! This isn’t about the rest of the world – this is about you. And if you carry debt, like I do, you will never be free. Free to quit your job and try something new. Free to upsize or downsize your life. Free to add children, or pets, or buy a new car…well, maybe that’s going overboard. I mean, you can always just incur more debt, right? Get a second mortgage, add a car loan into the mix, take out student loans? Sure you can! That’s the American way of life!

Well, I’m tired of it. I don’t want it to be MY way of life. I’ve had good years, bad years, great years…I’ve seen it all. Currently, my debt is astronomical. What is higher than astronomical? Because I’ve actually paid down quite a bit of debt over the past four years. How much? I have no idea. Really. None. My head has been stuck in the sand like an ostrich. I don’t want to know. Do I?

Here’s the thing – until MY debt is paid off, I will never FEEL free. There is always guilt creeping in when I buy something, whether it’s new clothes, a piece of furniture, even groceries. I had a failed business. I walked away from a mortgage. I lost my job, my business, my car, my dog…pretty much my entire life as I knew it, back in 2009. I’ve been rebuilding ever since. I honestly do not know the exact dollar amount of how much I still owe.

But to be free? Debt-free, again, as I once was? That will be a good day.

How will I get there? As I have been – paying as much as I can from each paycheck. Watching what I do spend. Curbing the urges to spend money on things I don’t need. But in reality, this has not been enough. I’m keeping even with interest, and I’ve paid off several debts over the last four years (more to come on that) but it’s still looming over me. I need to step things up, become accountable for 100% of my income, my outflow, and I need to purge my life of things I’ve held on to for whatever reason, usually sentimental reasons. Thus begins my journey to a better way of life.

They say the best way to start is to figure out where the money is going. Complete honesty here – I will be tracking every penny via this blog so that I can become accountable to myself, first, and second – so I can see the progress I’ve made. Without feedback, and a sense of progress, this journey I’m on sometimes seems overwhelming. Welcome to my version of Life Improvement, DIY-style.