As I came zooming down to the last week before my next paycheck, my excitement continued to grow. Each day I would check my balance, and it was the same, $105.91.
At the end of my first month of my Spending Fast (I get paid on the 20th of each month), I was going to have $105.91 extra to put toward one of my debts.
I was excited! I was thrilled! I was so proud of myself for having such a great first month!
And then it happened.
One day before I got paid, I got sick. Sick enough to go to the doctor. I have a $40 co-pay, and so I reconciled with the fact that I was now going to have $65.91 leftover. That was okay. I still had something leftover. Then the receptionist asked if I wanted to pay the rest of my balance, which was $45.39. I resignedly shook my head yes.
That left me with $20.52 extra.
Kind of a downer at first, but then I realized a few things. First, I had the money left at the end of the month to pay for something that suddenly came up. I didn't have to pay for it using my credit card, I didn't have to borrow from my savings account, and I didn't have to borrow against my loan.
Then I remembered a second silver lining. I still had grocery money and change I had taken to the bank to cash out. That totaled another $62.59. Well, it was $70.00 but I had an impulse buy yesterday. After being poked, prodded, and two shots later at the doctors' office, I decided to grab a Jimmy John's veggie sandwich and thinny chips on my way home. Eh, I'm a work in progress.
So overall, I ended up with a surplus of $83.11. My goal for the next month is to see how much more I can go beyond this first month. I love a challenge!
Unfortunately, I’m one of a growing number of people who has piled up a lot of debt. Mine is a combination of two personal loans, three credit cards, two parent student loans, and a car lease.
To the tune of $46,000.
I have no one to blame but myself. For the longest time I was in denial, because I was paying a little off here and there while still doing all the stuff I wanted to do. In other words, I wasn’t making a dent at all.
Then I read the book, The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living: How a Spending Fast Helped Me Get from Broke to Badass in Record Time by Anna Newell Jones.
That’s when I decided enough was enough, and now here I am on my own journey to becoming debt-free by going on a spending fast for the next 52 weeks.
Gulp again. (The collage above shows my range of emotions about this topic!)
While I anticipate that this will actually be a two-year process, I’m going to take it one week at a time and then reflect upon what I’ve learned from one week to the next.
I’ve always been one who liked the idea of a budget, and I pretty much knew where my money was going. The problem was that I allowed myself to give in to the temptation of making purchases by justifying that it was okay to do because of…(and then finished the sentence with the reason).
Even though I had a vague idea of how much debt I had, I didn’t actually sit down and figure it up until December. The combination of reading the previously mentioned book along with knowing exactly how much debt I had was a one-two punch.
My writing on this journey isn’t going to be technical but rather real in the trials and tribulations I experience along the way, the highs and lows, the parts that are amazing, and the parts that absolutely suck.
So, with that in mind, this is what I learned from Week #1:
I’m excited and motivated! I liken it to joining a gym for the first time and having the desire to lose weight or get into shape. In my case, it’s financial shape. I know full well the excitement wanes, so the challenge is to keep at it.
Each day this week, I have put a $ in my planner for the days I didn’t spend any money this week that wasn’t groceries or gas. I had four of those days. The other three days were $2.06, $2.06, and $6.10. I bought two books to add to my Kindle that were deeply discounted and I bought a coffee with tip when I met up with a friend of mine.
I’ve already decided that once a month I’m going to take all my change to the bank and that’s what I get to use for purchases such as the ones above I made this week.
Overall, it was a win this week for me.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.