wood carving

Counting the days to zero – thoughts on the last days of consumer debt

I keep doing the math in my head.

My total personal debt divided by my monthly payment – 6.5 months

Debt minus tax return minus rolling my coins divided by monthly – 5.6 months

Debt minus tax minus coins minus finding some more stuff to sell – 5 months

Since the day I signed my first student loan in December 1996, I have carried personal debt. High interest credit cards so I was paying 18.9% on buying Star Wars action figures and dress shirts. A lower interest card so that I could finally get out of debt (that was 15 years ago, and best laid plans…).

A year ago, as I started exploring minimalism, I had an epiphany. I looked around a crowded room full of books and statues and knick knacks and collectibles and thought

“There is almost nothing in this room I wouldn’t trade to get out of debt.”

A dozen months later, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I will not be completely out of debt, I want to make that qualifier clear. I have a mortgage. It is what it is and Wifey and I have had many conversations about what choices we will make when the time comes to get a new home.

Renting versus owning in a contentious issue and one you should explore carefully. As well, going into debt for more home than you need is also worth taking a look at. Wifey and I have been looking at a long-term plan to downsize to reduce or eliminate our mortgage. But that is for another day.

I do not have a car, so the only categories of debt I have are mortgage, line of credit, and 1 credit card.

For now my focus is on my student loan and consumer debt.

“Consumer” debt. A phrase easily tossed around, but seldom reflected upon. The debt we have from consuming. That is what I’m really paying down. Vacations I hadn’t saved up for. Books and toys I didn’t need. A meal there, a new dvd boxed set there. Consumed and indebted.

I’m very excited to finally see those numbers get lower month-by-month. I won’t lie, I fantasize about it.

I have been asking a lot of questions about “what’s next?” this past few weeks, and I will have many more thoughts when I reach that day not far ahead. When credit card and line of credit read zero.

Debt minus tax minus coins minus finding some more stuff to sell minus $50 extra a month – 4.8 months…