Hello Ladies and Gentlemen!
I've just logged into my Internet banking and confirmed it - I'm finally debt free.
The last payment on my last loan went out yesterday, and the only credit I have now is on a air miles card that I pay off in full every month.
My money is my own again.
This is awesome stuff - not only for the financial gain, but also for the immense emotional relief this gives me.
To Be Cathartic..
There was a lot of bad emotion and memories attached to this loan in particular, here's some mental associations that spring to mind:
- Not being able to afford proper food - basically living on pasta and ketchup during the worst parts.
- This of course had the knock-on effect of making me unhealthy, I was sick - a lot.
- No hot water or heating - this actually did wonders for my ability to take cold showers!
- The banging of the front door as debt collectors wanted to get money I didn't have.
- The constant stream of red letters, legal threats, phone calls hassling me (I ended up disconnecting the phone).
- Even when I started to get some cash (after clearing off smaller loans) - I'd still have to toss-up "food" or "heating" over "geek book to improve my skills and get out of this dead-end job".
… because I got myself into the mess, I had to get myself out.
Get Out of the Hole
- You make money. Last week there was no money, now you've found some. Yay.
- You lose the stress. Everything else is in hand and you're focusing on the few things you can actually do something about.
Make It Fun
I was always amazed how people that had to deal with horrific things made games out of them (for example, paramedics that score points based on damage at a roadside traffic accident). It sounds sick, but it's a coping mechanism. If you focus on the game side of it, it removes all the emotional stress that you'd normally have so you can actually focus on the task at hand.
I made it a game. Each month I would pick an item from my budget to pick on, then see "how low I could go". My favourite - "Weekly Groceries". Got that down to £10/week. Impossible? No. Boring? Kinda :) Helped me kick ass? Definitely*.
* this actually freed up about £150 a month. Would you say "no" to an extra £150?
Are You OK?
As my momentum picked up, I continued smashing debt - then one day I awoke and realised something..
I wasn't lying to my mother after all. I was OK.
Grit your teeth. Do the work. It may not be easy work, and it will take time. Sometimes there's only one way out of a situation. Toil.
Fast-forward a few years. It's all over.. I now live a life that I truly love. I have amazing friends that challenge me, help me grow and become a better person. I'm not only financially richer - but I'm mentally richer. I'm good. I'm really, really good!
I have to say a big "thank you" to my friends and family - you're everything to me. There are times when you have saved me and you don't even know it.
I love you all.
Now, I have to get back to work ;)