Thursday, February 12, 2009


I'm on the verge, the vertiginous verge, of turning 29, and I've decided to stop acting like money is a limitless resource to me. This, God willing, will chronicle my mad scramble out of debt. I hope to be mostly debt-free by my 30th birthday. I object to a consumer goods driven lifestyle on an ideological level, but I have a hard time saying no to trips, snacks, wine, scanties- little things, really.

It's shocking to me, honestly, that things have come to this. I had no credit cards through law school. I paid cash for my meager things. I didn't go to the bar unless someone else was buying. I didn't eat out. I had a bus pass. 
And then I finished school, and I kept living like a grad student, kept on paying cash, kept on only buying what I needed and could afford... until one day, I was told I would be a bridesmaid in a wedding in Boston. I thought- I can't afford that! Not for her, and not in Boston! Social pressures smacked me around- did I want to look cheap? Did I want to put the lie to her fairy tale that we were bestest girlfriends? Gee whiz, no! (I was once easily shamed.) I got a credit card! And I charged a plane ticket! It was so easy! Suddenly, without any effort on my part, I was taking place in an antiquated and unduly ostentatious ceremony, and my future self was only going to pay the price of admission plus 21% interest- annual rate.
And then I got another, and I charged some other shit, and once I charged a trip to London, and certainly at least 20 pounds around my hips are thanks to credit-card meals. And now here I am, three years later, 9k in the hole. If you don't think that's a lot- screw you. It is, and you should re-examine your own spending habits, maybe.
So I'm on a mission.
I will document how I saved money, how I paid down the debt, and how I looked pretty and ate well doing it. There is no earthly reason why a gal earning a solidly median income and living in a hovel with housemates and cats should be in debt for consumer goods.
A little more about me:
I'm a crabby law clerk. (Law school loans, thank sweet baby jesus, are manageable for me.) I don't like to feel cold. I sew clothes- and my goal is to sew more clothes. I cook my own food, generally- I'm not one for processed foods, and I'm an ethical vegan, which makes cooking at home hella cheap as well as compassionate. 
Habits I need to change:
Drinking. Seriously, I can't afford to go to bars. And picking up a six pack at the Circle K isn't cheap either.
Eating out. This is my downfall at work.... which leads to,
Driving to work. Parking is hella expensive, I own a lovely bike, and it's a 7 minute ride.
Thrifting. I know, right? Who can't afford to hit the thrift store? ME, THAT'S WHO. I am a clotheswhore, and I will drop 40 bucks like that.

Wish me luck.  My hope is to use this to keep track of money laid out and how I spent it... and to pass along any genius nuggets of thrift I come across.

Action Number One: Call credit card companies and demand lower interest rates. I quit using them some months ago, so let's hope they cotton to the threat in my voice!