At the beginning of this year Kirk and I set out to accomplish a lofty goal: to pay off $25,629.00 in consumer debt by November of this year. At the time, I hoped we could follow through and stay the course. It was a big goal.
In late January I decided to launch Ex-Consumer to document our journey. So many unexpected things happened from that point forward.
I didn’t expect to find this online community that has lifted me up, encouraged me to forge ahead and allowed me to share my story.
I didn’t expect to discover an entire community of like-minded individuals from which I could share and learn.
I didn’t expect to stumble upon a lifestyle known as minimalism, voluntary simplicity, simple living, or whatever other alias you prefer.
It’s because of YOU that I was able to stay the course and smash this consumer debt in eight months.
It’s because of YOU I realized that this lifestyle isn’t crazy or a pipe-dream.
It’s because of YOU that I will be celebrating one of the most memorable birthdays of my 34 years in this life.
As of August 1st, 2011 Kirk and I are officially consumer debt-free. Wow.
Where Did the Extra Money Come From?
You may remember last month when I wistfully hoped to get the rest of the nearly $4,000 consumer debt paid off by my birthday (officially tomorrow). We had $1,800 already allocated to debt-repayment for the month of July. Then we made another $1,100 from our garage sale AND I received an extra pay check in July due to a biweekly payroll cycle.
The stars literally aligned to allow us to pay off this debt a little early.
The Difference a Year Can Make
This time a year ago, I was still trying to get Kirk on board with my new vision of our simple life without debt. In fact, it was this time last year that Kirk accused me of wanting to go live in a tent and steal food from people’s gardens.
This was his way of telling me he thought my ideas were extreme. Thankfully, he eventually came around.
When I look back over the past year, I see how we attacked this debt from two directions. We cut our expenses. And we created more money.
Together, these two simple actions allowed us to chip away at the debt until it was eliminated completely. The following list serves as a reminder of some of the actions that made a difference in our efforts.
- We conserved energy.
- We cancelled our cable.
- We killed our landline.
- We decluttered and sold no-longer-loved possessions.
- We had meaningful, but inexpensive birthday parties.
- We held our first ever garage sale.
- We reduced our media consumption.
- We did our own home repairs.
- We began making our own laundry detergent.
If you want to read about more ways we saved more and spent less, a trip through my full archives will reveal even more than the above list.
So, what’s next?
From here, we have an emergency fund to rebuild. Our current e-fund is only a little over $5,000. We plan to build up the fund over the next seven months to equal $20,000.
So, prepare to see the handy graph in my monthly updates switch directions as I begin charting an upward slope (YES!).
A Special Thank You
I absolutely couldn’t have done this without you. As a token of my gratitude, I will soon be announcing a contest/challenge that will run the entire month of September. It will be my way of saying thank you to the wonderful readers here that have supported what I’m doing at Ex-Consumer.
I appreciate each and every one of you more than you’ll ever know.
What goals are you working on lately? How are they coming along?
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