Or the very controversial “Jesse plan”
When I decided to finally get out of debt, my minimum payments were about $500/month. It seems like a lot, but based on what I spent per month on actual necessities, I didn’t feel it. I never struggled to make payments. I read other people’s posts on why to get out of debt fast, and they save things like
What? I never felt like a slave to anybody. They also mention that you get more freedom and more enjoyment out of life, but being a fairly simple person with simple needs and desires, I was getting along and enjoying things just fine, thank you.
Despite all this, I am now on a very radical plan. $36,000 in 3 years, half of which is student debt at very low interest rates. I’ve slashed my monthly costs, stubbornly refused to buy a car, and went on a food budget which my mother still sometimes wonders if it is going to hurt my health. Why all this determination all of a sudden? What made me decide to change?
In terms of my personal debt, I always wanted to be able to buckle down and pay it off in about a year. I’ve read enough cautionary tales that I never wanted to get to the place where I would just be able to afford minimum payments. Once you are there, you are stuck. FOR A LONG TIME.
- Interest sucks.
Once over $150 starts going to interest, it makes you flinch a little. What could I do with $150? Who could I help with $150?
- Jesse (the boyfriend)
Here is where things get a little controversial. Jesse and his family (as opposed to mine) are very monetary minded. To me, debt, especially student debt, is relatively blasé. Everybody has it, I was within the pay back in about a year level, what was the problem? To Jesse, this was like nails on a chalkboard.
“How are we going to provide for our family?” He would ask. “How is this a secure place to start a life together?”
“But I don’t need anything big,” I would reply. “Money doesn’t matter to me. I just want you.”
Yadda, yadda, romantic mush. Anyway, he wanted me to pay it off before out projected move in together date in three year’s time. This hurt me because it seemed like he didn’t care about me, instead he cared about money. So we clashed until I made a startling revelation.
I had never TRULY intended to pay anything back.
Oh sure I had put in a little extra from time to time, but putting in enough to really make a difference was like nails on a chalkboard for me. Talking to Jesse made me realize that I was fundamentally uncomfortable with extra money. It made me feel guilty. It made me feel like I wasn’t giving back enough. After all, as long as minimum payments were easy, how could I justify investing in MY future when someone else needed something RIGHT THEN? Something as simple as a cute made in USA eco store that SO CLEARLY needed my business pulled at my heart strings. What if I was the line in the sand? You got to support what you believe in, right?
Well, I guess I never really believed in me.
Interest does suck. $500/month out of a paycheck does suck. And it sucks not because it was hard for me to afford, but because if I learned to exert enough discipline on myself (and didn’t get too caught up in the whole money saving thing) I would have more to give back.
So I conceded a point. Okay Jesse, this is important. Having a certain amount in savings, and having a certain amount in an emergency fund is important too. Once I have those things, I have free reign to donate the rest of it wherever and whoever to my heart’s content, but not having those things hurts my philanthropic aspirations in the long run.
This leads me to a few more numbers on my list.
There is a nice little warm fuzzy you feel when you have enough in the bank to cover your butt in an emergency.
To a certain degree (and that degree will be talked about next week!) you deserve the fruits of your labor. You deserve to be financially secure, and to be able to provide for your future and current family.
Thus I jumped into the fray, and began the current payment plans that have led me here today. I need to do a full-fledged progress report, but by current estimations 7 months have yielded about $6000 paid back. Progress is progress is progress. My bank balances look better, and I feel (just as I did contributing money to good causes) good about myself and what I am doing.
Why do you feel committed to paying back your debt? I honestly would love to know. Please comment!
This week in updates:
I have been flying a crazy mount this week. Between training and actual required flying, I’ve been up in the air 5 days out of 7. This has wreaked havoc on my diet. Two remain over lunches meant that some lunches of rice and beans have gone to waste, and I’ve filled in the gaps with an entire container of peanut butter Oreos I couldn’t resist buying when I was buying protein shake. Flying to me is like traveling. You just get really tired, and shove something quick and easy into your mouth.
That is why I am so happy about my produce for this week! I resisted buying cilantro, and just stuck with what was in season. The result? Tons of local apples and pears and carrots!
The Recipe: Strawberry Basil Rice Pudding
I am so thankful for Simply Being Mum for making a recipe on tiramisu rice pudding. I never knew it was so cheap and easy. I eat a lot of rice and it gets really tiring, so something like this is a boon in cheap carbs for running/triathlon training. And the basil with the strawberry? Genius! This is one of the classiest tasty recipes I think I ever made. I felt like I was in a fancy restaurant, not just sitting on my floor.
1 cup uncooked rice
½-2/3 cup milk
1 ½ cup fresh strawberries
Pumpkin Pie Spice
3 tablespoons sugar
4-5 fresh basil leaves
Cook the rice and set aside. Cut and saute the strawberries and basil in a tablespoon of coconut oil with a dusting of pumpkin pie spice for 5 minutes. Blend, and pour in a measuring cup. Pour enough milk in the measuring cup so that you get 1 cup of liquid. The ratio should be about 50/50. Follow Simply Mum’s instructions for cooking, and as she said, this is best warm! Top with the rest of the fresh cut strawberries.