Hmm well this is a novel feeling indeed. It’s payday today, and as it drops into my account (always so much more pleasant the January paycheck) and I cast an eye over my finances I have come to the conclusion that this is Debt Free Day.
I started trying to clear my debts (3 maxed out credit cards, hefty loan, large overdraft) about 4 years ago. The concept of “Debt Free Day” is something I picked up from the Motley Fool message board ‘Dealing with Debt’. Whilst I never posted extensively on these boards, the people there have been a constant source of inspiration. There are people there dealing with debt in orders of magnitude greater than mine, some very much less. I think debt worries different people different amounts.
Over the last four years I’ve gone from the ‘ostrich eye’ view of debt (refusing to open bank statements, paying bills when they’re red, paying other bills when the baliffs letter arrives) to being paranoid about going £10 over my self imposed weekly limits. I’m sure this is a source of much amusement to those around me who assume that because I’m relatively well paid I am rolling in mounds of cash. Rather sickeningly at the end of the month my net worth will be about £52 – which is all the savings I have in the world. My sister (my model of probity and financial prudence) has tens of thousands in the bank. She’s younger than me too.
I’m still learning about managing debt too. I’ve learned so much over the last 4 years: Snowballing my credit cards, making the most of 0% transfer deals on balances, the evils of consolidation loans (oh how I wish I’d never done that), the importance of ‘living below your means’, shopping from a list and not ‘freestyle shopping’, the joy of supermarket own brands and certain items from the Tesco Value range. But as I said still learning. I’ve been with Orange since.. ooh about 1997, and my contract hasn’t changed much. Recently my bills have been climbing as high as £90 a month. On coming out of contract last week I called them up, threatened to leave and now I have 500 minutes free calls, unlimited texts for £25 a month. And a Nokia N73 into the bargain. Another £65 a month saved, and one I should have spotted years ago.
But anyway I have no debt, none at all. I owe the bank nothing, I owe the credit cards nothing, I owe my parents nothing. If you think I have an outstanding debt to you please feel free to ruin my day by letting me know about it ;) The nice thing is, that at the end of February the £700 a month I plough into debt repayment suddenly becomes mine.
So yes Debt Free Day is today. But the commencement of my ‘retire at 50’ plan starts in earnest with February’s paycheck!
Nothing, but nothing can spoil my day now.