How I Started Dreaming

“Do you have another card? This ones been declined”

Words that cut through me. The assassin hurling these daggers was a young lady trying to serve me a take away pizza. I did have more cards. I had a different one to a joint bank account I shared with friends which I had taken to the end of its overdraft without their permission. I had another, a credit card with my bank, which was maxed out. One more contestant, but alas, like the others, also over it’s limit with a much larger sum contained in it’s plastic prison.

They say there’s a moment when you know things need to change, a ‘light bulb moment’. This was mine. This was my kick up the proverbial.

I left the shop, pride desecrated, a face full of crimson compunction and with my girlfriend and my stomachs growling in unison at the crestfallen couple. 

I vowed to change, I promised that things couldn’t and wouldn’t get worse. 

I felt alone, drowning in a sea of debt with no lifeboat in sight.

My financial turnaround started. I carefully budgeted. Checked all my accounts for rogue payments. Quit the gym. Downgraded my phone. I cut back to live well within my means. It worked. It took about a year and I had managed to save and pay off about £10,000 worth of debt. I was on a roll, I had cash behind me, I was used to this way of living. Once you get momentum there’s only one thing to do. I spent all of my savings on a 5 month trip around Asia, Australia and New Zealand, spending on all the cards again I had worked so hard to pay down.

I am never going to regret that decision, but I came back just as worse off as when the pizza was pulled from my paws.

I felt like I was starting my life again about £20,000 in debt. Of course I was a master planner, I had been here before so I knew exactly what to do.

I bought a car. On finance. For over £9,000. 

I can already hear everyone’s applause at the mastery of my plan.

At this juncture, I actually did know what to do. I knuckled down and dragged myself out of the self inflicted hole.

After all my energy had been spent on money saving to pay off debt, when I was debt free I had a spare packet of cash each month. I managed to save up to allow myself to buy a house with a mortgage and some nice things to go in it.

As all this was happening, my salary was increasing. My level of spending hadn’t really increased so I had more than ever spare each month.

So the big question was what do I do now with anything that’s spare? Start blowing it all on fast cars, designer watches and Waitrose blueberries? Or do I look for another, more productive spending habit.

After scouring money saving websites and forums for some time I knew there was a life after debt.

It was called Financial Independence, and I wanted it.

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3 thoughts on “How I Started Dreaming

  1. Interesting story The Doffer, and a great turnaround from those dark and debt laden days.

    Nowt wrong with spending money on a once in a lifetime trip mind, but you’d have been better served saving up before you went of course!

    There seems to be 2 types of FI seekers, those that were always frugal(ish), never got into debt and so eventually amass some savings and wonder what to do with it, and those that are do the debt turnaround thing. I would have thought there are another type of person who yoyo in and out of debt all of their lives, much like you did after the first debt pay off but in perpetuity, maybe because they get back to zero and think what is the point in having any savings, as they never discovered FIRE or don’t see the point of it.

    I have always had very little to zero consumer debt but always was good at saving for a bit then blowing it on something (usually travel), but since I’ve found FIRE I know that those sovs are worth keeping around for future usage!

    Like

  2. Hi there

    Good to see another UK FI blog!

    Like you, I had a lot of credit card debt (plus car finance too!) but I didn’t get round to clearing my debts until the grand old age of 40! So I didn’t jump on board the FI train until pretty late in life but it’s never too late to start. I guess one good thing with starting so late is that I can factor in private pensions with my plans as I’d be able to get at them if I get to retire “early” at 55.

    Wishing you all the very best with the blog and your journey to FI.

    Liked by 1 person

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