Last week, I wrote that I started to cut away at my debt by ceasing to buy crap I didn’t need. That’s only part of the equation. I have also gotten rid of a lot of stuff that I found I didn’t use. Some of it, I gave away via freecycle.org. Other things, I sold on Craigslist. Things I sold:
MY CAR (I’ll get to that in a bit.)
I also got rid of my cable tv service. I realized there were only a few shows I watched regularly and I could watch them online for free. Once I cancelled my cable service, of course, the price of my Internet service went up since I was not getting the discount for having multiple products with the provider. The result was Internet service that cost me about $70/month. I felt that was totally ridiculous and made me angry every time I paid the bill. So I switched to mobile internet through a company called Clear. It’s $49.99/month and I don’t have a router, so I can take it with me, literally everywhere, on the bus, to the beach. Anywhere! (I’d already sold the Roku box so there was no need for a router.) And you know what? I don’t miss my TV at all.
MY CAR. Here’s what happened. The Civic that I have mentioned in a previous post made it to about 182K miles by last July. Long story short – after replacing just about everything in the car, the transmission decided to start kicking the bucket. I’ve never had a brand new car before, and was sick and tired of saving money every month just to spend it on repairs. So, I bought a brand new car, with the intent of keeping it forever as I’ve done with all my other cars. I rationalized it was ok to spend more on a brand new car, because I would have the peace of mind of knowing repairs were covered under a warranty for the foreseeable future. I also knew that I wanted to buy a very, very small car, as I live in the city and parking can be difficult. I bought the Scion IQ which a total passenger capacity of 3.5!! I absolutely loved this car, but finally figured out that it was costing me at least 500-600/month between car payment, insurance, gas, and parking. So, I sold it.
I credit much of my change in thought to the Peak Moment channel on Youtube. I saw a video of an interview with Tammy Strobel and Logan Smith, and as they say in the video, “it literally transformed my world.” Among other things, they discuss peak oil, getting out of debt, commuting by bike, and something just went off in my head. I thought to myself, “I may owe a way lot more than they did when they changed their lives, but I can still do this!” They also discuss a book called Your Money or Your Life, by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, which I have also listed on my Helpful Books page.
However, I am still paying for that little matchbox car, but hope to be done with it by this December. Having bought it new with an extended warranty, etc., I was underwater on the loan. So, I now have a small personal loan that covered the difference. Just like the TV, I don’t miss it. And as of December, I will definitely not miss all that money going out the door for something that just keeps costing me money and stress.
Now, I bike to work and for most of my errands. What I don’t do by bike, I do by the “T” or bus in Boston. And, occasionally, I get a ride with a friend, and I am always super willing to give gas money. I know driving a car costs money. When I ride my bike to work and hear the honking of the car horns, I think to myself, “thank God that’s not me anymore,” and “God, people, CHILL OUT!” I’ve only had to use zip car about three times so far. True, I do have to plan my errands out more, but I find that I am spending less money as a result. There is much less impulse shopping.
When I still had my car, my total debt was about $138K. Today it’s about $123,601.38. I sold it for $12,000 and have since paid off another few thousand on the personal loan of $17,500 that I took out to pay it off. The balance today is $3,650.46, soon to be decreased by the extra $90 payment I made recently. It feels good to keep seeing that balance go down. Today, my total debt is much lower due to my getting rid of something I was barely using and which only caused me stress. And you know what? When people ask me, do I miss my car, my answer is a resounding “nope!”
Anyone else out there have a debt story that they would love to share? I’m all ears!