Getting Serious about my Debt, Part 3 (all 122K of it, plus or minus a few bucks)

When I wrote my earlier post about fear, my friend Kate said maybe I should turn my fears on the side and take a look at how far I’ve come. I definitely want to do that. But for tonight, I’m going too take a look at how far I’ve come in getting rid of my debt in about 6 weeks. It helps me to see it in perspective like this. It is working. Just not as fast as I might like it to move.

Here is a picture of my overall debt as of Sept. 3rd of this year (just click on the photo to enlarge):

Total Debt as of Sept. 3rd
Total Debt as of Sept. 3rd

And here is a picture of my debt as of October 14th ((just click on the photo to enlarge):

Total Debt as of October 14th
Total Debt as of October 14th

I think this is good considering it’s only been about 6 weeks. The difference amounts to $2,026.38!! And yes, I really have nicknamed one of my loans, Big Daddy.  And yes, that’s a fixed interest rate of 7.5%. I know….sigh….

You might wonder how I don’t paralyze myself by looking at these numbers. Well, I try to not look at them as a whole. I try to focus on the little gains I am making in them month to month.  My LAL loan has a variable interest rate that can go as high as 9%, so it’s my next area of focus after my personal loan is gone.  That and establishing more of an emergency fund than what I currently have. Then, Big Daddy and then finally the Simmons loan. (My financial advisor suggested this order.)

There is a line in one of my favorite YouTube videos where Logan Smith makes the point that people always think that they need to earn more money, but they forget that “they can always spend less.” He emphasizes the word “less.” That made a big impact on me. It’s part of why I sold my car. It’s why I don’t eat out much, especially for lunch at work like many of my colleagues. I can eat healthier if I bring my own from home. The few times that I have bought lunch at work is when someone is quitting and it’s a good-bye lunch. And dinners, I usually eat at home also. And all those books that discuss the “latte factor?” Yeah. Those don’t apply to me either.

While i have taken Logan’s words to heart, I am also looking for ways to increase my income. A friend of mine, whose husband is out of work, told me about mystery shopping. I just signed up with a few companies over the weekend and have already received some emails about “shops” in my area. I’m excited to try it out, and hope that there are opportunities to do more than pose as a buyer at a car dealership (what i have already seen posted.)

One thing I like about the concept of mystery shopping is the freedom you have in scheduling your shop. You get a date range during which the shop should be done but the actual scheduling ultimately works on your own schedule. I’m hoping I can make a little bit of extra money to out aside for my tiny house (or just pay off debt faster), but I need to make sure I still have time for studying and writing, as well as my furballs. I don’t want to lose sight of my priorities in addition to getting rid of my debt.

This doesn’t take into account any money I am trying to save. It’s hard to do both – save and drastically pay down debt simultaneously. But I’m trying! (That’s for another post — I’ll keep this one short.)

Stay tuned, I will let you know how it goes, on both the debt reducing and the mystery shopping fronts!