Once upon a time, in a land far far away, I completed a 3-month debt detox and paid off almost $10,000 of debt. I was so proud.
Fast forward to less than a year later and today I have piled all of that debt back on, plus some. I’ve spent months blaming it on all the things that life has thrown at me, but the reality is that I made a conscious choice to spend each dollar in a way that wasn’t constructive. If you’re interested in more details on this, you can check out my post on how minimalism became my most expensive lifestyle choice to date. And that brings us to: Debt Detox, Take 2.
The detox begins today, August 1st, 2017 and will run through October 31st, 2017. To execute my debt detox, I will follow the guidance laid out in Anna Newell Jones’ book The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living, just like I did last time. (Please note that the link to Anna’s book is an affiliate link and I will be compensated in pennies if you purchase her book using my link. But, hey, right now I can use every penny I can get!)
The first step of any debt detox is to make a list of needs versus wants. According to Anna, this list is the backbone of your plan. You will go back to it time and time again if you are tempted to make a purchase to remind yourself of what your needs truly are. People have very different needs so your list could be very different than my list. And so, here is my needs versus wants list.
|Mortgage, condo fees, and rent||Alcohol|
|Public transportation||Parking pass|
|Pull-ups||Eyeliner, eye shadow, blush|
|Hair dye (boxed)||Paid blog post images|
|Allergy medicine||Paid social media campaigns|
|Foundation, mascara, lipstick||House keeper|
|Routine auto maintanence||Office supplies|
|Toddler clothes & shoes||Dry cleaning|
|Toddler entertainment||Eating out|
|Hygiene (Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, etc.)||www.talentcounseling.com domain & associated business expenses|
The 3 biggest areas of needless spending right now are dry cleaning, eating out, and my parking pass for the parking lot at work. My parking pass rings in at a whopping $435 per month, while I spend about $150 a month on dry cleaning and about $250 a month on eating out. That’s a total of $835 per month in wasteful expenses.
And so I’m doing it, you guys, I’m really doing it, I canceled my $435 parking pass, paid $75 for a commuter rail pass, and took the commuter rail to work today. And you know what? It wasn’t terrible. I may not feel that way in the winter with 2 feet of snow on the ground, but today it wasn’t terrible.
I even remembered to bring my lunch and a snack today. But if I forget in the future that’s OK because my work has a ton of free snacks and breakfast cereals, so I can just eat those.
Giving up dry cleaning may be the most difficult thing for me, we’ll see how that pans out.
Tomorrow I will be adding up all of my debt and confessing my spending sins to all of you.
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