Letting debt rule your life is stupid.

“Anonymous” said:

Ok, let me get this straight. You’re in serious debt. Your blog is titled “Fabulously Broke.” You’re selling off your belongings. You budgeted $200 for groceries but only spent $72 because you have someone feeding you for free, and/or you can live on oxygen and coffee alone, but yet you found almost $550 for clothing???

(head scratch)

Girl, you need a reality check.

I’m going to do a public response because a lot of you are probably wondering “WTF” is going on..

1. I am in “serious” debt, but it isn’t consumer debt. It’s education debt. I consider being in about $40k in debt serious, but I’m already paying more than what most people would normally pay, and I’m on track to clear it in 3 years from the time I graduated ($53,500 in 3 years!) so I’d call that a pretty solid “reality check” on my debt.

2. My blog is titled Fabulously Broke. I picked the name because it was catchy and I certainly was NOT going to call it Fabulously “Poor” because Poor denotes that I literally have no money.

But that’s not the case. I have money. I’m just learning how to manage it better and making sure it works the best way it can for me, without compromising my “fabulous” lifestyle (which isn’t what you could imagine actually, I’m not THAT crazy with my money because I do my research and I make informed decisions before I buy anything (now)… you’re just reading about ONE instance and ONE month in the past 1.5 years that I’ve been blogging.)

3. I get fed for “free” on the weekends because that’s BF’s way of being ‘fair’ and compensating me for spending 10 hours commuting up to see him every weekend and he doesn’t come down here (only because I have a 4-day workweek)

4. It’s also not unrealistic to spend only $72/month in food if you’re organized. I eat oatmeal and fruit for breakfast with tea, then I have a sandwich for lunch and I cook pasta + vegetables in bulk. Dimples does the same sort of grocery budget (she spends about $100/month to feed her and her girl), so if you’re organized… I don’t see what the problem is.

5. I didn’t “find” $550 to buy clothes. I took it out of my emergency fund because the dog chewed my winter boots and I had to get a new pair because we’re still IN winter. I do admit spending more than I should’ve, but I knew I had the money available and coming in to clear the bills without putting myself into further debt.

There’s no point in accelerating all this debt repayment if I don’t treat myself once in a while, and this happened to be a splurge month for me, but the next couple of months are pretty scarce in the splurges.

I also (to my recollection) have not bought a single piece of clothing or boots since last Summer/Fall.

6. I also cut my entertainment/going out budget quite low to almost nil because I’m putting up to 60%-75% of my income into debt, every month.

It’s all about what you prioritize in life. To me, creating a budget is to help me guide what I’m going to spend my money on this month, but it’s not a hard and fast rule with NEVER being able to spend outside of the budget once in a while.

I prioritize debt, but I’m not going to live my life throwing everything I’ve got, even foregoing any pleasure in life into debt.

If I did that, I wouldn’t have a BF, I wouldn’t go out with friends, and I wouldn’t have a life because my debt would’ve taken over me.

So if I see a pair of shoes that I’ve been looking for to replace my old shoes that don’t give me enough support and aren’t comfortable – if I can afford it and I have the room in my budget, I’ll buy them ahead of time before the summer hits because I know if I wait, I may never see those shoes again.

Same goes with pants and work sweaters. If I see a comfortable work blazer that’s made out of fleece or some soft cotton that is going to be worn many many times, I’m going to buy it because I’m re-building my wardrobe to contain the ‘essentials’ of what my new style is. But in the meantime I have a lot of things in my wardrobe that yes, I could wear, but I don’t because they don’t fit, or I just don’t have the occasion to wear those items any longer, or I just feel the need to pare down and minimalize.

7. I’m not selling ALL of my stuff. I’m just selling what I stupidly bought in previous years that I haven’t worn (tags still on, almost brand new, whatever) and making what I can off it because it’s sitting in my closet not doing anything.

So let me ask you. If you had an almost brand new car sitting around that you never drove, never went into, never bothered looking at, wouldn’t you think about trying to sell that asset to raise money?

Think about my clothes, shoes, purses and jewellery as “assets”. Sure the amounts are much smaller in comparison to a CAR, but they’re still assets. Have you never read Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella? She does the same thing in that book to clear her debt.

It would seem counter-intuitive to go shopping for newer clothes/shoes when I have clothes/shoes already in my wardrobe…. but the clothes/shoes that I’m selling are items that I’ll never get a chance to wear and/or don’t wear because of the sizing, or for various reasons.

The newer clothes/shoes purchases that I make are more informed as in I’m really looking for the fact that I can wear it for more than 3-5 years (potentially), which means the heel can’t be too high or too uncomfortable, I’m buying for quality, and I’m making sure that I really need/want those shoes/clothes and that they fit into my lifestyle/wardrobe.

And the rest? I’m purging so they can go on to better, more deserving homes. PLUS, the money from that goes 15% into Cancer (family disease) and the rest into my debt.

So Anonymous, before you judge me on your high horse and tell me to get a “reality check”, consider that your situation might be different from mine, and your priorities are different from mine.

If I had a family my priorities would be different and I wouldn’t have bought any of those items, nor my new laptop. And I’m going to enjoy a small fraction of my income because I know that I’m putting the bulk of it into debt. I’m not not de-railing myself off the debt repayment track and I’m not going to let debt rule my life or the way I want to live.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.