Sunday, August 1, 2010

Before and after

Speaking of how quickly things change... this is a photo of downtown Seattle at 8 a.m. on Friday:

The city was in a cloud. I work near the top of my building, so the view outside was pretty freaky. I couldn't see a thing — just dense, white fog enveloping everything. It lasted a couple of hours, too.

By lunchtime the fog had cleared up, but it was still pretty cold out. As I walked over to the market to grab lunch, I zipped up my fleece all the way to my chin.

By the time I walked back to the office, the sun was out and I was sweating.

Welcome to Seattle.
I paid off the last of my student loan on Friday, July 16.

In mid-January, I was in an all-encompassing fog of debt. Now, six months later, the fog has dissipated and the sky is clear. I got rid of all of my credit card debt, my student loan debt and even an embarrassing debt care of the Seattle Public Library — a 60-cent fine.

It's a great feeling to transfer a big chunk of my paycheck into my savings account rather than send that chunk out to a credit card company or to the U.S. Department of Education. (I actually didn't mind sending money to the latter — it made it possible for me to go to UW and get a great education. Thanks!)

It's also strange to be completely in the clear. It's the same feeling I would get after turning in a huge paper or taking a difficult exam in college — I was done and should have been relieved, but instead felt lingering anxiety about the outcome. I had spent all that time working toward something, then didn't know quite what to do after I was done.

I've mentioned how important it is to have set goals; now I just need to focus on my new goal of saving up enough money to move into a place of my own. I'm aiming for, as Dave Ramsey suggests, enough money to cover 6 months of living expenses. That means 6 months' worth of income. That means this next part will take me a while.

My new goal is to move out in January. If I stick to the new plan, I'll have the right amount of money to feel secure on my own. I'll be able to be home with my family for the holidays, then start fresh in 2011. Also, it'll be about a year from when I started this Big Debt Payoff.

I'll look back on 2010 as the year I changed the course of my whole life. It was not always fun and not always easy, but certainly worth the relatively small amount of time it has taken to make my remaining years that much better.


  1. Congratulations, Devon! What an accomplishment and amazing to have such a load off the shoulders :)

  2. I'm a little late here and I don't know if you'll see this but I could REALLY use some advice on HOW you got debt free? I was living with my parents and got my credit cards paid off but once I was on my own, I racked up $4k on the cards again and I'm barely keeping my head above water...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...