Thursday, April 30, 2009

One Down, Two to Go!

It's true. I have successfully achieved a zero balance on a credit card that has never had a zero balance since the mid-90s. This is the credit card that I used throughout grad school, the credit card that made life on a 9K/year stipend in Boston possible. This is the credit card that took me to London, to Trieste, to Dublin, and to Budapest, when seriously, I had no business taking any of those trips in terms of my money situation at the time. At its highest, I believe the balance hovered someplace around 13K. And over the course of the past 17 months, I have taken it from that horrifying level down to $0. And this was my card with the highest interest rate.

I've still got two credit cards to pay off. They, too, relatively painlessly, will be at zero by August. I can't tell you how empowered I feel by having committed myself to this project and by succeeding at it. Sure, it's meant teaching in summer. Sure, it's meant being more conscious of my money, and I am not really a person who likes to think about money very much. I'm not really motivated by money, when it comes down to it, and historically it's stressed me out to pay much attention to it. (Though, of course, this could be because I've been in a wicked amount of debt.)

Now sure, I've still got student loan debt, and I've got my car loan, but for the first time in my life, once the credit cards are paid off, I will have the freedom to save money in a real way and to actually look toward living a life where I'm not just making ends meet. I kind of can't believe it!

In a weird way, this feels like as much of an accomplishment - if not more of an accomplishment - than tenure. Seriously.

23 comments:

Seeking Solace said...

It's a great feeling! Cheers to being almost debt free!

Clio Bluestocking said...

I get that sense of accomplishment, having been there myself. It's liberating, and it's also like putting a particular part of your younger past behind you (one that had to use the credit cards just to get by) in a very concrete way. It sure is sweet! Congratulations!

Jenny Davidson said...

It is a huge accomplishment!

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

Congratulations! It's a wonderful feeling to meet any long-term goal that was hard to get to (& easy to slack off the small daily efforts that will get you there). It's a big deal!

Belle said...

Well, I totally get teh milestone feeling, and I've not had zero debt on cc's in waaay too long. Congratulations indeed.

Shane in Utah said...

Weird; this entire post could have been written by me. I too used credit cards to finance my travels through grad school and my early career (mostly research-related, but still more expensive than I could afford). I too hate to think about money any more than absolutely necessary. I too should finally have my credit cards paid off by the end of summer, and I'm also very much looking forward to being credit-card-debt free. And finally: I too just got tenure...

Congrats!

Thomas said...

Credit Card Debt Consolidation is suitable for people who have credit card, store card or debts from home shopping catalogues which they are unable to meet the minimum repayment requirements each month or find that they are paying so much high interest that the debts are not being reduced significantly.

Comet Jo said...

Congratulations! Very inspiring.

Lawgirl said...

So happy for you!! Congrats!

Bridgett said...

This is a big deal. Good work.

Janice said...

Dr. Crazy, you are awesome for having set this goal and achieved it! Honestly, I know what you mean about the liberating and empowering sensation when you get control over your finances. It took me a lot longer than you to go from "huge pile of grad student debt" to "I've finally got a hold of my financial future" so I'm really impressed with your alacrity.

comebacknikki said...

Awesome! Congratulations!

The Steel Magnolia said...

Yay for you! And what perfect time to take care of this.

Dance said...

Congratulations! a wonderful feeling.

And I don't think I bothered to sign in to post re tenure, so Congratulations! on that too! (which also tells you something re comparative accomplishments :)

Susan said...

I think this is a lovely match for tenure -- it sort of ends that period in your life. It is indeed awesome that you have done it in exactly the time you expected.

The History Enthusiast said...

Yay! That must be a great feeling.

kermitthefrog said...

Congratulations! And what happily unnecessary spam.

Also, word veri = curings!

Bardiac said...

Congratulations! Feels wonderfully freeing, doesn't it?

And good luck with the next steps. :)

Artistic Soul said...

That is always an awesome feeling!! I'm still working my way there, but I managed to get all five of my cards with balances under key levels (you know, this one's less than $1,000 now! kind of things) the past couple months and it's a great feeling!

Flavia said...

I can only hope to be there someday soon--I started really making an effort less than a year ago, and I'm hoping to be there in another two or three. So I'm impressed with you and hopeful for myself. Congrats!

Arbitrista said...

That's righteously cool.

Kate said...

WOW -- good for you Dr. C!

dhawhee said...

this is great! I would also point out that it's probably no coincidence that this is happening around tenure time for you. That's when the same thing happened for me (after a concerted effort starting around my 3rd year), and it sounds like that might be the timeframe Flavia's looking at. Perhaps the academic salary starts to meet--and pass--spending after about 6 or 7 years in a job, which is eerily equal to the number of years it takes to get a phd. Of course I'm basing this sheerly on anecdote and a gut sense, but I wonder if there's some sort of 1-1 correlation for those of us not in huge, painfully expensive cities.