The Relationship Between Debt and Fear

Have you ever woken up at night worrying about how you were going to pay?

Photo by Travis Essinger on Unsplash

The burden of uncertainty

For me, the amount I make was not always relevant to the amount I have had. In my best six figure years, I often had less money than when things were tight, workwise. And, in hindsight, I honestly cannot tell you where it was going. I just upped my spending as my salary went up. It was total foolishness.

What didn’t work

First, for the record, I have a whole shelf of books on investing, personal finance, getting organized, etc. I have kept spreadsheets, organized my files multiple times, and tried other things to break my financial incompetence. But I wasn’t dealing with the real problem.

I’m not exactly sure what my trigger for change was

It started when I signed a lease for an expensive loft apartment in a newly developed building. It was a bit of an impulse thing that would raise my living space costs by 75%. The apartment I was and still live in was in a great area in an old building once considered luxury. But that was back in the fifties when it was built.

I went from almost no savings to $20k in the next year

I did not go on an austerity budget. I just eliminated some expenses that I rarely took advantage of. I’ve never looked back on those bigger choices (car and luxury apartment). My travel preferences are trains and staying with friends when possible. I get books from the library and do not buy processed food. I shop at our big farmer’s market year round where shopping is actually fun and costs a fraction of the big grocery stores.

The big shifts

First of all, no more waking in the night stressed about money. In fact, no stress about money at all. I had not realized how much my prior habits had created stress until I dealt with it. With less stress came less self-medication and less spending as a form of self-medication.

Former software marketer. Former musician. Writer, nine non-fiction books, two novels, Buddhist, train lover. Amateur cook, lover of life most of the time!

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