The Third Promise of Debtors Anonymous says that we will live within our means, yet our means will not define us.
In 2010, I left a marriage mainly because of a difference on money issues. And I left that marriage flat ass broke. I moved into an apartment complex, which was considered to be a slum. It was filled with drunks and addicts but it was all I could afford. In fact, if the landlord didn’t hold a check of mine for a couple of weeks I would have been homeless.
Those first couple of weeks were touch and go. Luckily I went from a 20 mile ride to work to a two block walk to work which saved me a ton of money. I ate cheese sandwiches and tons of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I had no furniture, except for an old couch that came with the apartment, which was a little to short for me to sleep on, so I slept on the floor.
After those first couple of weeks, I was able to buy some groceries and turn on the internet. I know that may sound like a luxury but it was more than just for the web. It was my TV set as well. I never had cable TV as I thought that was a luxury, so I watch all my TV over the web for free.
It would be another month before I purchased a mattress to sleep on and a month after that that I made a frame for the bed. The frame was made out of an old shelving unit from a cleaners closet, which held various cleaning chemicals. Then I added a little foam insulation on top of that to give the frame a little “play” before putting the mattress on top. It ended up being a very comfortable bed.
I moved into that apartment with the thought that it would just be a temporary arrangement. Instead I ended up staying there for over six years. It was my only home after my divorce and my last home in America.
I was able to get out of debt while living there as well as saving money. People kept asking me why I stayed there and all I could say was that it was comfortable. My neighbours never really bothered me, except for one who played very loud music all night. That one I complained to the landlord about and he was evicted.
The rest of the time it was a peaceful and very safe home. It was a home that helped me realize that I didn’t need things to define who I was. I didn’t need a fancy car or a big yard to say that I have been successful.
That complex thought me more about life and I learned more about myself than any other place I have experienced. I will always look back at that home as the place that taught me what was important and what mattered most.
What mattered most? Peace of mind, which came about pretty easy after I got out of debt. I still don’t have a lot of money but the stress of having debt hasn’t been with me now for over five years. It is a very wonderful way to live…