The Financial Ruin that Follows Freedom… How I’m Rebuilding my Life

It has been awhile. I have been in a state of constant anxiety waiting for my separation agreement to finalize. It has been in the hands of my narc ex for 2 weeks now. I have never dealt with anxiety in my life and now I can add that to that which I am empathetic towards.

That’s neither here nor there. I have had a lot of time to think with my newfound freedom. It did not come free, however. Lord, I had no idea lawyers and a divorce were so expensive. I had a few comical thoughts. I spent nothing on my wedding, literally almost nothing. The dress was less than $50, got married at city hall, and then went on a cheap boat ride with a few friends. In retrospect, I am so grateful I did not have a wedding. It makes me feel a whole lot better about not spending money on a divorce. It is usually the opposite, people will go extravagant on a wedding and cheap out on their divorce, but the divorce is worth every penny. Now I will probably advise people, don’t waste money on a wedding, save for your divorce. That is a joke but there is truth in every jab.

I am right now in a state of purgatory. I am living with my parents, waiting for my ex to accept the buy out for the house that he contributed nothing to. I miss being my own independent person and most importantly I crave my space and physical freedom back. My mental freedom is here, and now I await the rest of my spoils for having the strength to leave the psychologically abusive relationship. Worth the wait but still excruciating.

Back to the topic on hand. With all this time to think (I am now without child 50% of the time), I have been looking at my finances a lot. Hardly am I in a bad position, but this buyout will wipe out my entire savings, and put me in a small amount of debt which I am not used to having. I do owe on the house, but I will be borrowing a bit of money from my parents in order to not refinance my mortgage. I was looking at the numbers, seeing how long it would take to get out of debt and rebuild my emergency savings. I had an aha moment while surfing YouTube and looking into the Zero Waste movement. I strive to be a minimalist already, but then the idea of Zero Waste appealed as well. And from there, I looked at the No Spend movement. People pick a period of time, make their own rules, and then implement a no spend rule on everything but essentials (food, shelter, and whatever else you view as essentials). I was fascinated. We live in a world of abundance. Food, clothing, electronics, the latest whatever. Think to yourself, how often is the topic of conversation among friends and colleagues the next gadget we want to buy and how much we need to work in order to get it?

I have a friend who is in recovery for addiction, it really got me thinking we are all addicted to something but the taboo in society only deals with drugs. Plenty of people are addicted to food, shopping, and the end reason is the same. We are all trying to fill some void. I even think with minimalism I was trying to attain the unattainable, satisfaction in having some sort of direction or cause in life perhaps? Maybe we are all looking for meaning and happiness in life and we look in the wrong places. I am happier as a minimalist than I was as someone who was constantly working to buy things but I found the unpleasant side effect of never being satisfied. I wanted to have one perfect jacket, or one perfect pair of shoes, or the best cup, that would make me never seek to buy another one. Now, I realize we should make due with what we have because it is already more than a lot of people will ever have. We live in utter abundance and yet we are some of the most miserable people.

I did not buy anything in May other than what I deem necessities. What is a necessity for me will not constitute necessity in others. I am going to give you the set of rules I plan to live by, and then I will also tabulate how much money I end up saving. Once the agreement is finalized, I plan to see how long it takes me to pay off my debt.

Here are my rules from May 2019 to May 2020:

  1. Do not spend on anything other than necessities. To me that includes food, toiletries, shelter and utilities.
  2. If for some reason, I need something I do not already have, I will first try to borrow, and worse case scenario buy second hand.
  3. Exceptions to my no spend include: Experiences (travel, movies, fun things to do with my daughter that do not include accumulating material possessions), buying secondhand, purchasing things for the sake of saving on waste in the future (ex. reusable straws, reusable produce bags).
  4. Be mindful of what you buy and try to be conscious of what will end up in a landfill. These are habits I plan to employ that although have nothing to do with no spend, will help me save money and the environment. I plan to try my best not to buy another single plastic water bottle and carry my bottle everywhere I go,buy in bulk to reduce wasteful packaging, not buy a single plastic bag, make whatever food I can to eliminate packaging and also to know exactly what I put into my body.

I know this will be a journey and I am so excited to try it out. I got my first credit card bill last week that was such a minimal amount that I got even more excited. I don’t plan for it to be perfect but I do think the progress is what counts. I can’t wait to keep you all updated, and will quantify it monthly once my separation is finalized and my finances are as free as my mind is.

I hope I can inspire other’s to join me on this journey, or at least help make you think a little more before you decide what you feel you need, versus what you actually need.

Cheers & have a blessed day!

~D

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