4 min read


a state of owing or something owed

debt is somehow only one letter off from debit yet galaxies away in meaning

Like many Americans I am intimately familiar with debt and our horrible financial system which incentivizes taking on debt and treats those pursuing a debt-free life as weirdo heathens.

There is a stark before/after in my life after making Tech Money and its impact to my own debts and relationship to debt.

And yes debt can be “good”, or so I am told, but in a system where worker’s salaries lag behind inflation

The Before Times

me at graduation still 3 credits away from getting the degree and 0 plans to use said degree.

I put a snake on layaway.

Spent my last $5 on a crepe from Perierra Crêperie (I would do that again. that crepe fed my soul).

Paying off my sizeable undergrad student loans was a pipe dream. I didn’t let myself conceive of a life free from that debt because it was more than my annual salary.

Very shitty credit score due to not paying student loans for the first 6 months I was supposed to. (all my $$ was going to rent and also I didn’t realize how fucking long 7 years is and how Future Me would be dealing with it)

Went to a fancy optometrist and didn’t realize no visible prices = “too rich for my blood” and had to put eyeglasses I needed on layaway.

Living sans roommates in Portland was untenable and I was planning a move back to Phoenix.

Surprise doctor bills absolutely could send me in a tailspin. I didn’t even think to go to the doctor proactively, mostly reactively went to Zoomcare when I already knew I was sick. see also: surprise car bills.

Only sporadically had a 4 digit checking account balance

Trips to Sephora left me wondering who in the HELL could afford $20 lip balm treatments

Bottom shelf booze and cannabis

No institution would lend me $$$ for code school  (I had to take a private loan from someone I knew with many many stipulations and an aggressive repayment plan. This was STILL a huge privilege and something I reflect on often.)

The After Times

basically me ever since 2016

No more layaway

Stock grants from my first employer who was riding high on the first couple years being public paid off a HEFTY portion of my student loans. Like tens of thousands of dollars worth. Later companies even had a benefit to pay $83/month toward my student loans and I accepted every red cent.

Started investing money in the stock market - basically following time-worn advice of balancing between stocks and bonds, getting all up in index funds and ETFs, and following the Basic Bitch investment guide - Target, Starbucks, etc. (invest in what you know!)

Said “I am thinking of buying a house” and being DROP DEAD SERIOUS

Went to Sephora and said “wow this $20 lip balm treatment must really work. this will be the lip balm to end all lip balms” (spoiler alert: it wasn’t)

Beautiful credit score due to my debt-to-income ratio, getting some distance between me and the Student Loan dings.

Many institutions offered me money and loans, in fact applying for a credit card got me a high-ass limit that scares me to this day!!

Got incredible rate on car loan due to nice credit score and accidentally seeming like I was playing hardball when in reality I just wanted to finish my knitting and get the hell out of that office.

Top shelf concentrates for the best dabs

During the incoherent parts of Radical Sabbatical manically purchased many many many items from:

  • The LEGO Store
  • Urban Dictionary store (yes they have a store. and actually totes recommend their shirts they’re sooooo soft)
  • Ulta
  • JetPens

The NOW Times

the Cloud from which I draw my paycheck

and now I am at a bit of a cross-roads. it seems as if my financial life on paper went from

“sub par do NOT give this girl $$$ under any circumstance”

→ → → to → → →

“omg what a money factory she is, better get her on the hamster wheel of more debt. tell Zillow to send 7x more Look At This House emails….”

As I contemplate my retirement from the tech industry (as of now am only retired from SRE and SWE) where my incoming paychecks will be variable and certainly smaller I wonder how that will shift my on-paper appearance and ability to secure new funds. Esp when I think about the Big Expenses on the horizon like buying a house/land and investing in industrial mill equipment.

All in due time!

I’m giving myself about 6 months in the current role to set up some budgets and calculate just exactly what my number is that I need to hit before I can “safely” embark on my quest for lovable sustainable fiber.

an accidental investment in my fiber stash - misread price per pound as price per bag…..

I had more to say about knowledge debt and technical debt but…another time! Monetary debt is enough for today.

Basically I think its fucked up that it took me making 1% money in tech to be able to pay off “required” debt (aka college and mortgage). It steams my broccoli to know that while I clawed my way out so many others are stuck in this system and vicious cycles.

Until this sort of financial relief is accessible to all that need it we have major major work to do. And c’mon Biden make good on that campaign promise good grief.