Author Topic: Started a lifestyle that will pay off $77k debt (and hit netzero) in the next 12-18mo(ish)!  (Read 1749 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Okay... before you all cringe at my numbers...backstory:

I'm 26, kind of a quasi bohemian/dirtbag/ski bum/climber, and went to a state school with a prestigious engineering program in Colorado. Finished a degree in Chemical Engineering in 2011 with a minor in skiing. Found a local job as a process engineer in the oil/gas industry and thought that a salary of $65k would be a great excuse to get into motorcycles for no money down (obviously not sustainable). Suddenly life became like office space, which was depressing. So I quit and went traveling and drove a car to Mongolia in 2012.

Upon return, I had a failed attempt at graduate school--mostly from a dislike of research--which brought upon a few more loans, but was dragged out further through a side entrepreneurial project that the partnership relationship left me uninterested in remaining in for the long term. I found the first job that I could find remotely engineering related, doing environmental inspections for oil/gas, making $45k, and immediately identified it as a stepping stone since it wouldn't make any legitimate progress on my debt. Then I spent the next 8 months looking for an upgrade job and identifying routes to pay off debt and minimize already simplistic lifestyle spending habits.

Current situation:
I started a rotational engineering job in oil/gas in February that is based in western Central Africa (Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Congo, etc.) on a 5wk on/3wk off rotation (with flights home for off time). Base salary is at $50k, and day rates are an additional $210, putting a 12mo gross at conservatively $100k-ish. Promotion beyond initial position should be in the next 6mo and will increase day rates to $315, plus additional day rates on jobs and salary boost. 401k matched 100% to 6% and fully vested immediately. While gone I have full room/board covered, with no living expenses whatsoever. I'm so excited! I have essentially zero cost of living other than paying off debt. See below for my shit list of grievances...

I'm still renting in Colorado, but have worked it out with my roommate so that instead of paying my normal $650 for our $1300 utilities-included house, I pay $200/mo since I'm gone so much. As far as a car, I drive a late 90s VW Passat that I bought on craigs for $2100 and will probably drive until it dies in another 100k.

My lifestyle is super simple. I cook/bake a lot, which can add up a bit. My primary hobbies are skiing, climbing, hiking, camping, traveling, and hanging out, which can occur some minimal expenses occasionally but are otherwise cheap. I've whittled my possessions down to where I have a spacious roommate situation in a 900sqft house and occupy less than half the house. I might have 10d of clothes and clothing/gear for my activities, but otherwise don't spend anything on shopping. Ultimately my biggest spending is on paying off debt, and hanging at the local brewery/pub--all too common in Colorado these days.

TL;DR-- I was a damn fool and spent too much for a naively amazing and unguided lifestyle that was my end goal but unsustainable. I learned my lesson and am sucking it up with a socially awkward job that is adventuresome and makes increasingly tonnes of money (I would assume that tons of digital savings can translate to literal tonnes of money) in order to reach FIRE in hopefully 9-12yr. I have a lot of free time in Africa, so I'm researching and identifying side hustles to increase take home. I'll probably leave Colorado front range/CO and buy a small house in a small mountain town in CO/WY/MT/Europe and rent or use as a home base until FIRE. I won't be stuck with finding a job in these local areas with the global commuting, so why not relocate to where I want sooner, particularly since many have great access to the outdoors and cheap housing compared to where I am.

The debt:

    Credit Cards (I know you're all cringing)
    • #1 - $3230/10500 (balance was at $8k at end of Jan)
    • #2 - $4200/5000
    (balance was at $5k at end of Jan)
    • #3 - $5700/8000

    Line of credit
    • $3400/5000
    (was maxed at end of Jan)
All credit should be gone the rotation after this one or the the following at THE latest

  • Federal Student Loans - $19,800
  • Private Student Loans - $30,000
  • Motorbike Loan (BMW F800GS) - $10,500
Motorbike will take priority after credit and be sold or paid off in full in the next 6 months

Sorry for the long post. I'm really excited to increasingly be mustachian and to be in a sustainable position that will relinquish my past discretions as quickly as possible (assuming oil doesn't drop any lower and I'm not out of a job shortly haha).

Also, any amazing/likely not obvious advice toward a youngster-but-late-comer to MMM would be appreciated.