Tag Archives: overdeveloped western lives

Debt Free In Ten%

I have known about this method of becoming debt free for a while now, its pretty simple and although people have shown interest in it when I have told them about it they haven’t asked for details.  Here is a pretty good place for purging and sharing.

Here’s what you do.

  1. Make a list of all your debts and list them from the smallest to the largest.
  2. Keep paying the minimum on all of your debts through out your time trying this.
  3. While doing this find a way to reduce your outgoings by around 10% of your net monthly income. (turn the heating down a notch, eat less takeaway, drive more sensibly, stop going to starbucks catch a bus, walk to the corner shop – however you do it, make a plan to scrape this together)
  4. Now pay the 10% you have scraped together in addition to the normal minimum payment on your smallest debt (the first on your list from step one).
  5. Keep this going until you have paid this off completely.
  6. Now the fun starts.  Now take your 10% you will have got used to scraping together each and every month AND what was the minimum payment of the first debt (now cleared) and use both of these to start paying off the next debt on the list.
  7. As you clear this debt, add the minimum payment of this second debt on your list to the minimum payment of the first debt and your 10% that you have scraped together and start paying the third debt on your list. … etc.

By the time you clear two to three credit cards and a loan you will have a huge amount to use against your MORTGAGE (oh yeah!).  When you get to this stage you will find that you can reduce a 25 year repayment mortgage to between 7 to 13 years depending on how much debt you were in in the first place.  The funny thing is that as long as you can actually afford to run this system at the beginning, ie pay the minimum each month and find your 10% you will find that the more debt you had at the start the more you will have to pay towards your mortgage in the last stage – and the quicker you can be debt free.  (and thats TOTALLY debt free!)

I can’t pretend that I invented this, I didn’t.  It’s called many things on the web but “Debt Snowballing” is the most popular name.

I have been meaning to share this here for a while.  If this helps someone then mission accomplished.

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100 Things

I have recently been introduced to the 100 things concept.  Basically what you do is pare down your possessions to just 100 in total.  These are personal possessions, so the sofa doesn’t count, the bed doesn’t count etc.  I started my list expecting to have a large excess of 100 things that I really wanted to keep and imagined that the emotional trauma that would follow if I decided that yes actually I was going to go for it.

Here’s my list:

1.Ganesh
2. Shiva
3. Aarti lamp
4. Trays
5. Incense sticks
6. Puja sundries
7. My many religious texts (one single shelf full)
8. Tabla
9. PC and cables mouse keyboard etc
10. A3 printer
12. Kettle
13. 5 mugs
14. Bicycle
15. Helmet
16. Pannier bags
17. Cycling tops, pants, overshoes and gloves
18. Tech toolbox (limited to what fits within)
19. General toolbox (limited to what fits within)
20. Blackberry bold and 8820
21. Belt
22. Braces
23. Tie rack and ties
24. Sock hanger
25. One weeks set of pants, socks
26. One summer coat
27. One winter coat
28. One box of cufflinks and collar stiffners
29. My Portfolio
30. My MA work
31. Bread maker
32. Shredder
33. Poker set
34. PS2 & Games (selection only give rest to Nat)
35. Bollywood Movie collection
36. Music CD collection (34,35 & 36 must fit on 1 benno cd bookcase
37. External Harddrives (home and work) bin the other crap.
38. Billy Bookcase
39. Puja bookcase
40. Ibook (?) Mac mini (?)
41. Hoover
42. Ironing board
43. Iron
44. Water sprayer
45. Wok
46. Tawa
47. Kitchen Radio
48. Umbrella
49. Backpack
50. Trainers
51. Catapillar boots
52. Suit shoes
53. Slipper shoes

There are several things that interested me about this exercise.  Firstly that my desire to keep should extend to my bed.  Secondly, I don’t have 100 personal things that I really want to keep.  I realised that this list is telling me that I have a lot of junk!  At least a lot of things that I don’t care for enough to list – which is interesting.  I think the circumstances in which the list was made is significant.  I made the list on my blackberry of the period of three evenings just as I was about to jump into bed and set the alarm for morning.  Its amazing how clear your mind is when it has the expectation of restful sleep.  (I sleep like a log!)

So anyway, I felt like sharing my list.  Its under development.  I encourage you to make one too.  Its interesting how it clarifies whats important to you right now.  If you have a go, post me a few lines I would like to read your comments.  For your benefit this is where I found out about the 100 things challenge.

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Sadhu and their dedication

I went on a trawl of Google’s Images the other day looking for Sadhu’s. I find them curiously interesting. Sadhu’s are holy men of India. They are worshippers of Shiva living as ascetics who are in there last stage of the three stages of a Hindu life where efforts to achieve Moksha are upmost in and foremost in their minds. Being a worshipper of Shiva myself I am really drawn to their dedication and focus. Qualities that I have right now, but not in the same context and probably not in the same strength (by any stretch of the imagination). Their renunciation of the material and societial world interests me the most. I have always been drawn to things that completely buck the system and travel in a completely opposite direction to the norm. I am sure I have missed the point here, they’re likely to me going with the flow that is presented to them rather than making a poilitical point.

Personally I am currently attempting to live a more austere lifestyle, I’ve dumped my TV, I’ve severely reduced my possessions and I’m thinking of doing another round of recycling soon as I still have lots of things that I don’t really need. My iPod battery finally gave up the ghost the other day, I’m going to ebay it and pass it onto someone who can get hold of a battery and knows how to change them. I can’t compare my meagre efforts with the Sadhu’s who I admire so much, but I have a way to go before that stage of my life begins.

Click an image to see the full size version.
A SadhuJust looking at this picture makes me want to know what’s gone on in this mans mind. I find his efforts staggering. When do we in the west face this kind of experience?

Whilst looking through the hundreds of interesting pictures that people have put onto their blogs and photograph collections I came across this image of a young girl who lives in the city of Varanasi. Its not very often you see genuine happiness and freedom on someones face. I see this in her face. She seems so happy. She looks so genuine, she seems almost untainted. Untainted by the west?
Street Kids of Varanasi
What an amazing concept, that people can live in such terrible poverty by western standards, yet be so much more happy. I can’t remember the last time that I saw someone smile with such expression. Our overdeveloped western lives have so much to answer for.

Streets of Varanasi
This image shows the level of the quality of life in Varanasi. Dirt next to food being sold in the same street. A Bitch feeding her young. In the same place. What a great picture.

The Colour Photographs in this entry where taken by Ray Church. His photographs are found here: http://www.travelblog.org/Photos/893322.html and his travel blog can be found here: http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/Raymondo/

I feel that I should point out that I feel both grateful and annoyed at being a westerner.  There is much to be grateful for, as has been pointed out in the comments from the readers I appear to have annoyed with my ignorance.  Yet at the same time I do not feel a connection with the earth or with my community and to a certain degree with my spiritual life that appears to be the very foundation of the Indian way of life.  It is not my intention to annoy anyone with the comments I have made.  If they stir comments and even discussion then this is wonderful.  But I have posted the above pictures with the utmost respect for the people shown.  Namaste. Om Namah Shivaya.

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