Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

In Medias Res . . . Again

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Total Black: $585.61
Total Red: $228,964.81

I’ve reached the middle of the road.  Six months into this journey.  And along the way I became an art seller, a contract attorney, and an usher off-Broadway.  I’ve participated in a medical experiment, worked at bit as a solo practitioner, and sold many of my belongings and reduced quite a few expenses.  But it’s not been enough.

My total debt is pretty much exactly where I started.  So despite six months of grueling labor, I’ve not made much progress.  But that’s ok.  Nothing good will come from wallowing in self-pity or despair.

I’ve acknowledged all along that a major problem that I’ve had is getting income to be consistent.  Each of the projects I’ve been on as a contract attorney lasted roughly one month.  So just as soon as income started flowing and bills started getting paid, the flow would get interrupted and the back-slide would begin.  The project I’m currently on seems to be steadily plugging along.  One contract attorney has been on the case since before Christmas and has become somewhat entrenched.  The trial has been pushed back now until April from a prior March date, so that gives the firm more time to prepare.  And since it’s a criminal trial, the defendant pretty much has to pay as much as he can to save his neck.  I do feel badly about the size of his legal bills, but then again, he earned millions in his prior position and through stock options and I’m here living hand to mouth.  But that doesn’t preclude me from feeling like those remora clinging to a shark.  Well, why not, eh?  This debt is my remora.  Can’t seem to shake it.  But that doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying.

Back when I started, I set in motion a number of little ways to make money.  For example, to date, I’ve earned a total of $6.37 from the Amazon Associates program I participated in.  When visitors to the blog click on the icon on the sidebar, and then make purchases there, I earn a percentage back from for driving traffic, and business, their way.  So far people have purchased $159.06 worth of items.  Six dollars isn’t much, but it’s free.  Doesn’t cost the reader or me anything extra.

Another avenue: the Upromise icon.  A program set up by SallieMae whereby various businesses and merchants, like Barnes & Noble or 1-800-Flowers, contribute a percentage of your purchases to a savings account or a 529 account, or in my case my student loans.  To date I’ve earned $77.52 through the program, but I believe, if I understand their unnecessarily complex website correctly, that the amount is from my own purchases, i.e., no one has used the icon.

One other one-off money-making option: survey taking.  Somehow I came across Springboard America through my Craigslist trolling.  Not much there yet, but so far I’ve earned $7.50 from taking surveys they email out.  Most likely, none of these efforts singly will make a significant dent in any of my debts.  But collectively, seven dollars from a survey, three dollars from an purchase, and so on, all together, over time, can help steadily bring down my debt.  It just needs time to grow.

Back in Out of the Box I discussed a few other options like or  But, of course, you must have something to sell.  The only thing I have left is the Amazon Kindle DX.  The screen frame developed a tiny crack in it, but I did buy the warranty program, so I’m thinking of replacing it and then selling it.  Frankly, I’m not crazy about it.  (They couldn’t have come up with a back light for that screen?)  And now with the iPad on the way . . . .

Despite debt being only minimally reduced at the six-month mark, I’m ok with that.  It’s the journey not the destination.  And oddly enough, I’ve never felt more alive or more connected with this city.  Sure I’m tired.  And sure I’d love to have time to relax at home and watch television, or go see a film, or read a book.  Or go on a date.  But that’s all been put on hold, if not explicitly then impliedly, by this one-year project.  Of course none of this implies that I can let things slide.  In fact, if anything, it’s time to redouble my efforts.  I have felt like I’ve lulled a bit during these past few weeks.  Perhaps a touch of winter sluggishness.  And spring is just around the corner after all.  And it’s true that some of the seeds of I planted will take a while to bloom.

And speaking of a planted seed, looks like the documentary I referenced back in Vindication! wants to film me.  Might be able to ad film star to that list above.  See ya on the red carpet, bitches.

One Response

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  1. August 2009 = Overall debt about $227,000

    February 2010 = Overall debt about $229,000

    I’d say that 6+ months is a big enough sample size to say that maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board and see if more drastic measures might need to be undertaken.

    Forget about the August 2010 goal of no debt…I mean even if you have an August 2030 goal, the past 6 months is an indication that, as we say in Pittsburgh, “you can’t get there from here!”

    See a professional debt counselor and (again, I recommend) putting your income and expenses (down to the penny) on a spreadsheet so you can monitor every last bit of cash flow.

    I’m rooting for you, but you’ve been spinning your wheels for a while now.



    February 11, 2010 at 00:03

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