As I remarked on December 20th, if I eked things out, put up with the Scrooge tag, and denied myself any indulgences (how many presents do people buy for themselves at Christmas?) then I could get out of debt. Not that that means much to most people of the younger generations for whom debt=credit, but for my generation that seems like cause for celebration. I hope my mum would have been proud of me, anyway.
My friend Mick and I found a badge in a local shop with 'Back to Zero' enigmatically written on it (presumably an ad for The Stones' album, as the band of that name probably didn't exist back then). In one of our late-night discussions we played with that phrase (as neither of us had any credit rating = no debt, but lived like the poorest in the land - me out of a suitcase, him in a caravan in someone's orchard).
We came to the conclusion that if you had won the lottery, or saved up a fortune, and then went on a spree - "Back to Zero" would be the wake-up call, the reality check (Mick used to say "reality checks don't bounce"), the day to 'get real', the day you realise you have nothing, nada, zilch. (gulp).
If (we realised) you had found yourself in debt (like most people these days in the UK and the US), then the "Back to Zero" day would feel like a real achievement, even if you actually had NOTHING.
That's the day I find myself in. Even the money that I will owe the taxman has got put aside in a savings account. I managed to get here just in time for my birthday.
Who knows if it will last, as contingencies arise (I need some new shoes), and the pressure to spend continues all around me...But even one day like this cheers me up.