Sometimes I feel as if I’m on a display with people wondering why I do what I do. Partly it’s my own fault (I’m WEIRD in all capital letters for serious) and partly it’s because of what I’m doing here. I don’t tell many friends that I blog—kind of because I tend to like the idea of being completely honest and sometimes I’ll share conversations on here. And when I do tell friends I blog, and they find out what I blog about, I get the question “WHY do you want to get out debt so quickly? You have your whole life to do this.” Seriously. No, really, it’s an actual comment (okay paraphrased from many comments) that I’ve received.
My answer: because I’m smart. Oh wait, that’s implying they aren’t smart and isn’t very nice at all. Okay, new answer: Because I have better uses for my money than letting it go to debt payment for years on end. But that’s still not really why and kind of sounds uppity. Okay, final answer: because I don’t like the thought of owing someone a lot of money when I could be doing fun things with that money. That’s not bad. And it’s true! I know that I could go on a vacation on credit and that would be “fun” but it’s not going to be fun enough to continue paying years down the road. (And yes, I’m implying that I wouldn’t be paying that vacation of in full when I received the statement. Just the minimums)
And yes, money is a little tight right now (for instance, I’m saving up to go to a concert for a date in September because our normal date money won’t cover it all instead of just being able to rearrange the budget to give us more that time) and sometimes I feel like there is no end in sight. But I know it’s going to be worth it. And maybe it’s just pride getting in the way, but I really hate owing people money. Not that you can tell if you look at the sheer amount of debt I’m in but I really don’t like it. And truthfully, it’s only stretched tight because we are saving up to move, saving for a wedding, saving up for a efund and we’re trying to get out of debt. Not many normal people do that.
So yes, student loans (one of the contention issues) might be structured to be paid off over the long-term, but when I can, I plan on starting to knock those suckers out. This is partially because I defaulted on them for a while and am a few years behind but also just because I really don’t like them hanging over my head. The future plan is to go after the baby one and just get it down as fast as I can. Of course, we also have to take care of my fiancé’s student loan. So that will in actuality be the first to go as it really is a baby. Point is? Debt has got to go. And yes, if I get a house, it might come back but that’s far down the road.
In conclusion, people can stare at me like I’m on display all they want. I’ll eventually be debt free and a lot happier and I am also comfortable with my incredible weirdness.
When I was planting my roses last night, a HUGE mess was made. I don’t own a bucket (seriously, who doesn’t own a bucket? Okay besides me) so when I had to soak them, it was in my kitchen sink. Dirt was everywhere—on my wall, on the dish soap, on the floor, on the cabinets, just plain everywhere. It was a pretty daunting task especially since we also had dishes to do. In order to tackle it, I just started taking it in little sections. First, I picked up the big chunks, and then washed down the counters. After the counters were clear, we did the dishes and swept the floor. Pretty soon my kitchen was clean as a whistle.
Where am I going with this? Debt can be just as daunting—I know this all too well. When I wisened up and looked at the sheer amount, I almost wanted to cry. I was at work though and didn’t want to bawl like a baby in front of my new co-workers. So I broke it down—medical, school and consumer. Okay, it still looked pretty bad but now it was in chunks. I added my guy’s debt into mine and separated that one out as well.
Still, it was a daunting task. As much as I really wanted to get out of debt, I had no clue as to where to start. I still wanted to cry but it was getting better. I came up with a plan of attack—which debts would be paid first, how much a pay period we could be setting aside for our debt. It was starting to look a little better. Then I started to plan what I would do when I got out of debt and how it would feel.
Right now, I’m still cleaning my counters. I haven’t paid down a ton of debt, but I’ve made some progress. I have the start of an efund and I no longer am living paycheck to paycheck. I enjoy having money in my wallet at the end of the week. Granted it might not be much but it’s better than nothing. And at the end of the 2 weeks, that excess goes right into debt repayment or savings.
Is your kitchen getting cleaned? What stage are you in?
Over this last week or so I had a conversation with a friend—just the normal catching up after not talking for a while. I was asked about how I was doing with “all that budgeting stuff you were trying.” I filled them in and told them how I felt that I was really doing pretty well—not near where I want to be but getting there slowly but surely. The comment I received back was “wow, I wish I could do that but I can’t because……” From there you can just fill in the blank because it doesn’t really matter what the reason was.
As harsh as this might sound—it doesn’t matter because it was just an excuse. I should know because I used to be full of them. I can’t get out of debt because it’s hard, because I don’t make enough money, because I owe too much, because I don’t know where to begin…you get the drift. What it really boiled down to was I didn’t want to try.
So what did I say to my friend? Well, I told her that as awesome as I am (and extremely modest too!) that if I could do it, anyone could. She just laughed it off and said that as happy as she was for me, she just didn’t think that she could do it. And so I left it alone and we moved the conversation onto other topics for a while. But the whole time we spoke I was wondering when she would (or if she would) come to the day when she would want to start getting out of debt.
I wasn’t willing to work to get myself out of debt for a long time—I got into debt shortly after I was 18 and never thought about when I would get out of it. The really sad part? I had a friend who was excellent at budgeting and working to get himself out of debt. And when he asked me when I was going to get myself a plan to get out of debt I made much the same comment to him that my friend did to me. Now I wish that I would have started to get my act together a long time ago.
My point to this whole post (and I do have one, I’m not just babbling) is that you can’t be helped out of debt until you are willing to work to get yourself out of debt. You know the old saying—you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink? It’s true. You can show a person how to budget but if they don’t want to, they won’t stick to it. But hopefully my friend will show an interest in starting to budget and plan when she sees me doing it.
“Did you try it? No? Then how do you know you don’t like it.” That was a fairly common refrain from my mother (I have no kids as of yet but I’m thinking that is a common refrain from any mother) when I was younger. My answer was of course “I just know I don’t”. Then she struck a deal with me—I had to try whatever it was and give it an honest try but if I truly didn’t like it (and as moms always know when their child is lying—I shouldn’t even try to lie to her) she wouldn’t make me eat the rest of it and I would never have to eat it again. Now this deal really worked with me—I even was surprised when I would actually like things that looked weird. I still try things when new food is presented to me—and I always give it the honest try that I once promised my mother I would.
What’s this got to do with anything? Besides the food theme I seem to have going on this week? Simple—I used to shy away from trying to get out of debt because I didn’t think I could. Had I tried? Nope but I still knew that I couldn’t do it so why should I even try? Henry Ford has a quote that I think fits in really well with this: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” I didn’t think I could get myself out of debt so I couldn’t. I had no PLAN, I had no motivation and would just tell myself every single time I got a new bill or notice that ‘I knew it—no sense in trying when I just keep getting more in debt every month.’ Well of course I kept getting more in debt! I wasn’t paying it down and was instead spending more on the credit cards or ignoring bills. I failed because I knew I would.
Then I had my wake –up call a few months ago. I stopped ignoring the bills and started to gather all the information I needed. I came up with a budget that could work and a plan that will work. Is it going to be hard work? Of course but I think that it will be worth it in the end. I just have to take baby steps as I get an emergency fund set up and try to pay down bills at the same time. I know it can be done—if other people can do it, so can I.
I was watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”—the one with Jim Carey. There’s a part at the beginning of it where the father of Cindy Loo Who is doing some Christmas shopping and an alarm starts flashing and he is congratulated for maxing out his credit cards. Could you imagine being congratulated on that? I know that a few years ago, I would have been being congratulated all the time—and then had the weird thought of: would I have gotten a prize after so many maxed out cards? I felt a little ashamed at that thought, but laughed it off. I figured if I could have that thought, it meant I obviously wasn’t hiding from it anymore. I did have several maxed out cards—but I’ve learned from that mistake and plan to never have that happen again.
I thought about it and remembered so many times when I would call the numbers on the back to make sure how much money I had on a single card. And would often find myself telling the clerk, “here, put some here and some here and the last on this card.” It does embarrass me to think about that but I also find it…to be helpful. Do I ever want to be in that situation again? No absolutely not. Just last week, I accidentally gave my debit card over to the cashier and was in shock when she said it was declined. What had happened was that it was my Wal-Mart loadable card but just not the current one—I had forgotten to throw it out after I got the new one. But it did flash me back to that time in my life where those kinds of things happened frequently. And it reaffirmed my decision to get out of debt and back on track with my life. Is it hard? Yes, it is. But I find it to be hard in a way like going to the gym or stopping biting my nails (a horrible icky habit I know)—it is difficult at first, easy to fall off the wagon so to speak but once you keep at it, it starts becoming second nature. I enjoy going to the gym (okay maybe not but I like the feeling I get for losing weight and being healthy) and have always hated biting my nails. I enjoy having money saved and I really enjoy being able to start paying off my debts.
Do you ever look back on your previous ways and laugh?
That’s right we decided to take the house. A little early but we’re happy. We weren’t able to get the pet deposit waived (I think it is a bit high—but it’s better than them saying that we can’t have our little guy) but we were able to split it into 3 payments. We already paid them 1/3 of it today ($197 was broke into $60, $60, and $77) and will have it done by February 1st.
As of right now, it’s looking like we are going to be fine with the deposits for the utilities. They might just get added to the bill if we have them at all—apparently only the water company said they would have to have a deposit and it looks like they may just add it to the bill. What I am planning on doing, is keeping some money for the utilities so that way the first bill or two isn’t a huge shocker—basically just keeping the money set aside and not using it.
The only bad thing about this move is that apparently it’s my guy’s busiest weekend at work—and he’s stressed about that and is getting snippy. I try to ignore it as much as possible but he annoys me sometimes. That’s all I’m going to say on that topic.
There may be a few changes to the monthly goals—we talked about them last night and aren’t sure if some of the funds will continue to be funded for right now or if we are going to rename some of them and use them for something else. We should be able to decide this after this weekend—this reminds me. I have normally been trying to post at least one time during the weekend—this might not occur as we may not have internet for a while. We’re going to look at some prices after everything is said and done but for now are on the fence about it. (Unless I am able to write a post and just schedule it to post over the weekend—which is very possible)
So our weekend goals are to: pack and move everything. And clean the house before moving in—it still has that stale air scent. What are your weekend goals?
My mini shopping splurge didn’t set us back to horrible. At least—it isn’t looking like it. I know that we will be able to put what we had planned into our Christmas fund, house fund and our car fund—and maybe even the $500 fund—that might take a bit of a hit but it won’t be too bad. I highly doubt that we will have any excess money left over this week—so we really will be living a little tighter this time.
Next pay check, we are going to do buy our White Elephant gift. We both decided that we want it to be something for our future apartment. We are thinking of a bed set for the summer/spring as the one we are using is on loan to us. I was also thinking about a coffee pot—we don’t have one and he is really enjoying his coffee. The limit is $50 so I think that both of these would be good ideas. We were going through the list—we are doing pretty well. We have a bunch of things crossed off—they will last for now and eventually we will save and replace them. Currently we still need silverware and a knife set—we have a few butcher knives but no steak knives. But we also have a few months yet.
If we do have some excess money left over this week, I’m also going to add in another savings envelope—the bank fund. Currently I owe $370 to a bank before I can get another bank account. I have plans to start really saving for this in December and should be able to get it paid off by March. I’m hoping to beat this estimate. I’m sure I can—it will take some discipline but it will be done. This is of course if everything goes on as it is planned right now—remember, I might make a set amount, but my guy doesn’t. He tries but is dependent on the scheduler. As soon as Christmas is done—well, actually as soon as my last pay period before Christmas is done—I have an aggressive savings plan that will be taking place. Well, aggressive for us at least. We might have to change our plans though as they hinge on a few items—finding a decent, cheap place to rent, and finding an affordable car. So wish us luck that he get’s hours and I can get some OT!
How are your November goals coming along?