Day 12: No Debt is Good

Main Point: Debt is dangerous.

Today’s assignment: Complete a debt reduction worksheet. Make a commitment today to list every creditor, bank, relative or friend you owe money to. The information on this list should be transferred to your Debt Dash Plan. Total the debt. This is an important exercise so that you can see just how much debt you’ve accumulated.

Take some time to reflect on your use of debt. In your journal, answer the following questions:

1. Has being in debt led you to some things you know are wrong? If so, list them.

  • Not paying bills on time
  • Going ahead and splurging on items because I thought an extra $50 in debt wouldn’t matter with my already high debt total

2. How has debt affected your life overall? For example, have you had to delay buying a home because you have massive credit card debt? Are you stressed when the mail arrives or the phone rings because of the creditor call.

I’m stressed when I can’t do simple things like cover a bill that’s higher than I expected or give to loved ones in need. I don’t want to be the one in need all the time. I want to able to bless others.

3. Is your debt burden weighing down your spirit? If so, how do you imagine life would be different if you were debt free?

This debt burden is definitely weighing on my spirit. I keep juggling between what I can ay and note pay on a regular basis. My paycheck is already spent before the direct deposit is made. I’d be able to give more and save more if I weren’t debt free. The debt is holding me back from other things, some of which I think is subconscious. If a wonderful man came into my life right now, I’d be embarrassed by my debt and I probably wouldn’t be able to hang out or contribute much to our dates. I’m broke… in more than one aspect of life.

What I wanted to buy today, but didn’t:

I wanted a sugary snack. I wanted cookies.

What was easy about today?

N/A

What was hard about today?

Spending money on even laundry and groceries. I spent about $20, and it hurt. It wasn’t budgeted. Ha. The irony.

What did I learn from today’s chapter?

This chapter reminded me of two money moments in my life:

One story is about going to the Bank of America location in Kinston. I had to be 18 because it was right before I was going off to college.

My mom and I opened a checking account for me and two lines of credit. That was 9 years ago. I don’t have nearly as much in my bank account as I’d like to. It gets depleted every 1st and 15th of the month. Also, I maxed out the smaller $500 card, paid it off, then maxed it out again. My mom took the larger credit card with the balance of $1900. I got very little explanation about interest rates, the importance of paying off the monthly balance each month. None of that.

My mom maxed out that larger card and, of course, didn’t tell me about any the purchases. So now she sends me the monthly minimum payment. It would take 10 years to pay it off if we only paid the minimum.

Also, while in college when I “needed” some clothes, I told my mom about the credit card offer at Old Navy and she encouraged me to do it to get the deal – probably because she didn’t have any cash to send me either. So then she realized it was a Visa card, so I could use it anywhere although ON was blazoned on the front of the card. So when she needed a large sum of money one time, she called me on campus and instructed me on how to go the bank to get a cash advance of $400, I think. Of course, cash advances come with a hefty interest rate. But I didn’t know that. She didn’t explain it to me, and we never made a plan to pay it back in a timely manner.

Fast forward to a few months ago. I’m 26, gainfully employed and only responsible for taking care of myself.

I couldn’t even give my baby brother $30 when he texted me, which he never does. Him reaching out had to be because of an emergency. He needed that money to pay Mom for rent. I think I had a little bit more than $130 or maybe $87 left in the bank at the time. I called my Mom and asked if she really needed the money or if she could wait to get the money from my brother.

I didn’t want to tell him or her that I didn’t have the money. Giving away $30 would have broken the bank.

The ‘big sister’ and the ‘goody two shoes daughter’, who had a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, and a well-paying job that paid more than what he and mom made combined couldn’t even afford to give away $30.

Pathetic. I was either always spending money on bills, buying crap that I didn’t need or overextending myself by paying for events or items for my new apartment. (I hadn’t even accounted for all of the bills that would come with getting a new apartment.)

Nothing was every budgeted.

Last month, I paid my ridiculously high gas bill (which may have been caused by my faulty furnace that’s getting replaced) with that ON bill. Of course, I intended to make up for it before the next billing cycle. Then I realized that I wouldn’t have enough cash to pay for other bills. It’s like a sad never ending cycle.

I paid off the minimum balance just to use the card again and increase it again.

I’m disgusted by myself and also by my mother. I didn’t live with my father, so my mom was my money role model.

Parents, I implore you to please talk about money with your kids AND actually show them how to be good stewards. The showing is most important. I wish my mother would have been honest about her money situation and stopped catering to my siblings and me at every chance. When she told me that she wasn’t going to buy a prom dress my senior year, I remember thinking it sucked a bit, but I understood. I wore the dress I rocked during the Kinston Junior Miss pageant the previous year, and I survived.

She could have told me “No” and herself “No” so many times. Why didn’t she?

Now, I have to tell myself to “No” in order to climb out of this debt pit.

I hate feeling like this. Just hate it. I need to buckle down and get this under control now. I sincerely want to get this monkey off my back and pass on good money sense to my future children.

God, grant me the strength and resolve to kick bad money habits.

What I was feeling today about my finances?

I’m feeling meh. I’m excited about paying off two small debts, but I just want to make sure I’m doing the right thing.

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