Tuesday, October 30, 2007

On the Road to Obsession

I have a rather obsessive-compulsive nature. I'm sure it's related to my need to control what things I can control since there are so many things I can't. This behavior gets worse when I've experienced some kind of trauma. When a boyfriend was killed, it kicked into overdrive. When The Boy and I broke up a few years ago, again, my need for organization went off the charts.

So I'm very aware of this ... issue with my nature. And because of this, I'm not surprised that my recent focus on addressing my debt and general financial situation has become somewhat an obsession. First thing in the morning, I hop online and check my checking account. Further, even though I know that there have been no changes, I check my savings accounts and/or my credit card accounts.

And last night, I dreamed about my finances. I had all this money and I couldn't keep up with things. I had all this money to put toward my credit cards, but for the life of me, I couldn't get my sh*t together to make payments. I was overwhelmed by the amount of money I had and couldn't make a decision on how to distribute it. And as a result, I didn't pay anything.

Yeah, I'm dreaming about my finances. This isn't good.

As often happens in my life, I came across something very timely the other night when I most needed it. I was searching for other debt blogs and came across this young woman's blog entry addressing the unhealthiness of obsessing about money matters -- really, about obsessing over anything. It's a holistic approach to living life, and boy oh boy did I need to read this. And read it again.

So, to address what is becoming an obsession, I have to give myself another challenge. In addition to my challenge not to buy clothes or shoes for the next month, I am going to try to go a week without checking my bank accounts. I may have to check my checking account at the end of the week, though, because the balance has gotten pretty low and I need to make sure I'm not overdrawn. But no checking the savings accounts or the credit card accounts. Not for a week.

It will be very hard for me. I mean, I check my checking account several times a day. But I'm expending much too much energy on this. It's gotta stop, and today is the day.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hmmm ... Interesting

So, there seems to be a trick to paying down credit card debt. Apparently by making biweekly payments instead of the one monthly payment, one can significantly cut down debt and save in finance charges.

It makes perfect sense, and really, I don't know why I haven't realized this sooner. But I do now and I plan to put it in action effective next month and will do for both cards. I'll set it up automatically, like my savings deposit, and keep watch of the balances.

My goal is three years to knock out every cent. Let the games begin!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Successful Weekend

Just thought I'd check in so that I could report that I survived the wedding weekend without spending any extra money. Woohoo! The celebration included a welcome reception with a full buffet, a wedding reception with heavy hors d'oeuvres and a seated dinner, and a brunch with a full breakfast.

I paid for the hotel with my debit card so no debt there.

And though I did charge forty bucks for a pair of shoes for a friend, he's already paid me back and he followed my instruction to make the check to my credit card company so that I would have no excuse to cash it and spend it myself.

I love it when I behave. :-)

I felt so good after I returned that I've decided to try another month-long challenge. No clothes and no shoes -- really, no purchases of any unneeded items -- for a month. I've recruited a friend to join me so I have extra support.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Minor Change in Plans

I can't remember what exactly it was -- maybe an MSNBC article? -- but I read something recently about finance charges. It prompted me to reconsider my debt repayment plan, the one in which I was going to first pay off the Little Beast and then work on the Big Beast. But, I don't know, the Big Beast is just so ... big, that I thought it may be in my better financial interest to pay that one down considerably first so that the finance charges will decrease.

Yes, I know this means that I will not have the Little Beast paid off by June 2008. And yes, this fact sucks. But the finance charges on the Big Beast are so staggeringly high. I'll feel better about getting that balance knocked down significantly. And maybe I'll get it down so much that I'll have room to consolidate them at a lower rate.

The payments for the Little Beast will continue, and at almost twice the minimum due, so progress will be made. Just not quite as quickly as I'd hoped. But with the new plan, my next payment will definitely knock the Big Beast's balance to below $17K. That's good news, yes?

So ... that's where we are now. Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Purge Continues

I bought a curling iron yesterday. I don't know why; I'm nervous about using heat implements on my hair. While I am bored with my hair, frying it isn't the answer. So I'm returning the iron tomorrow on my way to work.

The good thing is that I didn't charge it. At least that's something.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Shopping Bulimia

So ... remember that black cashmere cardigan purchase that I justified? Well, I'm sending it back. Tomorrow. I have only to swing it by the FedEx Kinko's to drop it off.

Why am I sending it back, you ask? Well, I realized this morning that my inability to face my purchase -- I had been hiding the box in a separate closet -- was probably a sign that I shouldn't have bought it in the first place. Oh -- the tummy ache I got when I saw the box this morning was another pretty strong indication.

So, I'm sending it back. And while I won't get the full amount back (shipping is nonrefundable), at least $110 will get credited back on my credit card. This is a good thing.

The fact of the matter is that I never should've ordered the damn thing in the first place. But I can't stop trying to fill this void I have in myself. I don't know what makes me think that buying various items is the cure. It's not.

It's so not.

Anyway, I have to be better about recognizing this behavior and keeping it in check before I spend the money.

Good night.

Friday, October 5, 2007

At Least the Savings Are Going Up

I figured I'd check in, update the balances. I did the savings and it's just over four grand. It should be up to five by the end of the year. Unless, of course, I go to Vegas with friends and need to take money out for airfare and the hotel. But since I haven't heard any mention of the Vegas trip, I'm assuming that isn't going to happen. At any rate, if it does happen, I'll use my savings, not my credit card.

Speaking of charging ... the balance is only slightly lower than it was the last time I checked in. It's officially $19,774.47. F*ck! I keep thinking I'm making a dent, but then when I do the math, no dent. Barely even a scratch.

The good news is that starting this month, it should start decreasing more rapidly. I'm going to start putting the chunk that used to go toward the car payment on the Little Beast. I want that one balance paid off by June. I really want it paid off. By June 1. No excuses.

Are my mattresses that bad? No, not really. They're bad but not so bad that I can't sleep on them. The springs aren't stabbing me (yet) so that means they're OK. I really don't need to spend $1,000 on new bedding (and I'm including sheets, mattress pad, and the lot). I didn't freeze to death last winter so I can obviously get through another winter without a bed warmer. It won't be comfortable, no, but I won't die, either.

OK, I'm rambling. Babbling about the same stuff, so I'll close. Ciao.