Losing my steam (long)

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Losing my steam (long)
7
Tue, 07-01-2003 - 8:18pm
I am an irregular poster here, but read pretty much every day. I'm a single mom to one almost 5 year old boy (who is spending most of the summer with parents). I'm enjoying the rest, although I do miss him terribly. Anyway, I have major debt probably one the highest on the board. This New Year's I resolved (again) to finally kick the debt habit. After 15 years, I think it was probably time. At that time I had slightly more than $39,000 in credit card debt alone. It's hard to believe that I let it go that far. It's amazing what ignorance will do.

At the beginning of the year I was so gung ho. I tracked all of my spending, paid all of my bills, started saving and setting aside for irregular expenses, giving money to church. Everything in the Mary Hunt plan. I was reading 1-2 financial books each month and knew I could win this battle. Fast forward 6 months the savings and money for irregular expenses is gone (not on frivilous expenses but gone nonetheless), I haven't tracked expenses, have been spending way too much, have not given to church. I am so unhappy with myself. I just got paid today for the month and am broke again. I swear I'm just a pass through of money.

On the bright side, I haven't charged a penny and have paid off about $3500. Although I'm happy with that, I have so far to go. I have wanted to charge so many times. The only thing that's prevented me is knowing what I've paid off and how long it would take to pay again if I run up balances. It's amazing what tricks the mind will play on you. I went to Staples (office supply store) a few weeks ago to buy ink for my printer (a necessary expense since I work from home sometimes and was writing a report). I'm in the store and then start looking at printers. I almost convinced myself that it made more sense to buy a 3 in 1 printer, scanner, fax than to just buy the darn ink. No wonder I'm in debt. At least now I can recognize my destructive patterns before I give into them.

I have no idea what the point of this post is. I just need to get this off my chest. I did get a kick in the pants last week though. I got my first credit card 15 years ago about 2 seconds after I started college. The card is with citibank. In that 15 years I have never been late or gone over the limit. In fact, I'm the kind of person credit card companies love (unfortunately). I get a notice last week that they are raising my rate to 19.99 fixed from 11.24 variable. This turns out to be a 77% increase. The informed debtor that I am, of course I was furious as I read the fine print. Fortunately, I can decline the change and pay off the balance under my current terms (which should include a slight decline in interest because of the recent lowering of interest rates). My account will be closed at the end of January. Oh well. I was a bit sad thinking that I would lose my first credit card. Talk about twisted thinking.

I guess I've rambled enough. I just need prayers and positive thoughts to keep me from royally messing up the little bit of progress I've made. Thanks if you read this far.

Avatar for cl_phocid
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 12:30am
Momtochris - I'm sorry you're going through a rough patch. Please know that you're not alone and that the pattern you're describing is *totally normal*. I think all of us struggle to find a balance somewhere in the middle of gung ho and giving up. Rather than trying to go back to how you were at the beginning of the year, maybe try adding back one behaviour that you've given up? And once you're comfortable with that added behavior - maybe add another one?

I'm glad to see that you're reading even if not posting - hopefully we're all able to help each other by sharing our daily struggles and successes.

Be well!

All my best,

Danni

All my best,
Danni

Avatar for zaboz
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 8:37am
You haven't charged a penny and you've paid off $3500?!?!

That's incredible. I think you're being too hard on yourself.

I think almost everyone who attempts something like this

will stumble from time to time. You just have to get back on your horse.

You said your savings is gone.

That's ok. Obviously things came up where you needed it.

Otherwise you would have been charging. So there's nothing

wrong with using it if you need it.

Start to rebuild even if it's very slowly.

You WILL get there. Look at how far you've come and how much

you've learned. You're unstoppable now!

It's ok to get off track. It happens to all of us.

The important thing is to pat yourself on the back for what you

HAVE accomplished and get back in there. You can do it!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 9:33am
Thanks for your support. Intellectually, I know that I have made progress. But sometimes it just feels like draining the ocean a spoonful at a time. What has helped me is really focusing on the amount I've paid off for each account. This helps me see that I've made some progress and more importantly to really understand how much another $100 or so charge really costs. I used to think, 'What difference is another $100 going to make?'. Through this process, I see what a difference it does makes. Unless you're making big payments or have a low interest rate, it takes quite a while to pay off $100 in principal. Monitoring my progress month by month makes this painfully clear. Ignorance of the true state of my finances is what got me into the position I am. I figured that as long as I could make the payments I was OK. I couldn't have been more wrong.

But I'll keep moving forward bad moods and all.

Momtochris

Avatar for mquin73
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 10:15am
I so completely understand! Dh and I have cc debt of $35,000 - $36,000 alone. Of course that doesn't include our home and auto loan. It's very frustrating at times that I'm not able to get what I want or to do what I really want which is to quit working and be able to stay home with the kids and pursue other things. I'm getting really bored with my job and daydream almost every day of what I could be doing if it wasn't for our debt.

Like you almost buying the fax/printer/copier the other day I almost purchased clothes for the kids that were on clearance at Kohls.com. I put them all in my basket and everything, and then I kept telling myself "Don't do it!" "It will only add to your debt!". lol

I think you have done a great job so far, paying off $3500 of debt! I think that's awesome! Keep up the good work! And like another poster said I'm sure whatever you used your savings for was needed. At least you didn't add to anymore debt, so that's a big accomplishment right there.

Take care and keep posting. It really helps us all.

Michelle


signature 2008

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-26-1999
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 12:20pm
I just wanted you to know that this post about how much $100 takes to pay off of the principal of a loan/cc debt helped me. I always think oh, it's just $100...but I hadn't thought of it as added to the debt...which is why I'm still in debt, obviously. Thanks, I've got a new way of thinking, so hopefully it will really, really force me to stop charging, which I am doing only on rare occassions, but it is still what is doing me in in terms of how long it will take to pay off debt.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 1:29pm
Glad to know I could help. I'm convinced that changing our way of thinking about debt is the key to getting out. The "it doesn't really matter" way of thinking keeps us trapped. Every penny matters. I have to tell myself this over an over again.

Momtochris

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 5:21pm
Hi there,

Boy can I relate to you! I have $60,000 in credit card debt and swore when it hit 30,000 that I'd reform! I do reform for awhile and then just throw up my hands! It's such a long haul! I am back to following the plan and am refinancing my mortgage and paying off 40,000 of the debt, however this isn't the first refinance either but maybe I've learned this time. It just seems every time I go out the door I need to spend $ on something and trust me I am trying to conserve. What is it with me? I check in the Debtor's Anon chat as well as this one to try to hold on. The only thing that helps is to do one day at a time-when I lose sight of that I go down the tubes! Listen I'll hang in there if you will!