Tuesday, May 1, 2012

debt is a four letter word

I pride myself on having a decently well rounded vocabulary.  My husband absolutely refuses to play word games with me, like Scrabble or Words With Friends, because he claims that merely using my brain is cheating.

I like words.  I use them often enough as I literally never shut up, even in my sleep I talk.

As a result, I find I wear words out if I don't adapt and utilize new ones.

I am also not shy about words, I can make sailors blush with my vulgarity under the right circumstances.

But the dirtiest of all the words I know is four letters and starts with a D.  And it does not reference the male anatomy.


Fo sho this is a dirty word and an even dirtier concept.  I have had a bit of a thinking revolution lately when it comes to money.  The process of going to one primary income made me get cheap like a two bit hooker but with more class, at least marginally so.  While I can clip coupons, rock that dollar store and create "ghetto" versions of frequently used products the financial revolution in our house has encompassed more than that.

One of my all out favoritest of favorite blogs on financial doings is MoneySavingMom.  I eagerly read most of the posts there furiously hoping to absorb anything and everything useful that I can.  It has proven useful, though I have found that internet osmosis and furious hoping do not a savvy shopper and organized home CEO make.  In my efforts to delve deeper into financial security, independence and confidence I eagerly purchased MoneySavingMom Crystal Paine's book when it came out.

I have read it twice.


It is highlighted and has notes and dogeared pages and I am trying very very hard to put into practice much of what I have read because if nothing else, it makes sense.  I took economy class in high school, but quite honestly if they actually discussed personal finances and stuff that comes with it I totally tuned it out.  While I am not a total fiscal moron I did previously approach financial decisions with the attitude that I was not an adult capable of making decisions regarding my own money.  Financial stuff just made me anxious because I handled it like there was some sort of huge mystery involved.  For example, I'd log on to my account via my bank's website and be holding my breath hoping that there would be money there.  Now really, think about how flamboyantly stupid that is.  What was I worried about, money gremlins sneaking into the vault (I totally picture Scrooge McDuck's coin pool here) and making off with my paycheck?  I must have.  Revamping my thinking and removing this ridiculous notion of "mystery" from my fiscal thinking was the first step in the revolution.

Well here we are about 50 more steps down the line and the husband and I are fully committed to eliminating our debt.  Specifically credit card debt, then vehicular debt, then probably my student loan debt.  We chose this order based on what felt most manageable and most stifling to us now.  The credit card debt was certainly that.  It hurt our credit scores, was stupid to have, and made both of us feel sick to our stomachs.  The most ridiculous part of all of it was that all of the credit debt we had was well over 2 years old.  We don't use credit cards.  We did, and then have paid minimums on them for-ev-er.  Apart from being stupendously stupid for doing this, it also has cost us more money than I would ever like to calculate.

So when we finally got a tax refund  after three years of not (We had the world's shittiest tax guy, and took a while to figure out he was the problem.  Post in and of itself and it would certainly capitalize on the aforementioned sailor-blush-inducing-language.) we applied 100% of that refund to debt.

Three debts are completely gone, leaving us two to go.

I must say, it feels quite good.

With those three "gone" now the payments we were making on them are being paid on the next credit card of focus, and if the debt calculator I found online is right, we will have this baby killed in under a year from now.

While I know this is do-able, I still hold my breath because it seems like such a big thing to hope for.  We are committed to it, and my hope is that by posting it here (even if it is anonymously done) I will add a level of accountability to our behavior.  We have eliminated a lot of the unnecessary crap that was costing us and are now quite able to do this, even with our little projects we already have going and have planned.

So, yay us!  Here's hoping we can meet these goals and eliminate at least one four letter word from our vocabulary!

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