Monday, August 20, 2012

If I had a nickel...

I need to start construction of a giant safe..
Over the past couple/few years I've been working on paying down my debt, Dave Ramsey style.  I am fortunate enough to receive a paycheck that has allowed me to make some significant strides toward being revolving debt free, and I'm sure if I pinched more pennies a little harder I'd be much further along on the journey than I am, but I like to live a little and now make money and the relative lack of it as huge deal.

Anyhow.  Let's not let my lack of stringency get in the way of what I see as some very good news indeed, which is that I am now only 2 payments away from paying off one card completely, and have paid down about 1/3rd of the other card.

'Gee,' some of you with little to no debt might be thinking, 'Just how bad WAS it?' One word?  Bad.  Two words, VERY bad.  The card I'm paying off had over $10K on it 3 years ago, and the other card had far more than that. The debt piled up because 1)  I have a GREAT credit score so the allowable balances were sky-high (and I was too stupid to tell the banks 'no thank you') 2) I'd financed 2 moves including 3) the furnishing of a couple of HOMES on those cards, plus did things like 4) oh to HELL with it, I need this thing, and 5) vowing I'd pay it back 'later, when I had money.'

Well, 'later' started almost 3 years ago, and I've not looked back.

Slowly, very slowly, the albatross is being removed from my neck.  I no longer wake up in a sweat about money, how much I don't have, how that next bill is going to be paid.  I've not used a credit card in 2+ years, and know on a daily basis what my approximate balance is and where that money should be going.  It's not always simple, and sometimes I have to borrow from the slush fund (my savings) to make all the 'out' match the 'in,' but then the next paycheck comes and I pay myself back what I took out, hopefully plus a little.

I'm still afraid to look at my credit score, though.  It went from sky-high to Grade F in a few years, I'm sure.  Let's just say there are few if any creditors sending me offers for their cards, and there's not a single bank out there contacting me with their low-low car loan rates anymore like they were doing a number of years ago.  Those days are gone, I suspect not just me but for all of us.  All that 'free money' wrecked my credit score, and it's been an experience well worth the effort to try to get out from under.

Like I said, I'm very fortunate to have a good job that pays well, and I'm grateful every day for that.  I want to be a better steward of what's been afforded me, and once those bills are paid off and I've built up the 6 months' savings that is recommended, I will be able to use my money in ways I've never dreamed of.  It will be a different way to live, but by this time next year I expect to be out from under the credit card debt and well on my way to finding out what it feels like to be 1500 (or so) dollars 'richer' every month.

You know, just in time for Thing 1 to start college...

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