Archive for May, 2009

attacking the debt monster

Posted in money, Society with tags , , on May 15, 2009 by wkct

I was reading some message boards about persistence and debt repayment.  This is what I did over the last thirteen months:

First, I took a day off from work and called every credit card company.  I confirmed the amount of the debt and got online access to my account.

I put the online access information into my password book and made a spreadsheet to track all my cards and loans.

Next, I started cutting costs.  I didn’t buy things, I cut back.  I started shopping more wisely at the supermarket.  I went from going to the movies, to Blockbuster to Redbox and DVDxpress to waiting for movies to come out on cable.  I saved a dollar here, a dollar there. I questioned every expense.  It has to have some great value, or make some kind of sense. I drove my electric bill down.

I targeted certain credit cards to pay in full.  I picked the two smallest balances first.  It felt great.  I reduced the number of bills coming in so I would lower the chances of accidentally defaulting. Then I started targeting cards based on the interest rate.

I then made a spreadsheet to replace my check register.  I kept nearly daily tabs on my account.  I stopped overdrafting and immediately started saving hundreds a month.

I pushed for overtime and then worked it.  Some money went for car repair, some for food, some for debt. We didn’t have enough money to pay all of our bills each month, so I cut back further.  I was lucky enough to get about ten thousand dollars in back wages.  I never saw it.  I paid out two credit cards.

I read about how to save money, and the best way to pay down debt.  I was doing it all. I got my tax refund and sent it immediately to my debt. I took back cans for money, pick change off the ground, saved coins, and paid for everything in cash.  I shrunk my debt in thirteen months from maybe 52 thousand to 37 thousand.

I quit smoking – repeatedly. Even those failures gave me some breathing room and put about fifteen hundred dollars into my pocket. I have more plans.  I use all sorts of methods; the snowball, the snowflake, and targeting balances based on balance size, interest size, or how likely the credit card company is to screw me in the future.  I suspect that I’ll pay down about six thousand more dollars in the next ten months.  It’s take that long because this is the first time in ten years I’ll have money for summer activities and for Christmas.  I searched the web about credit cards and FICO scores.  I decided to repair my credit. My credit took quite a hit from carrying all that debt.

After my next tax refund, I’ll come up with a new plan.  As soon as the smoke clears, I’ll decide what to pay next and in what order.

I must say, it was quite a struggle but I’m glad for it.  I realized how little possessions mean, how important health and time are, and how important… really important… having money is.

The biggest change was overcoming my problems with money and debt.  I shook away all the fears and shame my parents installed in my, looked honestly at the debt, and grabbed it by the horns. I didn’t let the fact that I fucked up for so many years depress me and make me look the other day, letting the debt and bad spending habits mount. I was sinking in red.  I bellied up to it and handled it.

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becoming unhinged

Posted in addictions, quitting smoking with tags , , , , on May 10, 2009 by wkct
Now I know why all mental patients smoke like fiends.  Smoking keeps back the darkness.
 
Even with the Nicorette gum, I’m jittery, anxious, tired and nervous.  I can’t really relax.  Really relaxing involves lighting up, sucking in that cool Carolina flavor and feeling my chest expand with smoke.  Now, that’s relaxing.
 
Drinking water, staying busy, and chewing nicotine-laced gum in almost the opposite of relaxing. It’s like climbing oil coated stairs. When I take a deep breath, there’s only air, and I feel like – oddly enough – I can’t breath.
 
For over a quarter of a century my little tubular friends helped me hold back the darkness. Hell, they did all the work, all I had to do was inhale. How does anyone get through the day without twenty or thirty cigarettes???
 
I feel like I’m dying, though the exact opposite is happening; my lungs are starting to clear a bit and I have a little bit – and I mean just an iota – more of stamina.
 
I’m depressed and I’m starting to see things out of the corner of my eyes.  Could cigarettes have been keeping me from developing psychosis?  Is is just I haven’t pulled my hair back for two days and I’m see strands of hair?  I guess we’ll know in a few weeks when I’m either starting my new health(ier) life or I’m strapped down to a gurney in a psych ward, listening to other patients scream about bugs.
 
Nothing’s making me feel better. I’ve done a bunch of chores but nothing gives me a sense of accomplishment because there’s no smoke reward. Even internet pornography isn’t helping, though I bravely gave it a try.  I don’t know if actual physical contact with a living woman would even help at this point.
 
This is A DAY AND A HALF of quitting! What about a week and a half, a month and a half??
 
Since I went off the Chantix I’ve quit for a day or two here and there, but this is the worse.  Maybe I’m motivated to quit so I know that there’s no cheating in the future. I think this is my last chance.  Shit, just writing that made my heart race. I hate this, though I’m glad to be free of giving my money away to the pump jockey at the gas station, and not having to stand on my porch like a dumbass,  looking at the muddy, spotty grass.
 
This is terrible.
 
 

and then there was nothing….

Posted in addictions, bullies, quitting smoking failure, smoking, Society with tags , , , , on May 5, 2009 by wkct

I haven’t posted for a while because nothing was really happening. I gave up quitting for a bit.

I also was enmeshed in some work problems. I won’t blog about my company, but I will say that there was a lot of maneuvering about the bully that runs our department. The end result of all the psychodrama is that I decided not to pick a fight.  I have too long to go for retirement.

I found this interesting article that stated what I already knew: my terribly quick wit is a response to my natural tendency to being depressed.