Sunday, March 29, 2009

Burden lifting.

I avoid my credit card statements like the plague. As soon as I get my little envelope from Golden 1 Credit Union, I usually tear it into a thousand pieces and throw it away. Don't worry -- I don't ignore the fact that I have a credit card and for that matter, credit card debt, but I definitely feel much more at ease with the situation by checking online. Something about seeing it online instead of in black and white print makes it that much less scary . . .

Internet banking and bill paying has become such a commodity in life. Even with the busiest schedule, I always squeezed in a few minutes here and there to check statements on my credit cards and make payments from my checking account to the credit card.

Today was a big day for me: I opened my statement. In the last couple of months, I have been making substantial payments to cover the balance. An immediate and entirely too ignorant sucker to the "buy now, pay later" idea behind credit cards, I got mine after my sophomore year of college. Within a year, I had charged, charged, charged and came dangerously close to my limit (we're talking within just a mere few dollars). It's been EXTREMELY hard to get myself out from under this pile when I haven't had the opportunity to generate enough income to do it until the last few months.

As I said, I've been paying much more substantial amounts than just my minimum balance and today, I realized that as of next month, I will be out of debt.

My shoulders feel light, my heart feels less tense and my general mood lifted so much when I realized this. I don't think I ever gave enough credit to how much money issues make a difference. I haven't been living outside of my means, but now that I'm living at home and don't have to worry about PG&E bills, rent, etc., I have been able to focus on learning about frugality and money management.

Frugality has been a recent development. Growing up, our family wasn't exactly affluent. We were really poor when I was young and over the years my parents have worked their way up and have built a much more comfortable life. My parents never gave allowance when we were kids, mostly because they felt that if there was something we really needed/wanted, they could find a way to make it happen. After I started working, though, my money was my own to do whatever I wanted with it. I never learned the value of saving and spending responsibly early, so I've learned some hard lessons about finances over the years.

Needless to say, I am elated to be seeing genuine progress and improvement in my habits with money, as well as my shrinking debt. :o)

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