Monday, 19 September 2016
In August, we did the final payoff of one credit card. September marks the beginning of the snowball payoff of the second credit card.
Now, we have offers coming in for 0% financing for any balance transfers from the card we just paid off, as well as others. It feels like we should do a balance transfer to save money in interest, but we have decided not to go there. The seduction of zero percent could lead us back to that scary path of acquiring more debt.
Why? Our underlying fear is that we could start the debt cycle once more. Keeping that paid-off bill at zero is the most important thing at the moment, not the money saved by a 0% interest rate. Breaking the addiction to spending and irresponsibility with money is the point. It would be easy to rest on our laurels with the accomplishment of paying off one credit card, and think otherwise, but this really is more of a test than I think we ever realized. Like many others, we have paid off credit cards, and then promptly run them back up. This time around, we are determined not to let that happen.
Spending money is a high for a lot of people. It is also an emotional crutch, a way to hide pain. There is actually a society called Debtors Anonymous which addresses these problems, much as AA does alcoholism. Lauren Greutman has a recently published book on the subject of spending. Like she says in her book, polite people do not discuss sex, religion or money in public . . . but now all is discussed except money. For many of us, money is a forbidden subject and continues to be so.
Money is so often a thing of mystery, emotion, guilt, inadequacy, and fear. The DH feels inadequate about handling money. Only after 25 years of marriage did I learn this. I feel guilty because I was always interested in money, but it was a secret in my family, and questions were sternly turned away. Money was a volatile and dangerous topic. We both have this feeling that talking about money is just plain wrong. I don’t think either of us got any education in money and handling it, only guilt trips. Guilt keeps people silent, and I know it kept us silent for a long, long time. Breaking that silence is what has put us on this path.
We still have a long way to go. Yes, we have hit a milestone, for which we are justifiably proud, but that is only one marker on the way. What we continue to do is what is important. Challenges do lie ahead, and they will test us, but I also think we have the experience to know we can succeed, so we will continue to strive for financial success.
Our spending habits have been with us for years, so it will take time for our not-spending habits to become more a part of who we are as individuals, and as a couple.
Each day is a challenge; some days we fall, some days we fly!