actually, i’m pretty sure it is your fault.

28 10 2010

so i’ve been hearing these commercials on my morning radio show where some dude starts yelling off a list of horrible financial woes:

debt collectors knocking down your door?
up to your eyeballs in credit card debt?
thinking that bankruptcy is your only option?

but then he brings it down just a notch to let you know:

IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.

sure, people hit hard times. medical bills, lost jobs, some other things that i can’t think of right now… but the majority of people that i know who are financial wrecks (myself absolutely included) are that way because they made poor choices. it fills me with rage to hear the debt consolidation/credit counseling agencies preying on people’s need to be in denial about the reality of their financial situations. nobody wants to take responsibility for fucking up, but if you ask anyone in a 12 step program, admitting that you’re a fucking mess is the only way to make it better. so fuck you debt consolidation agency. IT IS MY FAULT- and here’s why:

1. i don’t pay attention to what i spend. i put my credit cards in the freezer over a year ago, which is a distinct improvement, but my debit card is with me all the time. i go out to eat constantly, buy crap on a whim (can you say series of 4 horse paintings?), overspend at the grocery store (i was in the whole foods for 5 minutes yesterday and still managed to spend $14). even thought i’m not creating any new debt, i’m not giving the money that i have the reverence it deserves- i just keep unceremoniously shoving it out the door.

2. which brings us to admission #2-  i don’t save enough. probably because i’m spending all my fucking money on nothing. for the most part, the really bad debt disasters happen when people are spending up to the hilt of their income and don’t have a cushion saved up for emergencies. then, the first time that shit goes really wrong, they bust out the credit cards. like i did. repeatedly. from the ages of 18-30.

3. even though my 2 cards are in deep freeze at the moment, they got in there in the first place because spent the first 10 years of my adult life spending beyond my means. i wanted to have grown up clothes, i wanted to buy people decent xmas presents for a change, i wanted to find out what it felt like for money to be no object. except that it is an object, a very big object with an 19% APR. too bad i don’t pay more than the minimum on my cards every month. it’s good that i’m not racking up new debt, but if i can’t control my cash flow enough to afford to make bigger payments on my credit card, then i’m never going to get out from under it.

maybe it’s because i just watched confessions of a shopaholic AND maid to order back to back, but i’m sudden feeling possessed to try to make some greater changes in my life. i’ve made progress from where i was, but i’m stalled out. i still have $13,000 worth of credit card debt, and i’d really like it to be gone by the time i’m 35 (that’s T-minus 2 years and counting). maybe i hate dave ramsey because i know that he’s right about making severe lifestyle cuts in order to cut my debt… actually, it’s probably the religious thing, but i am definitely in denial about the fact that real debt reduction does require some sacrifice. now, i’m not going to go all crazy and start making drastic lifestyle changes (eat out less? stop shopping? start buying produce at walmart?) or anything… but i am going to admit that what i’m doing now is definitely not working.

step one down… 11 more to go.

what is the one habit/addiction that you SHOULD cut out of your life for financial reasons, but just can’t seem to let go?





i hate dave ramsey.

6 07 2010

which i’m pretty sure qualifies me for first class tickets to financial hell… but i don’t care. i find him intensely irritating, and also that his financial advice is in many ways oversimplified and somewhat patronizing. first and foremost:

“live like no one else so that you can live like no one else.”

i get that it makes sense to live leanly in the now so that you can have a better debt free life later on… but he makes it seem like you’re going to be able to winter in morocco or send your kids to boarding school if you can just pay off your debt. yes, i will be able to afford more once my bills are paid, but not that much more. doesn’t good ole dave realize that most people don’t make that much money?  a debt free life is absolutely better, but it isn’t necessarily the path to the upper middle classhood that seems so enticing. sorry dave, some people can only tighten their belts so much before things start to get RIDICULOUS.  i recently read a “we did it” account where the person was so excited to be out of debt because now she could feed her child hot dogs ON BUNS (just like on tv!) instead of naked hot dogs. um… lady, if you’re feeding your toddler on a steady diet of hot dogs in order to save cash- you’ve got some bigger problems.

I also have a really hard time with the overt religious overtones. basically, i don’t give a shit how much the snowball method could change my life, if all of your converts are praising the lord in tandem with praising you. it’s alienating for those of us who don’t put the “kingdom first”. basically, as soon as somebody drops the J-bomb, i’m outta there. (sorry jesus, nothing personal!).

but then there were puppies. yes, puppies (see adorableness above). the boyfriend and i have decided to invite a dog into the relationship, and are realizing that it’s gonna be stupid expensive. shots! crates! puppy playgroups! fancy kibble! and a bunch more stuff we don’t even know about yet. plus, the cost of the dog itself. but we don’t care because hello- PUPPIES!! (are you looking at these guys?). but, we have to care because it’s money. thus, i’ve decided to put my irritation aside (although i’ll still be trying to sidestep the jesusy bits), and give the ole dave ramsey patented rice and beans financial diet a try in attempt to save some extra cash this month for the impending puppiness. here are the rules:

1. $80 will be withdrawn on each sunday morning. $30 will be for groceries, $50 will be for spending money/incidentals during the week.

2. all cash remaining at the end of the week will be placed into a repository (TBD) to be evaluated at the conclusion of the month.

3. bills will be paid as usual, but the debit card will only be carried on sundays at the time of the withdrawal.

4. a several times weekly journal will chronicle my financial misadventures trying to live low on the hog.

maybe this doesn’t seem crazy or “beans & rice” level at all, but being a girl that goes out to eat at least half of her meals per week (and has been known to drop upwards of $60 on a single meal), and spends at least $30 a week on flea market bargains and target endcaps… it’s a sacrifice- i promise. will i be able to keep up my current lifestyle under the financial tyranny of dave ramsey? probably not, but you can enjoy watching me struggle! it’s time for me to remember how it really is to be broke. how little could you live on?