Friday, September 02, 2011

Steps forward and back

I canceled a credit card today.

 I had intellectually made the decision to do it a while ago, but didn't for what I thought was a practical reason. I had chopped up the card and could not find the account number, which I thought I would need. Today, a new card for the account came in the mail, so I placed the call.

I learned during the call I would not have needed the number.

On the front of the card, it told me that I had the account since the year I graduated from college. It had to be one of the first credit cards I ever got.

It was harder to pick up the phone than it should have been. I haven't used the card in months. It was the third debt I paid off, following another gas company card and some money I owed a family member. But I've kept the card around "for emergencies." Well, I have taken a long road trip, and a few shorter trips since the card was paid of and haven't "needed" the card. I have been buying fuel with cash and doing fine.

I know it's just that it was a 20-plus year habit. I've relied on credit cards for most of my fuel purchases for years. It started when I moved to California. I liked the convenience of paying at the pump when I moved to California at the self-service gas stations.

The process of closing the account may have been harder than it needed to be because, in spite of my confident recent posts, I've been slipping on my budget of late. The food budget has been blown. I've cut into my fuel/car expense budget and been eating a lot of fast food. Not as much as I once did, but I was eating fast food several days each week.

I've just been so bored, living like a hermit in my apartment, eating cheap grocery store food.

It's a good reminder of how I got in this mess in the first place. Periodically, a few times a year, I would go on spending binges, often or always when I was feeling the most financially strapped. I'd pull out a credit card and splurge on something, like a nice meal, or gifts for family or friends, or some crap that I thought I really wanted/needed but didn't.

This time has been different. While I have blown my food budget, I have financed my misbehavior with cash out of other parts of my budget.

Now, the Labor Day weekend is here, and I'm looking forward to getting out of town for a few days. It's not really a budgeted expense, but I can do it, with cash, so I'm going. I shouldn't go, but yet I need to go in the worst way. I am profoundly bored and need something resembling a life.

I still have a long ways to go and it's going to take quite a bit more time. More time than I want it to take. I'm confident I can make it. Dave Ramsey would not approve, but I'm taking a weekend and spending time with an old friend. And I will be paying with cash. So maybe Ramsey can give me a pass on that.

1 comment:

Gene said...

It's a slog. You'll get there.

The End Debt Daily paper.li