Monday, February 20, 2012

Struggling to do the right thing

I am dreaming of new toys.

I got my state tax refund and the federal refund should be arriving any day now.

I should put the money toward my debt. But I am really thinking about getting a new toy or two. Or three.

I have a new cell phone on my wish list. And my iPod battery won't hold a charge and the screen is going out.

Or maybe a new tablet of some sort would be in order, like a Kindle Fire. Maybe if I forgo all of those things I could even afford a new laptop.

Or maybe I could finally get a new camera.

So many possibilities.

I can almost justify it to myself. After all, I've got nearly 2 years of payments before I eliminate the debt completely. And the tax refund will probably only make a difference of about a month or so in the final payoff date. It's been so long since I've splurged on anything for me.

The refund is burning a hole in my bank account and it isn't even there yet.

I should pay on my debt. Should. Not sure I will though. I have been good. So good for so long. I'm not sure I can hold out until 2014.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sometimes breaking up is easy to do

Over the weekend I closed another credit card account. I had paid off the balance on the card last month and the statement I got last week confirmed a zero balance.

It feels really good to have one less bill and one less credit account. I thought about leaving it open for a while with the balance paid off. But I am no longer motivated by trying to improve my credit score. I just want out of debt -- permanently and forever.

It feels particularly good to get this account paid off because it is one of the accounts that was charging me more than 23 percent interest. But no more. And the account was easy to close too. The automated customer service line meant I just had to push a few buttons and give a few voice prompts over the phone. No person came on to give me the hard sell to try to get me to keep the account open. I wish every account I closed made it so easy to break up and say goodbye.

I opened the account almost 17 years ago when I moved to California. It was a department store account that I used to buy my first washer and dryer. Sometime later it was converted to a MasterCard account, so I could use it anywhere. That turned out to be a bad thing, because use it I did, too often and too many places. I think my last major purchase on the card was, ironically, another washer and dryer when I moved back to Oregon.

That washer and dryer are still working fine. In fact they seems to be working better than ever, now they I know they are completely paid off, along with all the other stupid, silly, irresponsible purchases I paid for on that card over the years.

Six down. Five to go. I've paid off about 38 percent of the debt I had when I started this journey in May 2010.

The next card on my hit list is the biggest interest rate bloodsucker of them all. I should be able to pay off this next account in about 8 months, if all goes according to plan. It will be a great pleasure to get that account paid off and closed.

I also got my taxes done over the weekend. This makes the second consecutive year I've done my taxes really early. I used to dread that task. Now, I couldn't wait to get them done, particularly if it means I can apply my refund to my debt. I'm impatient to get this crap over with and move on with my life.

It gets better, folks. Don't give up.

In some of my early posts on this site, I wrote a lot about the pain and aftermath of the breakup in a personal, romantic relationship. But I am not grieving the loss of these financial relationships. Sometimes, breaking up is easy to do.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Is bad news for us good news for Uncle Sam?

The latest news from the Federal Reserve is that consumers are borrowing more money again. Forgive me if I don't see indebtedness as good news. I am glad I am not one on those getting deeper in the hole.

If you have it, and want to spend it, that's fine. But don't borrow to do it. Your economy, and the nation's, will be healthier in the long run.

The following is a Storify story with the news and some reaction from the Twitterverse.

The End Debt Daily