Saturday, January 3, 2009

2009 , the year of repayment

Happy New Year. This is going to be a blitz of thoughts that have accumulated over the past days. I'm just releasing the pressure valve now.
2008 was a year of awakening for me. of realizing that I was well well over my head in debt and the strong desire to be debt free. The start of changes in my way of looking at life in order to spend less but live more.
A saving in transportation for my daughters has brought me closer to them as we now talk more while I drive them to school.
A reduced spending in fuel meant better user of my car to make all of it last longer.
My friend saying no to loaning me money turned out to be him being part in getting the second job i'm working now. I would've liked the money but I prefer to earn it and owe money to no one. He's one of my saving angels. I wouldn't have known it back when were were college classmates programming together and giving him a ride back home every day in the car I still drive today.
Less christmas spending attempts were damaged by my wife. The spending records show that she's the mayor contributor to the money going out the door. Cold hard facts I have to face and that she refuses to face. She wants to help me as long as she can keep doing the same things she has done all this time. At least I know where the problems areas are and who is helping and who is not.  
No christmas gifts this year. I bought the girls a game of UNO thanks to tips from the readers. Unfortunately it has become the passion of my youngest daughter and she want to play it incesantly. An average game of uno with her lasts about 30 minutes! At least some days we all do play together.
I bought shoes, jeans and shirts for the girls. One pair of shoes for my wife ($15) and a pair of pants for me ($6) and I enjoyed teaching my family by example. I gave gifts to no one but my secret santa friend at work. I received some gifts from companies we work with in my job. Some of those I turned around and gave to my mom and to some friends. Some , like the pork leg given to me by the company I gave to the maid for her to enjoy with her family. She's going to leave soon but we want to stay in friendly terms.
I didn't get many material things but today January 2nd I feel better than those years when I bought stuff with money I didn't have. No buyer's remorse this year.
I had to say "no" several times when my daughters wanted to buy something more, usually coaxed by their mother. It broke my heart to say it but each time I did I learned that they can hear no and still love me. They just kissed me good night and hugged me and didn't do it different just because they didn't get toys or more clothes. It's not easier to say no, but I know their world won't end if I say no.
Wife now calls me cheap, and I say "thank you!". I've learned to enjoy not buying something and doing something else to reach the same goal. I'm starting to be more creative and remember places , and prices!
2009 is here now. I hope this second job I have will last long enough to help me pay all the money I owe or at least a big chunk of it. It if wasn't for the interest rates I would be able to pay it all in 12 to 18 months but it's not so it will take longer.
I sent my bill for the last "quincena" of December. $1052 was the total. I worked christmas' eve, christmas, new year's eve and new year's day. The day I worked the most was new year's eve , a total of 9.25 hours that day and I didn't work in the morning because I took my wife's car to get the brakes fixed. I love that job. It's like they are paying me for stuff I would do for free just to play with so many computers. The only problem is that my girls and wife obviously want me to spend time with them. That's a balance act i'm still trying to learn to do well.
From this payment, money will go to getting me back on schedule of my scheduled payments, about $450 for one and $250 for the other, it's actually a little less. Will take $100 to replace money that I spent on car repairs from my emergerncy fund. The rest will go to pay debt on the card with the lowest balance.
If you are debt free, please stay that way! Send me your tips and suggestions. I've taken many and they've been helpful.
If you have debt, don't get more! Use your credit cards wisely. The simplest way to use them wisely is not to use them at all. Debit cards are much better. If you can't afford it, you probably can live without it. Write to me about your struggle, let me know about it. It helps to write. It really does.
If you are worried about debt, join the club! You are not alone. There are several of us trying get from under the pile of debt. It's easier for those with no family to care for or to spend time with but it's not my situation. If you are in debt and want to get out of it, then start by writing about it. I know it has helped me a lot to face the facts and stop kidding myself or at least know that sometimes I am kidding myself and no one else.
I wish you all a good 2009. Economically it doesn't look good either here or in the US but let's just hang in there. It's going to be an interesting ride.
Well, at least this blog is free, I hope it stays free in 2009.


Cindy in California said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cindy in California said...

I guess I couldn't edit so I deleted and reposted:

You are doing so well and you seems to put it into words so well!!! I really think that blogging about your situation is a good idea and indeed a "pressure valve". We're here to help you release your pressure and cheer you on!

I hope that at some point your wife gets on board. In the meantime, you need to hold the purse strings and dole out what she gets for what she will buy. I know you have already seen what happens when you give her a "wad of cash" for a certain purpose and what actually happens so you can adjust how much she gets accordingly. I know it's a delicate balancing act and we are here to help as a sounding board.

I'm glad you realized your girls still love you without "stuff". It's not fun to say "no" but it does not affect their love for you. Isn't that wonderful? I know that your desire to get out of debt will benefit them (and your entire family) in the long run. It's already happening as you spend time (and save money) when you take them to school. The UNO game is another way to spend time with them and build "no-cost memories". [I don't suppose you want to know about UNO Attack...a mechanical UNO game. Maybe it's something to keep in mind for next Christmas. :-)]

Great job on the reduced Christmas spending!!!!!! I know you were sabotaged somewhat when you gave your wife the money. It's a lesson learned and now you can move past it. You did a great job in leading by example! Way to go! I know you will also be teaching your girls about the dangers of debt as they get older. They are old enough to recognize a bit about what's going on and as they get older you will really be able to help them avoid some of the money mistakes you have made. I like your "re-gifting" too. It reduces clutter, saves money and when done thoughtfully is a win-win. It was very generous of you to give your maid the leg of pork!

You are really learning about the freedom on not buying things with money you don't have because in reality that creates bondage. When you say "If you can't afford it, you probably can live without it" you are so so right.

You got the brakes fixed and had some money in your emergency fund to pay for it. It is so much better to "be your own bank" than to have to rely on credit cards and continue the cycle of debt. It's terrific that you will be able to replace that money and continue to pay your debt with your earnings from your second job. I, too, hope it continues until you have made a huge dent in your debt or are indeed debt-free.

It might be fun for your readers if you somehow put a "January 1, 2009 beginning balance" on your sidebar so we can watch the total go down with you. Just a suggestion because over time I will loose track of how much you have paid.

I wish you and your family a wonderful, reduced-debt 2009!

La Gringa said...

Wow! What a commenter Cindy is! I always come in after her and then wonder what could I possibly add to her good advice.

I am SO Happy that the Uno game was a hit with the girls!

I am glad that you are feeling good about your control over Christmas spending. Also glad that the girls are taking it well and not following in mom's footsteps. You definitely don't want the girls feel the burden of possible financial doom, BUT they can learn valuable lessons from this and hopefully feel like they are part of the team.

I hope you learn some valuable tips from that Suze Orman book. Maybe she even has some tips about how to deal with family members who are balking at the remedies.

(For anyone reading, has Suze Ormans latest book available free for downloading, but only until January 15th)

Happy New Year to you!