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Confession Time :(

July 10th, 2014 at 08:50 am

This is really hard for me to write, but I'm totally failing at this whole debt payoff thing. I'd been doing so well, but lately I've had my fingers in so many peanut butter jars that it doesn't feel like I'm making progress on any of them.

I tried the credit card rewards thing recently to get some extra cash for Vegas, and I will admit, it's not for me. I'm definitely not ready to be trusted with multiple cards even if they all have relatively low limits. It makes it too easy to justify those new dresses or the $100 PetSmart run (both of which I did over my supposedly 'no-spend' staycation). So those are getting paid off over the next two months and then put away.

I did start my moving fund. And I've got another show this weekend, so I guess those are good baby steps. I think part of the issue is that I've also recently started dating someone and since neither living situation is conducive to privacy, we usually end up doing stuff out that costs money. Since I never had much of an entertainment budget, this has totally derailed my spending as we alternate who pays. Any ideas on cheap, fun dates?

16 Responses to “Confession Time :(”

  1. ceejay74 Says:

    Well, you don't know until you try something. I get that; I just didn't use credit cards once I started getting out of debt. Once I'd paid them all off I started doing the rewards "churn" but I paid them off every month, sometimes twice a month, because I was afraid I'd use them irresponsibly otherwise.

  2. Butterscotch Says:

    I cut up all my cards a few weeks ago because I couldn't be trusted. I have one left (cut up six) and I don't carry that in my wallet, it is always at home and for emergencies. Like life altering emergencies.
    Can you try paying off your debt and other bills as soon as you get your paychecks so that when your mom asks you for money you can honestly tell her that you don't have it? I get paid every two weeks on Thursdays and by Friday my bank account is down to $0 because I have sent all the money to my credit cards. It's hard, but I now go weeks without spending any money. If someone asked me to borrow money I wouldn't have a dime to give them. I know this isn't the safest way to live, but I had to go extreme because I just cannot have cash available or I don't make progress.

  3. Carol Says:

    Cheap dates: walks, hikes, free summer concerts, picnics, swimming. Movies ( pricier ). Consult local paper for free, cheap stuff going on-- for instance, a local organ company has an open house when they are ready to ship (interesting).

  4. Petunia 100 Says:

    Personal finance is personal; you have to do what works for YOU. So, you tried something that doesn't work for you. Now you can cross it off your list and try something else. Smile
    We all stumble; the key is to get up and try again.

    I was going to suggest hiking or bike riding as a cheap date. Bring along a picnic lunch, too. Best of luck to you with the dating.

  5. SecretarySaving Says:

    I only have a debit card and on payday I get cash for things like gas/food and blow money. That way I'm not always using the debit card.

  6. debt-free by thir-ty Says:

    Thanks everyone for the support! I think the cards definitely will have to go (at least into hiding within my place).

    Butterscotch, I actually do that now - pay everything within a day or two of my paycheck. However, with the cards, I've been using those to help as needed. But then, since I'm determined not to get back into credit card debt, I pay those off first out of money I'd planned to throw at the car. I need to pay them, put them away, and just tell my family tough luck. Much easier said than done, but I think I can do it.

    Carol, we've done some of those things and they still somehow turn out expensive. Our local town center does free Saturday night concerts and the last time we went, we ended up eating on a patio overlooking the concert. Then, some of his friends joined us and we ended up splitting a bottle of wine. I think we need to be better planners when we go out.

    SecretarySaving, cash only may be my next attempt. I'd wanted to do it in the past, but swiping a card is so much more convenient. I'm actually pretty good about limiting my debit card use because I pay all my bills immediately, but then I swipe the credit cards Frown They're definitely going away tonight when I get home...

  7. CB in the City Says:

    The credit card churn is only for those who are very disciplined! If you struggle with impulsive spending, it's a recipe for disaster. As others have said, move on. There are other ways to save.

    Cheap dates are the best ones! Walking, picnicking, biking, movies in the park, swimming, visiting parks -- they all give you time to TALK and get to know each other. That's what it's all about, really.

  8. rob62521 Says:

    Different things work for different people. You are honest enough with yourself to decide it doesn't work and that is good!

  9. Miz Pat Says:

    I have two credit cards that pay me back, and while I am super disciplined and have gotten lots back, I still have had times when I made mistakes or was late. I set up one card to pay automatically, and I actually try to have an amount alloted for what I pay for with credit cards in my checking. I write all my cc transaction in my check book as if they are checks. If there is no money set aside, no credit card purchase.

  10. debt-free by thir-ty Says:

    Miz Pat, that is definitely the boundary I have to set for myself. It was easy to be disciplined with the one card, but once I got two more, I somehow started justifying random purchases in the sense that I had to reach a certain spending amount anyway. No bueno y no mas!!

  11. snafu Says:

    If you haven't worn them yet, I suggest taking the new dresses back and a small admonishment for treating pet to $ 100. of toys, outfits at this point when paying off car is much more important. Perhaps the unplanned trip to Las Vegas isn't biting at your heels - yet.

    Would designating $$$ before they arrive help? Dance money to be earned this weekend designated to a specific card the moment it arrives for example. Adding to ideas offered...Check on line for free, nearly free entertainment, what does tourist bureau recommend? Do you have Shakespeare in the Park, band concerts, parades, dog events, community baseball, soccer leagues, ethnic festivals, etc?

    You can each take turns making snacks or each bring a category. Put the emphasis on imagination rather than restaurant foods. Any messenger bag will do to transport home made, portable snacks. popcorn, sandwiches, muffins, breakfast [oatmeal] cookies trail mix, carrot sticks, celery stuffed with peanut butter & raisins, graham crackers, sturdy fruit etc.
    Freeze bottled water with a bit of lemon juice too keep cold and add a Dollar Store jell pack.
    http://greatist.com/health/healthy-portable-fridge-free-snacks

    I'm confident you can get past this mistake and move forward towards the goals you've outlined. It takes a bit of change of thinking and reminding yourself what's truly important. It will feel so-oo good to get car payments behind you. Then you can give yourself a reward.

  12. Butterscotch Says:

    Where did it say she the $100 at PetSmart was on toys and outfits, Snafu? I assumed she bought dog food or other required supplies.

  13. Debt-free by Thir-ty Says:

    Snafu, thanks for the great advice on the snacks. I haven't worn the dresses but I did already take tags off. They were all more work/age appropriate clothing so I forced myself to throw away a corresponding clothing item that was less age/work appropriate. The $100 was all edible - a bag of his food and bulk bags of his favorite snacks. I think he's good through the end of August (at the earliest). The snowflakes I get from shows are going to the card, but once they're out of sight/mind, I want to refocus on the car. I still think I can do it by the end of the year even with the Vegas trip and moving fund, so I just have to get back on track.

  14. snafu Says:

    Oops, read dresses and PetSmart on one line and mentally pictured all the terrific toys and pet accessories. Have you researched outlets for quality pet food? I ask because I started with dog food promoted by receptionist at the vets. It was very expensive compared to an advertised name brand promo and propelled me to seek information. As a novice I was so surprised to find a couple of terrific suppliers whose product was the same quality as brand from vet but close to price of brands sold at grocery stores. There seems to be savings buying on-line and picking up at store or if you get free shipping.
    * [I have a small dog and buy 5 lb bags]

  15. debt-free by thir-ty Says:

    Haha. I wish I could get my dog into cute outfits. He's a 90 lb. lab and doesn't do well with clothes. I go with Purina One Healthy Weight for food. When my mom buys the food, she usually pays 20-25 for the 16 lb. bag. At PetSmart, they'll often have the 31 lb. bag for 30, so I usually try to go with that. I also bought the bulk treats because they were having good sales. He should be good on treats probably through the end of the year. The food usually last a month and he's currently got 3/4 of a small bag left before the big one.

  16. crazyliblady Says:

    As far as entertainment goes, how about getting Netflix with unlimited streaming? If you already have cable or satellite service, you could ditch those and save a lot of money. How about going to your local library and checking to see if they have any DVDs, CDs, books, etc. that you would like to use? How about going for a walk with your dog while listening to some music? How about having a potluck dinner/lunch with friends or family? Or movie night with popcorn with family members? Can you sometimes use a different way to get around, such as biking or walking to work, or taking a bus? When I lived in a large metro area, it was much cheaper to have a metro pass than to pay $30-40 a week for gas. A pass was only about $50.

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