Monday, April 17, 2006

Way Late Homework Assignment

Single Ma assigned her readers to answer some questions that she did in her quest to go Back to the Basics. I've wanted to answer them, but as I've mentioned in a previous post, money and I don't get along. Regardless, as I enter another broke week, here are my answers:

1. What were you taught about money as a child? That it was totally unimportant...and the most important thing in the world. Totally contradictory messages, depending on what time of the month it was. When my mom was making money, it wasn't an object. When she wasn't, it was the most precious commodity. She told me not to worry about affording college, but then had me beg the Financial Aid office for more help every semester.

2. Do (did) you have credit card debt? If yes, what did you buy to accumulate the debt?
Yes, I do. It's not that much, however. I don't really know why I have it. A chunk of it is from a trip to Mexico I took several years ago. I imagine a lot of it comes from clothes shopping.

3. Now that you're paying (have paid) it off, was the purchase(s) worth it? Why or why not? The trip to Mexico was totally worth it. But my body has changed since the time when I used credit cards, who knows if I still have those clothes.

4. Do you live from paycheck to paycheck? Yes, completely. Right now more than ever. I've been trying to come back from falling behind on some important bills, which means that I'm living very leanly until the summer. Most of my paycheck is spent the weekend I get it...and most of it is on bills. Something I've tried to do these days is spend some of my paycheck on savings, so that there isn't nothing in my account...just very little.

5. If no, how long could you live if you lost your job tomorrow? Oh my goodness, I can't even imagine. If I lost my job and couldn't get another one, I would have to sell my apartment.

6. What do you spend too much money on? Why? Going out. I never want to be that person who's a wet blanket...who can't meet up with friends because I can't afford it. So I spend too much money going out the first weekend and then I end up being a recluse until my next payday.

7. What would you do with the extra money if you didn't spend it on the above? I would pay off loans, credit card debt, medical bills. I would also start paying more on the principal of the mortgage.

8. Is the sacrifice of #7 worth the pleasure you receive from #6? Absolutely not. Especially now that I'm older and realize that all those dinners out won't help me improve my credit score.

Wow...I did it. My money pattern is really getting on my nerves.


maura said...

Those are good questions to ask oneself.

When I was in the worst financial shape ever -- I became obsessed with Suze Orman. Now I've heard enough of her cardinal rules repeatedly, that I pretty much know them by heart.

Within a year, I cut down my debt by 3/4! And as we all know through my silly bloggy blog, I stood up for my raise, and I may actually get it! YAY!

A good credit card with a 0% balance transfer for 12 months is Citicards Premiere Pass. It's got the best airmiles points program that I've seen yet!

Now, that my finances are under control -- my next long-term plan is to have a mortgage! Perhaps you don't have a 6 month savings plan, but YOU OWN YOUR PLACE! I'm so jealous!

Single Ma said...

l britt - congrats on answering the questions!! when i answered them myself, i noticed a pattern. i was able to identify how my upbringing influenced the way i dealt with money, what i spent too much money on, and what i was sacrificing. as a result, i realized that my sacrifices were way more important.

how about you? did you recognize anything similar? since you live in ny, i know it's hard to not eat out. just think about it this way -- saying no to just one outing with your friends can save you hundreds in interest on the debt you're repaying. crunch the numbers and see for yourself.

me and my money have a love hate relationship too, but we gotta learn to control it, not the other way around.

i hope answering the questions get you to consider making a change for the better. have a blessed night!