I try hard to be a good money manager, to be thrifty and responsible. It doesn’t always work. This feels especially true since I have much less money to manage nowadays–I often feel like my money is managing me. When things feel overwhelming and like I’m digging my debt hole deeper instead of filling it in, I have a tendency to want to hide from it all, which of course makes it worse. I killed my credit in my early 20s by charging stuff on my shiny new credit cards and then ignoring the bills when I couldn’t pay them.
However, I’ve at least improved on that. I know that will make me even more anxious, so as much as I dread it, I regularly sit down and pay bills, balance my checkbook, assess my budget. I have a chart on my wall to track my debt reduction. Unfortunately, due to some unexpected expenses and a decision on my part, my total debt number has gone up since I started tracking in September.
Instead of hiding and feeling horrible for my steps back, though, it just makes me more motivated to take more steps forward, however small they may be. I can’t pay off all my credit card debt at once, but this morning I transferred one of my high-interest balances to a card I opened through my credit union, which has a much lower interest rate. I’m working hard to make money however I can, even if it’s $3.00 at a time with the sale of a dozen eggs. I’m keeping long-term goals in sight for those times when I’m not motivated to work on tasks which have income potential. I’m also trying to re-frame my money mentality to make sure I don’t feel like I’m restricting myself so much that I make an impulse buy which throws everything off again.
There are some big bills coming up in the next month or so that I’m not sure how I’ll pay, and the uncertainty of whether my son will receive a subsidy when his adoption is finalized, but today I’m feeling ok. I may have ended up one step behind, but if I take a small step forward every day, I’ll catch up again, and even get ahead. Little by little, progress is made.