Changing my mind

Every now and then, (read: very often these days) I log into my bank account and let the cold hard reality of my debt punch me in the face. While that is rather dramatic, it’s also true. It’s all too easy to ignore it, let it linger in the shadows, know it’s there, but not be aware of how much it’s growing and the fact that it has the potential to swallow you whole in a second.

My internet banking recently implemented a new thing which shows me my balances on my CC and my Savings account and then my Net Position. Shoowee. That was a bit of an eye opener.

Now I’m not in as much debt as some, of course. But debt is all relative. Owing money kind of sucks. I helps a little that a chunk of that debt is because we just paid our deposit for the house we’re buying towards the end of the year. Good debt. Well, the bond will eventually be good debt. This debt is all CC related, because that’s where I mined the money for the deposit.

My plan is to pay it off as quickly as possible, while teaching myself to put aside a little extra money each month. Up until now it’s been a case of “one day we’ll buy a house so we really should start saving money…” Now it’s kind of like “In November we’re buying a house and we’re going starve to death if we don’t learn how to stop spending so much on rubbish.”

Nothing like a little motivation. I think I’m doing okay. I’ve put my CC away for now. And I seem to be managing fine without it. I’ve heard people say never use the CC for things that aren’t essential. I’ll admit, I’ve been guilty of whipping it out to pay for snacks at Clicks. I’m not proud. But I’m repentant. And I haven’t done it for months. If I don’t have the money in my savings account, then I just have to go without. A craving for something salty is not an emergency.

I’m excited about the challenge of rethinking the way I spend. I’m confident that we can manage bond repayments without getting ourselves into trouble. It’s a case of breaking bad habits and making every cent count.

Speaking of which… a while back I read a post somewhere about ways to save money. One of the suggestions was never to use coins to pay for things. Use notes, and then when you get home pop the change in a jar. Great suggestion, which I kind of stuck to. Now if you take the change to the bank to deposit it they charge you. But you CAN just exchange the coins for notes, for free. I did that on Friday. R150 that went towards petrol. Awesome! If I’d just tried to use the coins as they were they would have gone on stupid things like cooldrinks or snacks. Never mind that no one is going to like you if you take a bag full of 5c pieces to pay for anything that costs more than 50c. This way, my money didn’t go to waste. And my piggy bank is already starting to fill up again.

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