Life in the Red-A tale of being in debt
I had a different post in mind today until I read Girl Meets Debt’s post: Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck. She talks about an indebted life where your money is promised to someone else before it gets to you. As I slowly clean up my debt mess I have to agree that living paycheck to paycheck becomes a wearying, tiring way to exist. It becomes a habit.
I have spent my entire adult life living life in “The Red.” When I say in “The Red.” I mean in debt. When you talk living paycheck to paycheck I get it. I get juggling bills and money around to see what I have in the bank and in my pocket so that I can pay things off. I get being so stressed out and not having a plan that I make bad decisions like getting a payday loan-making my situation even worse. I get trying to figure out what I’m going to eat for the week before payday. Part of the reason I am uber focused on having a stocked pantry is the fear of being hungry due to not having enough money to eat. That happened to me in college and because I was constantly broke I worked in the food services area so that I could eat.
Living in the Red you get used to a low grade frequency of stress that spikes at different times of the month-beginning of the month (bills are due), middle of the month (money is getting lower), and the end of the month-the days before payday.
I remember picking up my piggy bank and shaking Mr. Piggy so that all the change and bills come out and hoping that it’s enough. That memory of getting change from Mr. Piggy is not that long ago.
Living in the Red you can guarantee that there will always be some crazy sh$t that hits the fan and you think why is the Universe conspiring against me? You don’t get enough hours at work, your washing machine breaks, your car blows a tire, your kid gets sick, and the list goes on.
When you’re living in The Red you ask for money from your loved ones because you need help. It makes you feel like sh$t. And you ask yourself why can’t I pull myself together? Is there a secret that other people can share with me?
For the past 10 years I have been paid on the last business day of the month. I have worked a number of part-time jobs to supplement an income that, in retrospect, is more than enough. I’ve worked at an olive oil store, a body product store, and picked up various side gigs. Getting paid once a month means that you have to really know what you’re doing with your budget, your savings, and just your life. What if you don’t? Despite making more than enough I have experienced life in The Red.
Disorganization, spending more than I earned, not having a savings, and not having clarity about my financial life kept me in The Red and took a toll on my life.
Today, as I watch the show Extreme Weight Loss with Chris Powell, I think of my slow transformation during this past year. I blogged, and blogged, and I committed to changing my life around. My transformation has been a mental process and it’s still a work in progress. I am so happy watching this show because my next step is to lose weight. I want to leave the weight that I gained existing in The Red behind me with the debt that I’m slowing getting rid of.
I realized today that I have been in “The Black” for awhile. By that what I mean is that I’ve been experiencing a surplus-in my bank account. It is a heady feeling. It is a scary feeling. It is a feeling I’m not used to. I wonder if I can stay focused and continue to do what is best for me?
I realize that with every step out of The Red the less I experience the low grade sense of stress and anxiety that I’ve had for years. I’m beginning to feel a lot more in control of my situation and am able to make better decisions when the sh$t hits the fan-because it always does. I still have a long, long way to go but I know that I can do it. I can wait to be completely in The Black. I can’t wait to write that post.
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