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"I'd love just to be flat broke again." - A Suburbs Boy Living a Country Life [My Flickr Photos]
August 31st, 2002
12:41 pm

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"I'd love just to be flat broke again."
I used to use this (somewhat heartless, I admit) comeback when the panhandlers of Atlanta would hit me up for money a decade ago. Well, the past decade has been good to me in many ways. prettypammie and I have good incomes, own two houses. No, not a "Summer Home," we just decided not to sell our Virginia home when we moved up to Joisey. We have a very nice family renting it from us.

Okay, so where am I going with this? Well, I've been working very hard to pay off credit indiscretions of the past. I've never screwed up my credit record with delinquencies, but I racked up a lot of dollars writing checks for my future self to pay in full, with interest. My mantra has been "Debt Free in 2003." Getting there has meant cancelling all but one credit card, a hard freeze on any card purchase that doesn't have money in the budget to be paid off in full the by the next payment cycle WITHOUT also reducing our scheduled debt reduction payments. When the mortgage payment and the credit account payments and a couple of car repair bills and other "non-delayables" hit...all of a sudden it's "franks and beans" and no play-money until the next pay period.

So, while I can't say that my net worth is negative any more, I can still tell the panhandlers that I don't have any money to spare. My problems have shifted from net worth to cash flow. In a big way. I think this month I'm even going to hit the overdraft accout (on a bank credit card used only for that purpose and paid in full any time it has a balance...without reducing that month's debt payments). The bottom line: We may be "worth something" right now, but until these )@$)(@$)(* cards are all paid off, we're still flat broke.

Grumble.

Of course, the prospect of more than $2,000/month of "disposable income" in 2004 to invest, save up for a nice vacation, have money in the bank for emergencies...that's a nice carrot at the end of a long haul of nothing but stick.

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From:elfwench
Date:August 31st, 2002 09:59 am (UTC)

I know it seems bad right now,

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But it could always be worse. Right now we are living on $240/week unemployment. Child support is only $168 every other week, which pays the lot rent. Lot rent is going up to $324/month next month. Needless to say, once we pay on the electic bill, phone bill, car payment ($115 every other week), groceries, etc, we are flat broke every week.

But, things will get better for both of us eventually. {HUGS}
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From:happypete
Date:August 31st, 2002 10:12 am (UTC)

Re: I know it seems bad right now,

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Yeah...it's one of the reason I hesitate to post "whines" like this...I have many friends who are worse off financially for various reasons.

But damnitall--it consumes a lot of my time and stresses me out dealing with it, and it is my journal, right?

* hugs * to you and Keeper...there's a light at the end of that tunnel, and it isn't a train. Keep on plugging.
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From:elfwench
Date:August 31st, 2002 10:21 am (UTC)

Oh, believe me, I do indeed understand...

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I'm sorry if I seemed accusitory. That wasn't my intent. Post what you want in your journal that helps you get through... Goodness knows that I do!

And yes, it is stressful, I imagine. I hope things improve for you soon.
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From:happypete
Date:August 31st, 2002 11:04 am (UTC)

Re: Oh, believe me, I do indeed understand...

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Sorry if I sounded defensive...I read it as us both just sharing our angst...and clearly from a quantitative point of view you have more worries about handling basic necessities than we do...

Well, actually, for the next couple of weeks, we might as well be exactly in the same boat, it seems.
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From:elfwench
Date:August 31st, 2002 11:15 am (UTC)

Re: Oh, believe me, I do indeed understand...

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Don't worry about it, Happy. It happens, believe me I know. I'm in a melancholy "crabby assed" mood over our finacial situation and other of life's problems today... I may post about it later in my journal, if I feel up to the task.
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From:happypete
Date:August 31st, 2002 11:25 am (UTC)

Re: Oh, believe me, I do indeed understand...

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* hug * again...money troubles are the root of much angst...
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