Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Death By Debt, Finding the "Free"

At least blogging is free! These days I find it a constant challenge to entertain myself. Society definitely does not cater to the poor, or those saving or conserving finances. You don't actually realize how much you're spending until you don't have the money to spend anymore. Suddenly that 4.50$ grande latte at Starbucks isn't just "coffee" anymore, it's laundry or transportation money. I've never really "pinched" pennies this hardcore in the past you tell yourself. So that brings me to the question, are there free or at least inexpensive things to do in your city? and if so where do you find out about them? Maybe this will have to be a two part blog, I haven't done all my research just yet...

In the meantime, and coming from past experience, I've learned it's best if you're just upfront about your bank account balance, with yourself, and everyone else around you.. The next time a friend asks you to go to the movies or go to dinner with them just say "I'm tight on cash right now" chances are they'll understand and appreciate the truth more than an excuse, and who knows, they might even buy you dinner.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Death By Debt, Social Isolation

Humans... we're designed for interaction. We're designed to socialize, make friends and form relationships. But what happens when you can't play by the rules of interaction? What happens when you can't afford to go to the movies with friends, go out to dinner with friends, or do any activity really of monetary value that society has set up to help us all "socialize" better? Isolation happens... You're being smart by trying to save money and suddenly you're "anti social," at least in some circles. You'll always have your true friends who will stick by your side, but lets face it, when the bank runs dry so do the invitations to activities. So isolation sets in, and soon you'll find yourself trying to find creative ways to keep yourself entertained. Maybe that's what we're referring to when we talk about "getting back to basics" and "enjoying the simple things" but, and here's a question, are we REALLY ready to start enjoying the simple things? Are we ready to give up going to the opening weekend of a movie and replace it with a rented one from the library? , are we really ready to give up dinners out for dinners in? Are we, or are YOU, ready to restructure your spending habits to ensure a better and "Debtless" future for your life?

Death By Debt, Bottle O Booze

Have you ever had that feeling of wanting to curl up with a big glass of wine on the couch and drink until your problems went away? well, maybe that's a sign of a budding alcoholic, but that's another blog. Today I learned I have a new phobia, I'm afraid of ATM's... Today I needed some cash for the subway so I popped into a local grocery store with the big ATM HERE sign posted above their door. The second you walk up to an ATM you have one of two feelings, the first, "OMG I just made a huge deposit in my account, how much do I have to take out" excitement.. the second and not so fun one, "OMG, ok I'm gonna swipe my card quickly, hurry... hurry... yes yes enter my pinnnnn... hurry hurry.... 'would you like a receipt?' NO, no, definitely not... hurry hurry... grab your money and go," dread. So today when I walked up to the ATM to withdraw a 20$ from my checking account I chose not to print a receipt, justified the decision as "saving the environment by saving paper" and went on my way. I'm sure you've all been in both places, and while choosing to withdraw money from my account without knowing the balance might not be Suze Ormans financial advice, at least, for a moment, my day wasn't ruined by knowing how "little" I have left in the bank. Cue the bottle of booze

Death By Debt, The Wake Up Call

Death By Debt, The Wake Up Call

How many of you can truly wake up each and every morning and not have that little nagging worry about money? I'm sure there are many of you out there that can, but the majority of us right now can't. You out there... you can't.

This morning I woke up to see three missed calls from an unknown number. Not wanting to ruin my day and already having a feeling of whom it was who called I decided to push it to the back of my agenda. One quick swipe of the finger, and the number was gone... like they never called! That seemed to ease my worry temporarily and I could go back to my morning coffee. I couldn't, however, ignore the call when that same number flashed across my iphone screen later around lunch. I did a quick google search of the mysterious area code... hmmmm don't know anyone from Connecticut... and then like ripping the band-aid off the skin I pressed "redial."

Now, I'm not sure if ALL debt collectors you've encountered in your life were or have been as gracious and loving as the one that picked up my call... but... I was lucky enough to get one of the nice ones. Gripped by fear of late payment fees and even over exaggerated thoughts of debtors jail quickly said "Ummm yes, I just received a call from this number a few minutes ago?" there was a brief pause, then a warm "ahhh yes is this Robert Safe?" "Yes" I replied, and without any time to ask any further questions the lovely voice on the other line responded "Hi I'm Sandra from Sallie Mae, we're calling to inform you of a payment missed on a loan that was dispersed in June" Ouch, responsibility, had finally caught up with me...

Now when it comes to debt you'll all have this in common. Credit cards, Loans, and Store Cards all look like doorways you can escape through, they're the doorways that lead to that new ridiculously low priced Iphone you've waited for since it's debut in June 2007. They're the doorways that burst open revealing all the things you never knew were so easily attainable. But... and there ALWAYS is one... there are strings attached, not only strings, but ropes! and cables! and chains! I've been there... I am there... and through this blog, hopefully we can avoid death by debt or at least our savings accounts can...