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The beginning of the end of irresponsible spending!

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Old 12-17-2013, 05:53 AM   #1
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Default The beginning of the end of irresponsible spending!

Hello Beck folk,

Having hit my 'rock bottom' in regards to financial irresponsibility (a fuller description appears on the main Dec thread) I am starting this thread so that if there are others who share my compulsion to spend money we can support each other in changing our behaviour.

My first step - today - is to commit to living within my means.

My second step - tomorrow - is to write my ARC about this.
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:26 PM   #2
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Lightbulb Me too!

I am with you on this ForMyGirls. As I have mentioned in the main thread it is one of my other addictions. I am working that while I am working on losing weight. It does affect the other because when I am strapped for cash as I have been for the past six months that impacts what I can spend at the grocery store. Besides, our sole income being really tapped out for the second half of this past year, we also have been borrowing at different times to stay afloat. It is a vicious cycle and one that I have recently worked hard to reverse the trend. So, what do you have in mind by starting this new thread? Let me know and I will do my best to share.

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Old 12-17-2013, 07:01 PM   #3
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Hi Pam,

Thanks for joining in. What you have said so resonates with me. When you said a while back on the other board about your tri-core addiction it really struck a chord (and was probably the beginning of my acknowledging I have a problem - so thank you!) To some extent I also share your relationship addiction - in intimate relationships I have mostly done OK - though one of them has been abusive - but I do have a track record of toxic female friendships. That one I think I have mastered - hopefully I am right - and weight is now something that I feel like I am on the path to success. Money though - I suspect I have only seen the tip of the iceberg.

I am noticing that I have far more shame about this addiction than about food. Maybe it is something about the hiddenness of it. Admitting that I am dieting wasn't too hard because I didn't need to explain that it was needed! But other than the people closest to me nobody in my life would have any idea I am irresponsible with money. I am, in every other respect of my life, very sensible, organised, diligent and hardworking - so I'm guessing most folk I know would be surprised about this Achilles heel.

My thinking on how to address this - I think I am going to try and do the Beck book - but about money. Not sure how that will work but I so like her very matter of fact and 'take a step at a time' style. I think the reason it is working for me for weight loss is that it doesn't let me hide from myself and makes me face up to what is going on - but at the same time let's me be gentle with myself. Somehow she strikes the balance between letting me acknowledge that this is hard and that faltering is OK - while at the same time not letting me use that as an excuse not to succeed.

I have just been skimming a bit of the book today and I think it might work - I skimmed through the characteristics in the "how thin people think" part (I have the pink book) and it was like "oh my god yes - that is exactly it". I think it will probably be helpful for me to share my thoughts on each step - warts and all - a bit like you have been doing on the other board about your working through the book again.

I have written my ARCs this morning - pretty brief at this point but I expect that they will expand. It was interesting to notice the impulse to put things I can buy on the list! I did notice this and none of them appear (other than owning my own home - which I think belongs in the list!) I also want today to get my bank statement reconciliation up to date so that I can get a full picture and have a realistic picture of my starting point. (The equivalent of the weighing myself as I did at the beginning of this weight loss journey). I was thinking I would have a graph to show my progress (as I do for weight loss) - and just as I type I have a thought - maybe I can have a ticker for debt as well. I wonder how adaptable it is?

I feel very empowered this morning - mildly terrified - but also hopeful that I can conquer this challenge - and relieved and proud that for the first time in my life I am approaching this in an holistic way and not just reacting by trying to fix the immediate problem with something that will only make the bigger problem worse.

So that is a very long winded answer to your question. How would you like to use this space? What will be helpful for you?
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:36 AM   #4
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I know, an admitted lurker here.

But I am a tight wad!

When weather permits, I love my clothesline. Saves so much on my electric bill cuz I don't have to run the dryer!

Our furnace is set at 62. Get a blankie and some slippers.

I garden and can. Freeze. Dehydrate. We butcher our own deer.

I want a new tablet, my old one croaked. I"m haunting the internet for a deal. I found a few, but, even though I have the cash, gonna hold out until Jan or Feb to see what's on sale. After, I get new tires for the car. Tires are more important!

It's about priorities. And long term, instead of feel good now! Trust me, I know how hard this is, My DH, is a NOW, kind of guy. After 36 years of marriage, he still has not figured out how I can save, and he's broke.

Priorities!
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Old 12-18-2013, 03:21 AM   #5
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shcirerf - you are so like my sister! When we were little (I was the "baby") I would spend all my pocket money and then she would give me hers! No wonder I never learnt how to handle it. And now (we are in our 60s) she manages her money so well and I am an idiot. Admittedly I have had enormous health bills the last 4 years, but it is embarrassing. I earn a good salary and am virtually on the poverty line! She, who is on a pension, is always offering me money!

This forum just might empower me to take responsibility and be accountable for my own tragic financial circumstances

I will plan and use Beck!
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Old 12-18-2013, 06:24 AM   #6
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Hi all,

Thanks for joining us Seadwaters. Your story if your sister rang so true. My brother is just about the most frugal person I know! He even saved money while living on a PhD scholarship. And your comment "I earn a good salary and I am virtually on the poverty line" explains my situ to perfection.

I did good today on the money front. I now know how far in the red I am. I have a "very tight" budget that will have me back in normal cash flow in 18 months. I have set up my money management system so it is really, really easy to see whether there is any "spending money" left for the fortnight and if there isn't nothing short of a REAL emergency will permit me to spend on anything but bills and groceries. Did a bit of grieving today too when I came across my "things I would like to buy" notebook in Evernote. Not gonna happen girl!

Tomorrow I shall read some of the Beck book.
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Old 12-18-2013, 02:27 PM   #7
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Good day everyone who has decided to join and work on this "issue" as well as the lurkers who already have it "together". Congratulations to both camps.

ForMyGirls: Well, after reading your response to my first post here, I did have a couple of ideas. I do like the format that I chose to do in the main discussion group and, yes, I do not know why we can not work the same pink book but "substitute" money and/or finances in place of weight/pounds. I have always believed that "substance abuse" is "substance abuse", no matter what!

However; my caveat for myself, is that I want to finish with the first 41 days for my weight loss before starting over here but I will do that in about 7-8 days so I will restart with Day 1 here; using money and finances as my point of departure. "First things first".

I do like your plan already. I think the one thing that I really like about Dr. Beck's approach is that it is so "no nonsense" and it is also gives a much needed structure to a prevailing problem. Problems are meant to be solved. I firmly believe this. We just have to figure out a way to do so.

A few suggestions to the group who has assembled here: I do not think that it is healthy in this area as well as in the main weight loss group to compare our individual circumstances with other people. I think it can create a "superior/inferior" relationship that is not healthy IMO. Instead, we are all peers and we are here to learn from each other's experiences, not to judge but to offer support. Let's keep this in mind as we move forward. For many of us, myself included, I feel a sense of defeat and shame at times in this area of my life. We do not need someone who does have their "act together", so to speak, to tell us what to do. If you don't need this then I am happy for you but don't be a "told you so" because, I for one, do not welcome such "bad vibes". I have been guilty of this myself in other areas so I do know that even the best of intentions can be misconstrued. "Let us share and support, not lead and advise." Ok?

Seadwaters: thanks for joining this thread. I have a feeling that it can be quite a powerful one in assisting those of who really do have a desire to make this area of our life work as other areas do.

Janelle: Glad to see you post from time to time. Keep up the good work. Sounds like this is an area you have got under control. Good for you!

Well, this is my personal situation: neither my DH nor I ever made that much money. It is a long story but it is linked to our respective histories of having depression for half of our lives. The problem with coming out of a "coma" (which is what depression feels like) is that you are left to greet reality with being ill-prepared to face. I do believe that we have done the best we could with the given circumstances that we have had to deal with.

seawaters: did you know that #1 reason why people file bankruptcy is because of enormous medical bills. When my Mom died in 2008, my Dad was left with $60K U.S. in bills related to her care of 11 months. He has $1200 a month to live on. HIs small income "supports" my sister, who was fired from her job because she can no longer perform it due to physical injuries while on the job (and in the midst of a workers' comp trial) as well as one of her daughters, who is a nursing student with two toddlers. That is a very small amount to stretch for that many needs. My sister and my niece situation will change within the next 2-6 months so that will free up his income but I know other people who are struggling like this. It is not as uncommon as you would think.

I am in a Catch-22 situation where I can not work because of my disabilities but I can't afford the necessary surgeries because I neither have the money nor the health insurance. Will this Affordable Healthcare Act help me out? I am not sure. So, my DH and I are living on a significantly reduced income as a result.

In my defense; I too have learned to practice many frugal habits and I feel that for the most part I am very responsible with our shared finances but I know that I could improve. "Necessity is the mother of invention." Between the fact that this recession here in the U.S. had us both lose our respective jobs and then me having disabilities that narrowed the kinds of jobs that I can do at this time; has made it very difficult for me to assist financially in increasing our income. We are living on about $15K per year right now. Our mountain of debt is over $100K. We do not qualify for any kind of financial assistance programs. We can not file bankruptcy because of one source of my DH's income is connected to a family business partnership which he is 1/7th owner of and which would impact 20 other people adversely if he did so.

So, for 2014, I am going to have to see what I can do to bring an income in our home, one way or another. I am thinking some kind of non-traditional income that can be done from the home. I haven't applied for disability yet but I am seriously considering it.

ForMyGirls: However, having said that, we have a shared mountain of debt that we simply have not been able to pay off because of all that I shared above. I have cried about it and, of course, it has also affected my weight loss efforts since there have been times when we simply didn't have enough in the house to eat except carbs which are a serious no-no for diabetics.

I will admit that in the past I have fluctuated, much like my weight loss efforts, in how I have handled our finances. However, like you, ForMyGirls, I had a meltdown this past fall and I just told my DH, I can't take this any more, "if I want things to be differently than I/we need to do things differently." Since he is so overwhelmed by all of this, I am taking the lead. I know how "delicate" his psyche can be at times so I forge ahead for us both.

Thanks for starting up this thread since I was thinking about returning to Debtor's Anonymous but with one car (and it is 14 years old with 200K miles on it) I am very careful about how much extra driving I do with it. This will do just fine for that purpose.

We can do this. One debt at a time. One day at a time.

Pam

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Old 12-19-2013, 12:02 AM   #8
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There have been times in my life when we were so poor we couldn't pay attention, let alone anything else.
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Old 12-19-2013, 06:22 AM   #9
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I did good today. I went shopping for Christmas presents (after finding out about the non prize I negotiated an extension on a bill so that I could buy the kids some gifts - not optimum but I really couldn't face not giving them Christmas presents).

I had a very clear budget and stuck to it. I could easily have "borrowed" from the grocery money (a favourite trick of the past) but I didn't. There was one item I wanted to get for the girls that was $23 and I only had $20 left in the budget so I put it back. 5 minutes later I found a different brand on special for $13. In the past I would have begged, borrowed and stolen (but only from myself!) to buy the first one so this was a big change.

Also noticed the temptation to "treat myself" to lunch at the shops. (Lots of healthy options so would have been easy to stay on track diet wise but it would have been off track budget wise).

Haven't manage to read much of the book yet but all in due course.

Pamatga - it sounds like you and your DH are doing it incredibly tough. Huge credit to you for being able to stay strong and committed to your weightloss through it all and to be so unflinching and devoted in your support for your DH. Reading your story makes me realise just how lucky I am! Which then makes me even more determined to get this spending under control so that I am in a position to give back a bit to people who are doing it tougher than me!
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Old 12-19-2013, 06:25 AM   #10
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Oops - meant to say on the last post - Pamatga, I am totally cool with you joining in the walk through the book when you are ready (or indeed not even following that plan at all). I think it is so important that we not overload ourselves. Just having you here to listen to my ramblings and to share your thoughts and experiences is marvellous.
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:28 PM   #11
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DH has been having one good check per month for the past 8 months and that is when I have to really keep myself focused on what to do as our "financial manager". Once again, I am very grateful that we managed to pay all of our necessary monthly expenses although I did ask for an extension on our electric bill until January 2nd. It is the one of two that we have that "allows" that and I am afraid that quite often I do so it will free up some money for groceries.

My Christmas gift to myself was to order some extra strong multi-vitamins and calcium supplement from a WLS site. They had been sending me a catalog for two years and since I have never had WLS nor ever expressed a desire to do so, I was kind of confused why they would send me one. However, last winter I decided to really look through it and so I ordered just their multi-vitamins. I have taken vitamins and supplements for nearly 40+ years and I swear by them but these WLS ones just seemed to give me a lot more energy so I decided that I would "gift" myself.

I hope that I can send my only child and daughter a little money. We haven't spoke since Mother's Day when she had me crying and I asked her to stop calling me. She has since lost her job and is on unemployment. I only know what is happening to her via her FB posts and it sounds like she will be without unemployment by the New Year. I sent her $25 for Thanksgiving so I am hoping that I can send her $50 for Christmas. At least, it will cover groceries for her.

All the bills for December will have been paid by Christmas so I am grateful for that. I practice surrendering a lot, ForMyGirls. I take one day at a time and one bill at a time and trust (something very hard for me to do) that the money to cover it will come. I will admit that many days I feel like I am on pins and needles but I still try not to worry or be unusually stressed about it. For now, this is the best that I can do so that is what I do.

Great Job, ForMyGirls, on making the decisions while you staring down the future gifts. Great Job on not falling into the sabotaging thought of treating yourself after making a tough decision. That is also a hard one for me to do so give yourself a big hug on that one.

I have four more days of the pink book for weight loss and then I will start posting the Days all over again here in this thread.

We can do this! One day at a time. One debt at a time.

Pam
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Old 12-19-2013, 03:17 PM   #12
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Pamatga: I really admire you for taking on your financial challenges head on. Does Dr. Beck have a plan for finances as well? DH and I were discussing finances last night, to whit: which is better, to pay off one's mortgage, or to buy an income property and rent it out. I would like the peace of mind that having no mortgage would bring, and DH would like the income a rental property would bring in our old age. I'm sure that I would be the defacto property manager, however. Gulp.

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Old 12-19-2013, 05:51 PM   #13
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Went out to eat at a new restaurant last night. Credit to me for staying OP. Had a quinoa, root vegetable, kale, soy sausage bowl. Yum. Will return to new restaurant ASAP! It's called Veggie Grill, and it's in the UFC mall in San Diego. It's all vegan food. Afterwards, saw the "the hunger games, catching fire," at the arc light theater.
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Old 12-20-2013, 06:27 AM   #14
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Hello coaches,

Pam - your recommendation to take one day at a time is very wise. I am shocker for living 5 steps ahead of where I am now!

I did well today on the money front. Took the kids for an "end if school year" Icecream (which was budgeted for). When kids asked for 2 scoops and my partner said yes I asked him to cover the extra cost so that is wouldn't blow the budget (and he did without hesitation - and offered to pay for it all but I said I needed to still pay what I had budgeted- we have very independent financial lives and having lived in a relationship where control was an issue maintaining independence is completely non-negotiable for me - I also want to make sure that my decision to be financial responsible doesn't just turn into my convincing him to overspend!)

I also had a good moment today. I realised today (because a direct debit came through) that I had not budgeted for two subscriptions that I use for my work. I have set up a budget that has a black hole called "spending" with a great big negative balance that will reduce a little each pay (and can't be used until it is in the black) and a separate "Play money" which I am allowed to use for clothes, entertainment - anything basically that isn't bills and housing costs. So when I realised about the subscriptions I decided that I would take that out of the money that will be going towards filling the black hole (because the "play money" is very limited and I think if I reduce it anymore this will be unsustainable). I was pleased with that decision as an example if being gentle with my self. But then in terms of covering it this month I decided to take it out of the play money because I can't bear the though of changing the bottom line I recorded yesterday as my starting point. I was pleased to have that thought as early proof of just how committed I am to this. A week ago my response would have been "the debt is huge - what's a little more" but today my perspective is that increasing the debt is totally unacceptable.

So I read the beginning of the book today - the intro sections and Day 1. I had done my ARC a few days ago but added a couple and thought I would share them with you now. So ...
If I learn to live within my means I will be able to:
- own my own home one day;
- save time by being able to just pay bills when they arrive rather than scrabbling to negotiate extensions of time and "robbing Peter to pay Paul" within my personal banking
- model financial responsibility for my children (though that ain't no guarantee for their future as my parents were very frugal and look how I turned out)
- Reduce stress in my life
- discover lots of fun activities in life that are free or low cost
- live more sustainably and be kinder to my planet
- support charities and causes I believe in
- make professional and career decisions based on passion and interest only (I do mostly do this, but sometimes there have been avenues I have wanted to explore that have been closed to me because I was too cash strapped to join in)
- know that if a REAL crisis happens in my life I will be able to get myself or my loved ones the help they need
- be able to retire at a reasonable age
- be able to visit beloved family members who live overseas
- be able to send my kids to private school in their later years if it is needed
- avoid money undermining my relationship with my partner (it hasn't so far, but it could)
- feel good when I resist spending on stuff I don't need
- save time by not having to argue with myself about whether to buy stuff I don't need
- save time by not surfing the web hunting for the latest thing I don't need

Thanks for listening. Hopefully tomorrow I will have a chance to read Day 2.
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Old 12-20-2013, 02:59 PM   #15
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ForMyGirls: Credit for really grabbing the bull by the horns with this in your finance area of your life. I returned to reading the book last night and taking some notes. I have always worked both of my "addictions" at the same time and it can be a real juggling act to say the least because for me one affects the other and so on.

I think the biggest credit that I can give myself regarding my present financial situation is simply to accept what is and not get into a lot of shaming and blaming. It is counterproductive for one thing and it ignores the good things that I am doing.

I really give myself lots of credit for being able to make the holidays special without a lot of extra (current) expense. We put up an artificial tree that we bought 10 years ago. My DH likes a live tree but it costs anywhere from $35+ (U.S. dollars). I have had ornaments for decades so all we ended needing to buy was some strings of lights. I think our total budget was under $10.

In my hey day, I bought some beautiful holiday-theme dinnerware that I like to use from Thanksgiving right to New Year's. It just helps make things seem a little more special. Then, when the Great Recession hit the U.S. and especially here where I live a lot of people who were middle class starting selling or donating a lot of their "extras" to second hand stores. I bought some of the nicest crystal glassware for $1 a glass. It was unreal. A lot of that got scooped up right away so there isn't the "inventory" that there once was but Post-Recession a lot of really good second hand stores etc. popped up in areas where they simply wouldn't have been "wanted" before. For someone like myself who is on a very tight budget, it has allowed me to shop (when I can afford it) and get that "thrill" without busting my piggy bank.

Since I am the "financial manager" in our two-person household, I insisted that we go to a couple of holiday events that were very spendy for us. ($20 a person for each event) I think I had hit a wall where I just said, "we have had our white rice days" now we need to bring some good cheer in. Yes, I didn't pay a non-essential bill to be able to do so but I am not apologizing. It was a real psychological boost for us. IMHO, I feel that while a person is both going through and moving beyond a rough time, it does help to allow oneself a treat here and there. It helps a person then knuckle down knowing that someday it won't be this bad and things will get better.

Take care, Pam

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