Friday, August 20, 2010

Debt, stupid, stupid me and debt

A friend emailed me the other day to see how things were.  This particular friend is one who also had issues with never quite keeping on budget and seeming to constantly be getting out loans to cover something or another and is one of those I have always been most open with about my own problems.  We have spent many hours going over various strategies and outlining in detail what we're doing, where we're going wrong, what new things we've tried etc., etc.  She finally cleared her debt (except for mortgage) last year and I was delighted to celebrate with her.  She mentioned that this month she has been making renewed efforts to make sure they stick to their budget and so they are doing so but have very little left spare.  Which led me to a rant about my own dire situation this month and she asked me what I had been spending money on to end up in this situation again.  And I really didn't know what to say because while there are one or two bigger expenses I can't think of what will account for the two thousand euro I have managed to build up on my credit card this year.  I had been planning on writing this post today anyway as I have been mulling my general situation over since talking with her and then, while checking my archives to see when I made the mincemeat for the post below, I noticed that at the end of February was the first time I actually wrote up the figures for what I owe on my credit card and overdraft.  I know how much it is now but would honestly have thought that it was much higher then already.  So I really have built up 2k of debt since February plus another nearly two hundred on my overdraft.  Which leads me to think that my idea of what to do this weekend will be a very good exercise.

It's funny.  I don't want to turn this into a personal finance blog but it is all part of my life (quite a big part of my life) so it all has to be in here really.  And while I don't want to necessarily publish much more personal information, I know that the blogs I most enjoy reading, especially when it comes to PF blogs are the ones which really go into the nitty gritty.  So in the hopes that nobody I know has actually ever found this blog, I'm going to post a bit more about my finances.

And where I am going to start is by dragging out my credit card statements since February to see exactly what I have spent this money on.  Here's what I think I will find:

  • Quite a few book purchases, most of which did not need to be made.  But when ordering whatever book we're reading in bookclub that month I have frequently fallen into the trap of just seeing what else is on offer as well.
  • Two large-ish amounts for car hire and petrol for the times when I helped my friend move (once from the north coast to my place and then a couple of weeks later from my place down to the Black Forest). I will probably get this money back some day but I knew it wouldn't happen in the short-term.
  • Train ticket to France in May
  • I think I took cash out once as well
  • Money for the deposit on my brother's internet access which he has not yet been able to pay me back.
That's all I can think of and in no way makes up two grand so it will be interesting to see where the other dribs and drabs purchases were made.  Much of it will be stress-related, comfort shopping I suspect.  Surprising as that's not really something I'm inclined to do very often.  Or maybe I just think I'm not inclined to do it very often which is part of the reason I'm in debt now!

I have been considering getting a second job just to be able to earn a bit extra in an attempt to get this debt down before I go crazy but I double-checked my contract yesterday and I am specifically excluded from taking on any additional work.  It's quite a strongly worded clause so for the moment I am forgetting that idea and I will see what else I can come up with instead. 

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