Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Things I know: by a debt-ridden financial jackass

Four years ago, the process would go as follows: I'd grab a neat stack of receipts and bills and decend into the basement and sit down at the computer. Cut to three hours later: I bang up the steps like a lurching Quasimodo, trailing pieces of reciepts and literally pulling at my hair and screaming, "How the #$@! can I be $33,000 dollars in credit card debt?!" Bianaca would kindheartedly put down the magazine she was reading and silently watch as I wailed and thrashed on the living room floor, slamming my head against the hardwood.

Today I'm now "only" $19,000 in debt. Thanks to Bianca's help, I was able to stem the bleeding and feel as if I'm on the road to recovery. And here is where I'd like to share something that has helped me tremendously: the debit card/Quicken/no cash combo. These days I don't carry cash. None. When I touch a buck or a fin it's like touching something exotic, like money from New Zealand. Everything I pay for is paid by debit card, comes directly out of my checking account and when I get home, all receipts get put in immediately. Everything is accounted for in Quicken; no more disappearing cash. Is it embarrassing sometimes to be a grown man and not have cash on me? Absolutely. Has it made for some stressful situations? You bet. But I look at it this way: I don't HAVE any cash. All money that passes through my hands that does not go to bills belongs to the rat bastard credit card companies.

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