Monday, July 16, 2007

One To Grow On

My Crafty Side Business, which I use primarily for debt destruction, is experiencing major growing pains. I'm being approached by stores that want to carry my little crafty things, I have no social life as I'm constantly trying to stay on top of custom's mad. If I weren't in debt, I'd be able to quit my 9 to 5 and have a wonderful time making what I want. But...I am in debt, so it means I'm working essentially two full-time jobs (Take a moment here and wipe your eyes - I know, I'm a little choked up as well. Poor Basil...). I don't even know my own fiancee anymore. Plus I'm in a transitional stage with the Crafty Side Business where I'm Trying To Take It To The Next Level, which of course means spending money to make money. Errrgh. It was so simple in the beginning, just selling stuff and all the money going to debt. Now I'm actually having to do calculations, profit projections...

On another note, I've been thinking about something lately. Having been in the blogo-verse for a while now, I've noticed tons of articles about frugality, how to get out of debt, etc. What I'm not seeing much of is, what's behind all of this, all these people waking up tens of thousands of dollars in debt? What's the mass psychology behind this problem, which, as I found out here on the Intra-nets, is a massive one (and tied to America's fat problem, I'm certain)? Why aren't we dealing with the psychology? Is it because we don't want to face it directly? Is it too complicated? What's causing college educated people to wake up one day and say to themselves, "F--k me, I'm thirty thousand dollars in debt?"

That's for another time. But it's a valid question, and I think if properly asked and adressed on a massive scale would paint the world we live in in much more menacing tones than the bright colors and shiny plastic would have us believe.


FrugalBabe said...

I've wondered the same thing as I read the blogs here in pf land. In our situation, we were painfully aware of our mounting debt while we were getting our little business off the ground, but we were sure we could make it work, so we kept plodding forward. But it killed me to see our debt growing every day. And I did see it every day. I have no idea how people wake up one day and all of a sudden realize that they have huge piles of debt. I guess it's a combination of a huge number of people with an "I deserve it" mentality (weddings are a great example), a constant push to keep up with the Jonses, and a denial of the fact that lots of little purchases can still add up to a huge amount of debt.
Good luck with your crafty business!!

English Major said...

Congratulations on the growth of your crafty side business! Just think--when you're out of debt, you really could quit your "real" job and just do fun things all day long. For money. What a lovely prospect!

I also don't really understand how one "wakes up" in debt. Debt scares the bejeezus out of me, and I know that if I were getting into it, I'd think about it all the time. The only two scenarios I can envision are these:
1) The anxiety about debt somehow takes the place of productive action (to extend your metaphor, this, I would argue, is akin to America's diet obsession), or
2) A college student doesn't really understand what s/he's getting into when s/he takes out student loans, and then suddenly has payments to make.

Claire in CA said...

I think it's different for different people. The college student *assumes he/she will be making GOBS of money with his/her first job, and that debt will be well worth it, and easy to pay off. Grown-ups know better, of course.

Frugal Babe hit the nail on the head. Entitlement is a nasty, nasty thing. That was my problem, for which I am now paying. The worse part is seeing how my attitude affected my now the backpedaling begins!

Patti said...

You're absolutely right. I'm working on such a post as we speak. It might take a while, but I'm working on it.

scribbleSF said...

i am not sure that people just wake up one day and realize they are in debt. a lot of people are in debt for different reasons and see it coming. maybe optimism and the belief that their income will grow in the future keeps the debt temporarily out of mind.

glad that you are working toward an enjoyable profession with your side business. just make sure you no longer have debt and have some money saved before you make it your day job.

one of the reasons we have debt and other creative friends we know have debt is that we use our credit cards for our work. often, opportunities come up out of nowhere and expenses for projects, travel and promotion can't wait until we have the cash. or i should say we don't want to turn down the opportunity. it's easy not to pay the balance in full. if something unexpected happens or money is slow and you can't pay as much as you were planning, those balances will grow fast and you will be in debt.

good luck with your biz and keep with your frugal lifestyle.

Basil Bizarro said...

Here lies the rub of addressing any issue involving human beings - there will of course be exceptions to every statement or opinion involving more than one person.

I had found, surely before I even started this blog, that there were indeed quite a few people who "woke up" one morning and were stunned at the level of debt they were in. And of course there's a myriad of ways to get yourslef into debt. But the bottom line is somewhere along the line we bought into the thought that it was okay to use money we didn't have with the thought that our future selves were going to somehow come up with the money to pay it back. Whether it's for work or for play it's gotten a heap of people into a lot of trouble.

There's something wrong with the psychology we're using here, and what I'm interested in is, what's the common thread that has allowed people of all education backgrounds to get in these completely life-altering (and oftentimes devastating) messes. I've heard many a simple answer on sites frequented by the fiscally healthy that basically says, "You're in debt because you're stupid," but is that it? Or is it, like the rest of life, more complicated than that? That's what I'm interested in exploring.

It would be hard to address a far-reaching question if you took into account every person's unique personal story. The bottom line is the same - we took money that wasn't ours and are finding it difficult (for whatever reasons) to pay it off.

Nick said...

Great question. I woke up 70k in debt early this year and had to do something about it.

Good luck with your side business!