by Molly Jo Realy @RealMojo68
Money’s a touchy subject, right? As in,
DON’T TOUCH MY MONEY!
You work hard for it, only to have five cents left three seconds after you get paid.
Now, I know I’ve given y’all a few tips for saving a little here and there, but it’s been a while since I’ve taken you down my road to credit recovery. What is it about soul-baring posts that brings us closer together? Is is the security of knowing we’re not alone? That others are in the same boat? Yes. At least, for me.
It happened when I heard another ad on the radio. You know the ones I’m talking about. Refinance your house. Get this low-interest credit card. Let us consolidate your loans. The one that really got my attention was for a payday loan. I was seriously considering it until I did the math. I don’t mean the three-figure interest rate. I mean, how many people like me were listening to that ad at that moment?
Let me again remind you: I am not a finance professional. I hold no advisory license, and the information in this post is only what has worked for me, and what I would share with a close friend over a cup of coffee. My treat, of course.
So when the wolves are howling and you’re sleeping in quicksand, here are few things I’ve learned that have helped oooch things out of the red.
- Accept the reality. Believe it or not, this was the really hard one for me. I wanted to think I wasn’t a statistic, that my situation was so unique that as soon as everyone heard, surely Robin Hood would come to my rescue and my bankbook would be saved without ransom. Yeah. That didn’t happen. I had to really hunker down and take note of my own deficits and at times, lack of budgeting skills. Then I learned, and re-learned, what I can and can’t do and came up with a viable plan.
- Stay accountable. I don’t mean that as a play on words, but there it is anyway. There are several ways to conquer this. For me, each step working together weaves a stronger fabric that has helped me recover my finances. First, I write things out. In the current climate of instant digital access, it’s so easy for me to glance at my iPhone and think, “Budget’s done!” but let’s be real. That ain’t nothin’ but a scapegoat and an excuse. Once I started really using my Happy Planner Budget, I saw not only where my money should go, but also where it was going. Can someone say, “Ouch!”? It wasn’t pretty, not always. But a good dose of reality helps me stay on track. I also stayed accountable by sharing the dirty details of my situation with my family, and with the creditors. Which brings me to the next item.
- Communicate. I know y’all have heard me harp on this like angels in a concert, but honestly. Be honest! If you can’t pay it, say it! When I get to the point of stop pretending everything’s okay, people heard me. I mean, I had a woman pray over my finances with me. And she was a collections agent! Who even does that?! I’m a huge proponent of saying it like it is. This is two-fold: 1. My financial story doesn’t change from month to month when they ask why I still can’t pay the full amount. 2. They’re more willing to work with you when you explain your circumstances.
- Evaluate. Now, I know a lot of credit recovery education suggests different ways of paying this bill first, or roll the savings into that one. I’m not gonna tell you how to pay off your bills. It’s personal! I understand the value of paying the smallest bill first and getting it out of the way. But I also see knocking out the high interest. I had to sit down and really go through the papers (and phone calls) to figure out the best option for me. You can, too! Yes, you really can! It takes a little brain power, a little solitude. But you can conquer your budget!
- Accept the reality. Yeah, I know. I already said this. Well, think of this as your muffaletta sandwich, okay? The bread is the same but you have a top and a bottom. The other tips are the ohmygosh filling. This slice of bread is the foundation. It may get a little soggy, but it’s still holding the food together, right? So here’s the important thing to remember. Are you listening? This one took me forever to realize, but here it is:
You’re not perfect. Your budget doesn’t have to be. Your credit doesn’t have to be.
I’ve had to watch as my credit tanked, but I’ve also enjoyed seeing it climb back up. It’s a long road and sometimes the roller coaster is out of my control. But I’m still riding it, and it ain’t over yet.
Whatever your credit situation, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. That radio ad and television spot for a quick fix? Don’t do it. It’s not aimed at you. You’re smarter than that. It may be a long, difficult road, and it may never lead to a mansion and fancy cars. But trust me, it’s worth it. There’s a personal satisfaction of putting effort into doing what you can do. And if it doesn’t turn out the way you hope, at least you tried. I’m proud of you for that!
You can be your own hero. You can find a way. It may not be the way you want, and it may not be easy. But at least it’s yours.
What are some ways you work toward better credit?
And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!