Bad Credit.

You know me, right? You know when I usually put up a title it has a different or double meaning. So when you read “bad credit” I’m sure you’re thinking, She can’t really mean ‘bad credit’. It must be some trick word usage like ‘bad’ as in ‘sick’ or ‘awesome’ and ‘credit’ like those things that roll at the end of a movie. That’s it. This Girl saw an awesome movie and she’s gonna tell us all about it.

So, while that’s a fantastic interpretation of how my mind works at times, and maybe in the future I’ll use it as such, this post really is about just that: bad credit.

Here’s the not-so-secret secret. I have struggled with debt and bad credit for the better part of the last twenty-five years. Why am I telling you this? Because I recently discovered something awesome:

I am not alone.

I am not alone.

For a really long time ~ and by really, I mean really ~ I felt like I was. And it wasn’t until I started to share my story with people outside my family that the fog of shame and self-imposed stigma started to lift.

I felt ugly. I was having screaming matches with the people who love me and who have, for the better part of these years, helped me in some form or another. My self-worth tanked every time the phone identified “Call from Unavailable.” I was jealous when Facebook told me how others ate out and went to movies. Here I was trying to decide between cat food, a gallon of milk, or a little more gas in the car.

Sure, things weren’t always horrific. I had good seasons that included Disneyland passes, trips to the bookstore, and last year’s writing conferences. Every payday I allowed myself a McDonald’s meal and a Starbucks. But those sparkling gems were few and far between.

Most of the time, I was waking up with anxiety. I’m not saying I grew anxious as the day went on. I’m saying, I woke up that way. I would go through bouts of not being able to drink coffee or eat breakfast because my stomach was in tumbles. I unplugged the phone at home just to get some peace and quiet. I was feeling sick, tired, worn out.

I WAS DONE.

There has to be a way out, right? Or was I destined to always feel like this? Do I attract debt? The answer is yes. And no. There were quite a few circumstances out of my control that contributed to my building debt. And there are habits that keep me there.

Unemployment, medical bills from several ~ and by several, I mean twelve ~ car accidents (never my fault, thank you for your concern), and the loss of child support when Dot turned eighteen. All these led steadily to the demise of what I like to call, my free money.

As much as I tightened the belt, I was just in over my head, upside down, sideways, and very, very shaken.

The triggering event was a radio commercial for debt relief. I was amazed at how they knew just what my situation was and how a quick loan would help me immediately.

Microphone, empty chair. Is this thing on?

Is This Thing On?

For about eight seconds I thought of calling. Then I jumped off that horse and put the phone down.

I mean, can you imagine what the interest rate must be on a quick loan with no credit check? [Hint: Way more than I could ever pay back.] And if there’s no credit check, what do they use for collateral? Employment verification, I think. Maybe a vehicle. Well, I certainly wouldn’t want them calling my boss if I was ten minutes late on a payment. Or taking my awesome little putt-putt away. Let’s face it: I’m already late on payments. Shifting debt from one source to another doesn’t alleviate the problem. It just shifts it. That’s why this commercial got my attention.

And then something else got my attention. The realization that I wasn’t the only one who had heard that commercial. I don’t live in a metropolis, and a lot of people don’t listen to the radio. But even so, if just a fraction of the population heard that commercial and thought of calling, how many others must feel there’s no way out from under the debt storm?

You know the old saying. When it rains, it pours. We usually say that when negative things happen. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could pay attention to the storm of sunshine when it comes? What if, instead of hiding under dark umbrellas, they were fun, bright little things sticking out of our drinks in paradise? Or, turned upside down, and we could use them to collect pennies from heaven?

Every time it rains, it rains pennies from Heaven.

Every time it rains, it rains pennies from Heaven.

My plan is to share with you in future posts how I am overcoming my debt. I’ll be transparent about what works and doesn’t work for me. No, you don’t get to see my financials. That part is none of your business, but thanks for asking.

I’m also not a debt collector, licensed life coach, credit counselor or financial adviser. So here’s the disclaimer part: Any post relating to getting out of debt or managing money is strictly my personal experience and observances. I share them to let others know

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

I share them to give hope. There’s power in the knowledge that even though it looks like things are getting darker, there’s always some form of light.

There's still a lighthouse.

There’s still a lighthouse.

Here’s the thing: It does get better. I promise. You can learn different habits, discover hidden treasures, use what you didn’t know were assets.

The Unemployment Cookbook is the blessed result of needing to feed my small family with a small amount of groceries. Little did I know at the time I started creating these changeable recipes that it would start me on the road to self-publishing and turn into a constant seller.

The Unemployment Cookbook, Second Edition

The Unemployment Cookbook, Second Edition

I hope you start to count the sunrises each day, and find lots of pennies on your journey to paying down your debt.

I didn’t mean for this post to be just a teaser, but it’s already pretty long so the next part will have to wait.

I’d love to read comments and questions from you:

  • Are you struggling with debt?
  • Do you have any advice that can help others?
  • What are your thoughts on money?

And if you feel that your debt is going to swallow you whole, if it is consuming the lifeblood from you, please please please talk to someone. It’s okay to be in debt. Nearly everyone is, one way or another. It’s how you treat it, how you take care of it, that matters.

But know this:

Not being able to pay your debts does not make you a failure. It takes a hundred pennies to make a dollar. Start slow. Don’t expect miracles. Your debt didn’t happen overnight. Neither will the solution. Stay the course. And fill that jar.

Pennies in a jar.

My Penny Jar

You’ll get there.

Finally, because I thing the world needs more upside down umbrellas and happy songs, I leave you with some snazzy tap dancing. Enjoy.

Like what you read? Share it!
Tweet: Not being able to pay your debts does not make you a failure. #Badcredit #credit #debt #countyourpennies @realmojo68 http://ctt.ec/c75Je+Tweet this: Not being able to pay your debts does not make you a failure. #badcredit #credit #debt #countyourpennies @realmojo68

Tweet: It takes a hundred pennies to make a dollar. #badcredit #credit #debt #countyourpennies @realmojo68 http://ctt.ec/54zq7+Tweet this: It takes a hundred pennies to make a dollar. #badcredit #credit #debt #countyourpennies @realmojo68

Tweet: Your debt didn’t happen overnight. Neither will the solution. #badcredit #credit #debt #countyourpennies @realmojo68 http://ctt.ec/KQdra+Tweet this: Your debt didn’t happen overnight. Neither will the solution. #badcredit #credit #debt #countyourpennies @realmojo68

And Frankly, My Dear . . . that’s all she wrote!

Almost an Empty Nester

Life at Bedford Manor is changing. Dot starts her second year of college this week. College! While some of her friends are going away to school, we can only afford for her to attend the local community college. Turns out, it may be the best decision anyway because it has one of the best nursing programs in the state. Yup. Dot’s gonna be the greatest Peds Nurse since Arizona entered Grey’s Anatomy.

So far we’ve navigated nicely. While I’m working the day job, she’s been taking care of the home front. Last week she earned her keep by nearly scrubbing every inch of our house in preparation for the jewelry party we hosted. Since then, we’ve both done much to keep it clean: wash our own dishes right away. Make the beds as soon as we tumble out of them. Dust the furniture when the furfamily moves. It’s been wonderful.

I love coming home to a clean ~ really clean ~ house. I like not having a huge list of chores to conquer. Just a short To-Do like check the mail, water the garden. Things that cumulatively take less than fifteen minutes. That leaves the entire evening free to spend with Dot.

And that’s about to change.

Because my wonderful daughter, friend, confidante, and house-cleaner just got her first job. You may have seen the news on my Facebook page.

It’s one of those it-could-only-happen-to-her things. We were at the right place at the right time when she heard about the opening and landed the first interview. The rest was all her! Dot doesn’t realize how blessed she is. But she’s starting to understand.

I’ve been mentally preparing for a few months. I knew once she went back to classes our closeness would shift. She’ll be doing homework at night. Some mornings I might be lucky to just get in a hug goodbye as she leaves.

And now she’s got a job.

Which makes me wonder, what other good things will go her way this year? Is this the year she moves to her own place? (I seriously hope not, but if so, please please please let it be a place that allows cats. Fluffy can’t be without Dot for more than a few hours before that mad howling kicks in.) Is this the year she goes out more than stays home? I told her “home” is not a pit stop. But I can’t fault her for enjoying these moments while she can. Is this the year I lose her as my baby finds herself? Yeah. That’s the tear-jerker statement right there.

At first, the thought of her working made me lonely. I imagine there will be nights when I’ll be eating alone. Nights when she’ll call and say her best friend is in town and they’re going out after work. Mornings when she’ll want to sleep in that extra half hour instead of having a morning chat as I get ready for my day.

The thought of her working made me lonely.

But it exhilarates her. And her exhilaration is contagious. Her future is in front of her, and she’s grabbing hold.

And I’m not so lonely as I anticipate a quiet zone that allows for more writing. More story telling and blogging and typing and wordsmithing and writing. Yeah. This job is gonna be a good thing for me her.

A job ~ this job ~ means new people. Extra income. Opportunities. Socialization… and many Pumpkin Spice Lattes for Da Momma.

My Own Personal Barista

My Own Personal Barista

But don’t tell her that. She thinks this moment is all about her.

And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!