I met a goal but don't feel that great.
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  1. #1
    Registered User krbshappy71's Avatar
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    Default I met a goal but don't feel that great.

    Last year I set a goal that I would have my credit card paid down far enough to where I could pay it off with this year's tax return. I met my goal. I made huge payments every month, it was really difficult, but I don't feel very satisfied. I met my goal, shouldn't I be happy about that?

    I feel frustrated my entire tax return will go to the credit card. I feel scared I will just use it again this year. This past month I did sock away more money into the savings account but I catch myself "bleeding" money out of that account easily. It just doesn't feel very hands-off. With a click of the mouse I can transfer money from it to the checking and with a click of my mind I can justify it to myself.

    The credit card was a mixture of true emergencies and true splurges.

    I cut up the card, for now, but in the back of my mind I know I can just request a new one. I would close the account, but in the back of my mind I know it's very easy to just order a new card from any given company. How have some of you made that switch to cash-only FOR GOOD? I tried the envelope system in the past and tended to dip into it. Bah, I just don't feel very good about this upcoming year. Shouldn't I be feeling free?!

    Thanks for listening and any suggestions you may have.

  2. #2
    Registered User dcompton's Avatar
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    Changing long standing habits it hard, but it sounds like you are making progress. Is your savings account in the same bank so the transfer is almost instantaneous? If so, you might try moving it to an online savings account; then it would take several days to move in to the checking account - that can be a little cool down period. It would still be available when it got there, but your urge to spend it might have lessened.

    If you're just really down right now that your entire tax refund has to go to the card, why not hold out a little ... just a little... for a totally guilt free treat for yourself. You've done well paying off so much of it already. If you never give yourself a treat without feeling guilt over it, it is very hard to hang in for the long haul. Sometimes we actually do "deserve it."

    As for impulsively using the card again, I've heard of people who freeze it in a block of ice -- it has to melt out before they can use it for what they think they want to buy. (No cheating by nuking it, either!) Just make it, in some way, a little difficult to physically get hold of to use.

    Just a couple of ideas. I'm sure others will have many more.

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    Registered User Daisygirl's Avatar
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    I understand your trepidition. If I were you I would cancel the account with the company, not just chop up the card. That way it is a lot harder to get a new card.

    I got rid of my last (forever) credit card. I admit it, I can't be trusted. I always have one big splurge, the interest racks up, and YUCK! I will not go back to the plastic any time soon.

    As for being disspaointed about the tax return, I get it. Mine is going to a large bill as well. But think about the money you will NOT be spending in the future paying those bills. Isn't this little bit of deprivation worth all that freedom?

    Congratulations! You are one step closer to being debt-free!

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    Registered User frugal-fannie's Avatar
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    I think you are doing great. I agree with the poster who says long term habits take a while to break. You probably have given yourself a treat every tax time and this is the first year you are not. There is a thread somewhere on how to keep your self motivated. check it out. Reward yourself in small inexpensive ways. Maybe you need to focus on a goal after the debt is paid off such as saving for the emergency fund and then maybe fund a small get away or some other treat that you enjoy.before you get on to the next big goal of house,car or whatever it is.

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    Registered User kaykwilts's Avatar
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    You need to set up in the budget a category for blow money so you are not tempted to get into the snare of credit card debt again. Don't do it. You have made progress paying that card off. Don't undo what you have accomplished. Feel proud. If it makes you feel better don't pay it all off right now. Pay off the majority of it and use a tiny bit of the tax money on something you enjoy.

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    Registered User KJayEsq's Avatar
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    First of all...give yourself a pat on the back and some big time kudos for a job well done! You set out to achieve your goal and you did it. You finished what you started, which is something that 99.9% of people don't do.

    As for your concern about your spending, or slipping back into bad habits...I think that's normal. I'm thinking you should probably put your EF into a different type of account - one that's not linked to your checking account and one that you can't just access anytime you want to spend some money. That might curb the dipping into the EF.

    As for the cc...don't request another card and try to resist the urge to open another account.

    Trust in yourself - you are doing a good job!

  8. #7
    Registered User krbshappy71's Avatar
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    Thank you for the replies, *sigh!* I appreciate it.

    I never thought to have a different bank or location for the savings. I could keep the current savings account with a smaller amount in it, and keep the emergency fund somewhere else. (a trusted family member? another bank? I'll have to think on that one)

    I also do think you are all correct in that I don't actually have a goal, a next step. "emergency fund" is very vague, I should put an actual amount on that, and maybe up the amount each time I achieve my goal. (in smaller increments so I can feel that success...hmmm.) I think you are on to something, there! Maybe I should also divvy up what that emergency fund is for into categories such as "auto emergencies", "pet emergencies" and figure out a good amount for the categories. Then maybe it wont feel like I'm giving a chunk to one fund I'm not allowed to touch, but to several reasons that I know I need the money for.

    Thank you all for getting my brain jump started, I am going to take a deep breath and focus on the future instead of beating myself up over the past. I love this site, you are all so supportive.

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    It's been said changing habits is hard. With my first dh we had cc debit out the waa-zoo and when one day he up and said it was over I was like what am I gonna do? Well I certainly didn't take the cc's with me and after not working for years and raising kids I had to get a job that didn't pay well enough for me to use a cc and know it was going to need to be paid back Luckily for me I was too focused on just trying to get me and the kids back into some normal life that I didn't even realize I didn't need them. I think honestly if you will close the acct so it's not so easy eventually you will see the same. As far as using your taxes to pay if off just think when it's paid what you can do with the $$ you were paying to them and maybe of never got out from underneath them. Keep your chin up in the long run it's really better. Remember treating yourself once in a while, it doesn't mean you need to spend so much that you need the cc I'm so satisfied to just buy a tea at WM to treat myself.

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    I'm thinking what you might need is a good dose of frugal luxuries. I'm sure there's been several threads in the past on this topic. Basically, it sounds to me like you're feeling deprived. You need some ideas of things to do just for you that are free/cheap, and make you feel good about yourself. Check past threads and see what you come up with.

    I also second making the EF account harder to access. I ended up having it at a different bank, and DH has the access card to it. I can transfer money on-line, but it takes awhile. That helps me.

    I also agree that having set goals to work towards helps. DH doesn't seem to need any. He just plain doesn't spend money...period. Or else he totally blows it because he doesn't have a goal. I need realistic goals, or I'm always dribbling money away.

    Good luck!

    Jean

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    Registered User krbshappy71's Avatar
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    After doing some brainstorming I have come up with a few goals. This has really helped brighten my mood, just as you all predicted, it helped me focus on the future and what I want it to look like:

    1st--save up $1,000 EF (I am already at $800 so this one will be a quick-rewarding one that I can achieve and feel success at right away)

    2nd--start a second savings fund for a vacation that my guy and I discussed for next year. I will break the total amount needed down into monthly amounts so I can see the progress.

    3rd--keep increasing by $1,000 my goal amount on the EF so I don't shove everything into that vacation fund and then get bummed out if an emergency comes along and I feel I am having to dip into that fund. I think having that EF built up will give me the sense of security I need to let go of my fears of not having the credit cards. Maybe give myself a small reward each time I hit a $1,000 goal? (I should think up an amount for this reward, also, so I don't blow too much money when that time comes along)

    4th--Keep that price book! I diligently worked on it today and was shocked at how much some of the items cost per unit. Do I really need THAT cereal? That fruit that wasn't in season or could I have chosen a different snack that is? What an eye-opener, thank you Frugal Village people for that tool! I had read about it in Tightwad Gazette but never created one until now.

  12. #11

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    Default ugh! finances

    That's so difficult. Good for you on paying the card off. I find if I just don't think about having it, then I won't use it unless I absolutely have to. It's definitely easy to just splurge...but no one needs to do that. I've also found having a monthly budget and income statement help generously.

    Best luck with the future. Be proud you paid it off! It's no longer hanging over your head!

  13. #12
    Registered User mommy4ever's Avatar
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    Since you're paying off your LAST cc. How about starting Freedom account?

    This works kinda like the EF, but different. Most things aren't really a true emergency. A blown out tire is bound to happen eventually, eventually an alternator on the car will go, or a hotwater heater in the house. Etc. These are not true emergencies, but maintenance items. A pet gets sick, not planned, but it's a living being, it's bound to happen at some point. A Freedom account is setting a budget for those occasional expenses that come up.

    Mine has school fees, sport fees, auto maintenance, house maintenance, clothes and pet fund. Figure out how much you need, and divide by either how many months or pay periods and deposit that monthly. Then you have that fund ready, your vacation fund can be alloted in the Freedom account as well. You can see it grow, for some people a baby or wedding fund need a spot too. Illness fund(prescriptions and co=pays), this isn't really an emergency for the ear infectiosn and strep, the "normal" things we catch, a heart attack WOULD be an emergency.

    If we plan for the "unexpected" we really run out of real emergencies. There would only be a few, job layoff, major illnesses, car accidents(the deductible could be put in the EF though).

    Just a thought.

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    Registered User mommy4ever's Avatar
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    BTW WOOHOOOO on the last card about to be paid off!!!!

  15. #14
    Registered User krbshappy71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mommy4ever View Post
    Since you're paying off your LAST cc. How about starting Freedom account?

    If we plan for the "unexpected" we really run out of real emergencies. There would only be a few, job layoff, major illnesses, car accidents(the deductible could be put in the EF though).

    Just a thought.
    You are so right, so much of "emergency fund" is really going to things that are not emergencies, they are LIFE. I have four dogs, vet appointments are standard, not emergencies. Yet I sock away money into what I consider the emergency fund only to get frustrated when I have to pull out of it. I get bummed when the account dips lower. I need to see it with more flexibility than that. I need to enjoy the fact that when I turned to the fund for those situations the money was there, compared to the years when it wasn't. I need to build it up so it will still be there, so I wont turn to the credit card instead.
    Great suggestion!

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    Registered User mommy4ever's Avatar
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    You still need an EF built up. Or Contingency fund, for those times when income might stop or major expenses that we can't plan for. That should sit untouched. But make a freedom account too. It's more of a planned spending savings account. Then you'll STILL see your EF fund grow, but have accessible money for those "irregular" regular payments..lol.

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