How do I stop obsessing over my finances?
May 4, 2009 7:47 AM Subscribe
The closer I get to finishing this debt off, the more it seems to bother me. Help?
posted by Raze2k to Work & Money (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
About four or five years ago I took on a rather sizeable debt that I've nearly paid off a couple of times, only to repeatedly find myself back in a similar situation (though thankfully on a smaller scale). Each time that I've consolidated my debts, I've continued using one or more credit cards and have inevitably fallen into the same traps; one card starts to creep up, so I switch to another thinking it'll be easier to pay off the first if it's got a lower balance, and from there I spiral into disaster. The previous attempt to settle this was dashed as I entered into a relationship that initially brought with it far too many visits to local restaurants and eateries.
Fast forward to today. I've reeled in spending significantly; we cook at home a lot more often, more rarely eat at restaurants (at most once a week, down from four or five), and I brown-bag lunch at work (whereas I'd once upon a time spent anywhere from $15 to 20 at local delis). I drive less frequently, although overall I don't think our quality of life has changed much. I don't often shoot down activities on the basis of their cost; we've adjusted accordingly (she's in a similar financial predicament, though more a result of school loans) and enjoy eachother's company enough that nights at home are well spent and thoroughly enjoyable.
Of my four credit cards, I've paid off two entirely, a third is nearly paid off (under $100) and the fourth carries a large balance (around $5500), most of which is the result of earlier consolidation with 0% APR until October. I'm gainfully employed so paying this off along with my other bills does not seem like an insurmountable task. I've been working on paying off my credit cards one at a time, mostly for morale, but I've noticed that I've been focused far too much on these finances. I keep a running spreadsheet of all of my upcoming payments and bills and have charted this out until mid-August, around which time I think I'll be able to pay off the last credit card and finally return to paying each month in full (or possibly switching entirely over to cash or debit).
In the meantime, this remaining debt vexes me and I check my spreadsheet dozens of times a day, searching for any way which would allow me to pay off the debt sooner. I've resorted to selling various things on craigslist, including my home PC and home audio system (a pretty big deal for a software engineer by trade). Anything to help pay this down sooner. I haven't slept very soundly in months and I can't help but think that's related. Any suggestions on how I might go about stopping this obsession with my finances? I'd love to get the satisfaction of closing the other cards, as if that'd be some kind of silly moral victory, but I've read about the issues with that. So here I am with far too much credit, too much debt, and a calendar telling me I'll still be staring at debt for the next couple of months. The closer I get to finishing this off, the more it seems to bother me. Help?