Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Money makes the world go around

Money is really hard to talk about. I had a conversation with S about it this weekend and broke down in tears. We weren't really even talking about much. S asked me to imagine how much more I would like to earn in this next year.

In talking about it, he asked how high my debt was. I only told him the credit card amount, but it was incredibly difficult. We figured out how much I would have to earn extra to pay off the balance of the credit cards in 5 years. The amount seemed huge to me. But the reality is that it isn't that huge.

I could, if I really wanted to get serious about this, go back to working 5 days a week at the dialysis center (I now work 4 days) and easily make the additional amount I want to earn. But I feel so resistant to doing this.

But look at this, I'm getting away from money and talking about the job. This is how it seems to go. I avoid thinking about the core issue of money. I don't like to talk about it. I don't like to pay too close attention to it.

I've been reading Romancing the Shadow about looking at your shadow side issues. Money is definitely one that I inherited from my family. I kept getting flashes, as I was reading the money section, about different things: finding a bank book with my name on it that my parents had started, then emptied. They never saved for me again and, in fact, were so in debt themselves when I started college that the idea that they would help me as they helped my sister was not even entertained.

When they filed bankruptcy and even before when they were so in debt they were selling off silver coins and silverware that they owned, we were never to mention any of this around my paternal grandfather. I'm not sure what would have happened, except I'm pretty sure that my father would have died of shame. And that summer before bankruptcy, they never answered the phone. If I did and it was a creditor, I would lie and say that my parents were not home...soon I wasn't answering the phone either. I didn't like seeing my dad cry.

And then there was my own shit. I had the experience of having my money bullied out of me in jr. high. The shame of that is painful. The idea that I was afraid of telling someone is incredibly frustrating to me now. It's not like I didn't have proof in letters that she had given me. But all the money that I'd earned delivering magazines with my parents (who'd taken the job to pay off loans for my sister's education) all went away.

And, oh boy, did I not realize how angry I was about them paying for part of my sister's (failed) education while I never had any help paying for any of mine.

And now I have a gross amount of debt. I pay more on my credit cards each month than I do on my rent. That's pretty awful, considering that I live in the Bay Area. And I have a really hard time making and keeping to a budget. I'm trying to do better, but no one teaches you these things. And try finding out about them without spending money at various internet sites. It's so amazingly ironic.

Okay, I have to stop now...this is a long enough post and I have a full day of work ahead of me still. Any money stories you'd like to share?

1 comment:

vesta44 said...

This isn't a money story, but it's how I finally learned to stick to a budget (and my computer was the main helper there). I created a spreadsheet with all of my bills on it. The name of the creditor was one column, the date due was next, the amount due was next, and then a column for marking paid when I sent off the check. I have this set up on a monthly basis. So I basically know exactly how much I owe each month, when it's due, and based on my (our, DH and mine) income, I know how much money we have left over for gas in the cars and groceries and any incidentals (I also have one line set aside for savings, so that is figured in with the bills). I just make sure that all the bills are paid before I spend anything else. It's not easy to do, especially as much as I like spending money on books, but it's easier to do if I have that spreadsheet to look at.