Debt! How can one small four letter word cause so much stress and anxiety? Why can I not escape from the clutches of seemlessly endless debt? I don’t live in an over priced home, I don’t take lavish vaations or spend ridiculous amounts of money on clothing. Yet here I am with $40,000 of debt, and I have no idea how I will ever get out of it.
Money has been the biggest stresser in my life for as far back as I can remember. I was the oldest of three kids with a single mom working for minimum wage. My dad did not pay child support, and we were frequent visitors to the food bank.
Growing up with little to no money, there is always the worry of “what if”. Although it was never my mother’s intention, her stress over money was shared by us kids. I hated seeing her cry when she didn’t know how she was going to pay rent. I wanted to make it ok for her, but what could I do as a child.
You would think growing up poor, a person would grow up to be responsible with their money. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. I had no role model to teach me how to manage money, because there was never money to manage. When you are poor, you spend every dime you have and hope there is enough to get by.
As an adult I have made so many mistake when it comes to spending. I don’t spend my money on big expensive items; I spend mine on the little things. $5 coffees every morning, books, occasional dinners out, drinks after work… the list goes on. I’ve made attempts to curb my spending, to no avail. On top of the stress that debt brings, I feel angry at myself for my inability to change.
I consolidate my debt, only to rack it up again. I put myself on a budget and end up spending more than I did before the budget. I get a better job with higher pay, and I spend more. On what? I have no clue. I blame it on high prices of necessities, such as, heat, food, rent, vehicle insurance and repairs, grooming products, telephone, internet. This all adds up when you are single and only have one source of income. I make a medium wage, but life seems so expensive. Maybe I spend so much because of how little we had growing up. If only I knew why I can’t stop spending, then maybe I could change it.
Most of the time I try not to think about debt; it is just “is what it is”. However, when a big repair bill pops up, my anxiety goes through the roof. When friends complain about their measly credit card statement, I feel ashamed of my financial situation. I can go months without worry until something triggers me – and then I panic. I lay awake a night chiding myself at the mess I feel I’m in. I become frustrated unable to find an immediate solution. I know that a forced budget would make a difference, but I’m not good at this. I know it – I don’t know how to fix it. One thing I am good at is making sure I pay my bills. My loan payments go through, and I pay my bills before the statement date. So for that I am thankful.
With most other parts of my life, I am so determined. I make things happen even when I’m afraid. Debt is the one thing I cannot seem to get a handle on. This is who I am; this is my weakness. I dream of a day when I can face the challenge of overcoming this obsticle. A day when I can budget accordingly and save appropriately. Until then, I will do the best I can and stay hopeful for personal growth with regards to my finances.