….with money. I have these weekly to-do list that start or end with something that I’ve had on a previous list that I contemplate regularly. The last 5 list have included my “budget”. Reviewing it, changing it, updating it, until this morning – I completely scrapped it. Let’s talk about it, because I’m ready. I hinted most of this blog that I have money issues, I mean who doesn’t? But the issues that I claimed my own, weren’t actually my own, and I decided this last year.
Most of my views about not wanting marriage and family were deep rooted in finances, a partner that never failed to remind me that my debt would one day be the destruction of him and I – if I didn’t figure out how to manage it all, and doubt that made it hard to see a future with anyone let alone with myself. For what it’s worth, his views of money were healthier than mine, well we both come from different places and learning this early on this in that relationship, shaped me.
I spent the last 10 years drowning in what ifs that I only planned for what I believed I could accomplish. I hid behind lies about my debt because I was afraid to face it. Anytime the “money” conversation came up, it caused shutdowns, different numbers, avoidance, and ultimately break-ups. Somewhere between I’m tired of it and I want to be married, I gave in.
It all started last August when I wanted to attend the Los Angeles County Fair and my partner straight up told me NO. No’s from him were regular but when I offered to take care of entry, parking, and food, the NO didn’t make sense to me. He sat me down and showed me his spreadsheet budget – the same exact one I’d been using for a year now – and taught me a new way to look at money (he knew he’d spend and needed a break from spending to rebuild his cashflow). Before using a spreadsheet, I wrote out everything but wasn’t tracking spending same. Since, I’ve been able to see where every dollar goes, including all the caramel ice coffees from McDonalds I only have in the summer months. Ironically, most of my blogging buddies live outside of New York City. So, allow me to put this into perspective, it’s easy to spend $50 in a DAY living in this city. I work right off wall street where you’ll pass a juice or breakfast cart with tempting desires for a smoothie paired with a pecan Danish, and we haven’t discussed lunch, it is what it is. But bigger than spending, was the debt I already had.
I’m a recession kid. I was in my second year of undergrad, both my parents were drowning since losing their jobs, just rebuilt the home in Jamaica for my father’s mother to spend her final days, than planning the fourth family funeral, which included my father’s mother shortly after burying my mother’s mother, house in foreclosure, my sisters private school tuition over due, here I was – accessible to a private loans. Unbeknownst to me at the time (the amount), I signed the pages, submitted to the bank and received $60,000. Over the years I figured out that the money went to most of the problems above. Later that $60,000 would turn into $75,000 that I’d become responsible for because it was in my name. I didn’t graduate at the time I should’ve because none of it went to school. A lot of this contributed to the path that lead me to my now bachelor’s degree [I may never speak of this journey – thankful for closing this chapter].
A little further into the future, in 2019 I consulted with a few lawyers about how I should deal with the debt. After my relocation plans changed when my partner considered moving back to the east coast, I decided to use all my savings to settle the debt. It didn’t become true until I opened the letter declaring my freedom in April of this year, what a birthday gift lol . It kinda felt like when I received my degree in the mail. But the debt didn’t stop there. I had accumulated credit card debt. Traveling for interviews in LA most of 2019 was expensive and “I wanted it bad enough” that I told my then partner that I wanted to manage that debt before allowing him to be the leader in how we managed finances. Since our plans had crashed and burned in hell where tons of other issues we had lived, the coronavirus has grounded me along with the rest of the world, my work location is still closed and I refuse to go into the city, and a heaux still has a job (GRACIOUS), I’ve cleared off half of my credit card debt with an estimation of zero by February 2021.
I’m no money expert but I’ve become comfortable with looking at my transactions, spending what I have to vs what I want to, cooking more and eating out less, scheduling my payments in advance, scheduling grocery days instead of shopping whenever, reading more about finances, asking more questions, reaching out to financial advisors, and saving more when possible, I’m in a new relationship with money. I’ll create a new budget sometime in September (I should say I temporarily scrapped the budget) because for now I manage very well.
I can say it just feels great to not be drowning anymore. Finally, I can float. She conqured some DEBT!