Life in Pieces of Bankruptcy – Part 4

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In January, 2018 the bankruptcy ended.

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Credit Score

After completing the bankruptcy, I decided it was time to check my credit score. Well, I don’t have one. Literally, there is no credit score for me. You know what, I do not care. I am glad that I do not have a score and that I can pay my bills and live happily with the money that I have in the bank.

Five years ago, my credit score mattered. Hell, it mattered 2 years ago. However, as I “pulled my shit together” and focused on what really matters, I do not care if my credit score is, well, zero. Anything that I need to buy, I can do so with cash and if I cannot, saving for the purchase does not bother me at all. Who knows, maybe while I am saving, I will decide I like having money in the bank than having the item.

Credit Cards

I no longer care about getting any type of credit card. I am not interested in giving a company my money so that I can spend that money and pay it back to them to build my credit. My credit will be exactly as it should with me doing the things I do everyday.

I will not spend one single second thinking about credit or a credit score.

Clutter

As my relationship with credit has been redefined so has the physical and emotional clutter in my life. No more do I feel the need to buy or spend. My refrigerator and pantry used to be full of more food than I could eat in 5 years. Today, I am almost out of milk. As a matter of fact, last week I went days without milk because I could not be bothered to go to the store.  The cereal box is almost empty. Guess what, I will find something else to eat. No need to race to the store to get it. I want to focus my energy on things that matter. With a store on every corner, running out of milk or cereal should not be my priority.

Wait, buying/spending was never a priority, it was an addiction!

Tough Love

The rules of bankruptcy, based on my salary, required that I make payments for five years. There was no way to put it on hold or postpone payments unless I paid more money. I paid $5,000 to my attorney plus another $600 later and I did not want to pay one additional dime nor did I want to forfeit the $5600 and walk away. So, I stayed the course and in due time, I obtained the clarity that such an event should bring.  It took three years for me to move out of the fog that was denial, a year for me to gain some perspective on my issues (true clarity came while writing this post), and more than a year for me to execute the plan to the point where it is a lifestyle and not a program (I am still at it).

Defining Moments

What I thought was going to defeat me, in the end helped to better define me. Today, I have an understanding of who I am and how I deal with life, an education, that I never imagined I needed.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read this post. I know it was long (3500+ words) but it has been rolling around in my head for a long time.  Until I wrote this post, I never considered myself an addict and some may think that I am not. The reality is this, spending and buying controlled me in a way that I could not stop. Spending and buying made me feel in control. Even when I did not have the means to keep spending/buying, I continued to do it because I had to feel in control. I had to feel like I was not conquered. All of those are signs of an addict.

I will spend a lot of time thinking about my addiction revelation and about how many people I have judged for addictions during my lifetime. I was very wrong for the judgment.

Admitting my addiction here is as scary as it is freeing. It is scary to realize how many years I have been in denial. It is freeing because I have been able to give my relationship with money a name. Naming it means that I can truly address it.

When I started this blog, I vowed to be honest and tell my story so that I can help others feel comfortable telling their stories. With the stigma attached to bankruptcy, this was a very hard post for me to write but in the end, honesty is more important to me than fear. If I do not tell the truth, it eats me alive.

Thanks for allowing me to share my truth. 

 

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

 

Life in Pieces of Bankruptcy – Part 3

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Waking Up

 

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During year three of the bankruptcy, I changed. I was not consciously trying to change. I did not have a “this has to stop” moment. Perhaps, because I am always thinking and reading, the thought was lurking and I did not realize it. No matter, during the 3rd year of the bankruptcy, I began to use cash, clean my house, and write down my expenses each pay period.

Debit Down

I came to terms with the fact that I cannot control my spending when I use a debit card. I won’t overspend (most of the time) but I will certainly spend more than planned. So, I created a new plan.  On a 12×12 piece of paper, I wrote down my plan and put in on the side of the refrigerator. Tigger goes out every morning and evening (if not more) so I was forced to look at it when I first woke up and before I went to bed.

Allocating Every Cent

coins-205530_640.jpgBased on my plan, I became intimately connected to the idea that every dollar in my bank account must be accounted for. There would never be “extra money” in my account. The Wednesday before each payday, I would sit down and determine the bills that needed to be paid, how much would be allocated to gas, groceries/aux expenses, and savings. Then, I would setup the required bill pay and automatic transfers. I determined that $150 would be enough to cover groceries and general spending every two weeks. $100 was allocated to gas and that was put in a different account.

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