A Magnificent Zero

Tuesday August 31st, 2010 – Milwaukee, WI

To say I’ve had my share of credit and financial trouble would be like saying Glen Beck wouldn’t be the guest of honor at an NAACP rally. It’s a major understatement, but 100% true. I can’t speak for Glen Beck, but as for me I’m attempting to vastly improve myself.

Now that I’m in a position to make a little money, I’m trying hard to fix my whole way of thinking and create brand new habits that last the rest of my life. I have a few books on the subject, and now is the time to read and learn. My way wasn’t doing anything positive and I’m beyond grateful for this chance to fix it. I’m taking extra time to focus on all this.

If I attempt to fix my entire financial situation, it’s going to take years of discipline and hard work. It will also take a lot of money I don’t have right now, and knowledge too. I’m not claiming to be a financial wizard, but I don’t think I have to be. I just need to be a tiny bit smarter to make huge strides. My situation is in utter shambles, and I admit it up front.

Still, I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as a lot of people’s, and at the very least I really am making a sincere attempt to rebuild the mess that’s there. The first step was that big ugly credit card balance I’ve been dragging around for a while. It’s sucked a lot of both money and energy out of my life, but today I drove to Milwaukee and paid the balance in full.

I can’t express in words how fantastic that felt. I wrote a check for the exact amount of the total and it felt like I was cutting a dragon’s head off with my pen. I wanted to hold it up for everyone else in the bank to see and start jumping up and down like someone who just watched his or her team win a championship. This was a major step in getting ahead.

My goal was to have the balance paid off by October 1st and I’m a month early. I put all the money I’ve earned from the cruise ship gigs and everything else I had into it and now my total net worth is under $50 but that’s ok with me. I’m working pretty steadily for the next several weeks, and I’ll get fed and housed on the ship this week starting tomorrow.

I had a zero credit card balance for quite a few years before this latest rough spot, and it costs SO much to have that weight tied around one’s neck. Not only is it stressful and not pleasant, it’s flat out expensive. The interest was strangling me, plus I’m not a stickler for making payments by the due date and the late fees are even worse. It’s all money wasted.

This was a major step in the right direction, and I literally skipped to my car as I left the bank. There was an older couple pulling in and they looked at me like I was a molester of kittens and children, but I couldn’t care less what they thought. I felt like I won a lottery.

I have all kinds of other money issues from past years, and I’m not out of the woods by a long shot just yet. BUT…that’s not going anywhere. This was sucking me dry, and now it isn’t. I also had to pay my car insurance and for front end work I had done recently, but it all got paid for today and I feel like I’m starting totally over on a very high note. One step at a time, but this one feels like the first one on the moon. One giant step for my finances.

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