This is kind of embarrassing, but I know that there are others out there going through it, who have gone through it and are at the other side, or who will go through it, so I'm sharing. Why oh why at almost 48 years old am I still struggling to make ends meet. I know the logical answers, and I'm working on it, but it's pissing me off. I hate to admit how much I need to work on my finances, but I figure if I put it out there, I have to become more accountable. Now, the main reason that I'm having the problems that I am is because I was the sole bread winner for 25 years and at the end of that, ESD kept the money that was owed to me. So, I was already struggling and that money that I had earmarked to pay certain things is no longer available for me. I had to create a new game plan. And I did, and it's working . . . Slowly. You know I got a raise recently, and I make really good money, so it's even more embarrassing to admit all of this.
Over the years, I've let credit cards lapse and go into collections, so the ones I currently have, I am doing everything I can to maintain properly. I got behind for awhile, but now they are all current and I'm paying them down. The point of having them is for emergencies and work stuff (that I get reimbursed and immediately pay the bill). Unfortunately, I had a lot of emergency funding needed and they were all maxed. Almost paid down now. I refuse to use them until they are zero balance and then, back to paying in full monthly. If I can't pay it in full or if it's not reimbursed by the company, I don't need it.
Another thing that I had problems with was taxes from 2012. I was nice aka stupid and filed separately in 2013 for the 2012 taxes. That gave him a break, but again, cost me a lot of money. One of the things I had to do was allow my state taxes go into garnishment status. Now this may seem crazy, but it actually works out better. See, I had an automatic payment plan for them and one of the payments didn't go through. Why didn't it go through? Because another automated payment that I didn't know was scheduled screwed it up. Once the payment doesn't go through once, you're off the payment plan. I begged and even offered to up my payments. The answer was no. They said pay in full by X date. I could make payments, but once X date rolled around, they would garnish. Now, I've had experience with them in the past. If you pay them prior to the garnishment, they still garnish the full amount, essentially making you over pay them. It takes forever to get a refund on the over payment and, of course, they don't pay you interest. Also, once they garnish, the amount is set -- no more interest. So, I took the money that they would have been getting monthly and put it to work elsewhere, catching up on other bills. Now the garnishment is in place and for the month of March, the State of California is getting 25% of my "disposable" income. Note: their idea of disposable is way different than mine, but whatevs. It'll be paid by the end of the month. Just gotta hold on a little longer.
I'm almost over the hump, and honestly, I've been in worse positions. Back in the old days, I would be up to my eyeballs in past due, overdue, and unpaid bills. Now, I'm actually fine for the most part, just paying some back bills that would been done if ESD hadn't been an ass. I will say though that this is my final (I hope) financial lesson learned. I've had 2 other financial lessons before that opened my eyes and changed the way I handled my money-for the better, and this one has made me think and plan even better. So, even from the crappiness, comes a good lesson. I still have the urge to spend spend spend, but I'm curbing it and doing pretty well. I still need to cut some lazy spending, e.g., fast food restaurants instead of cooking, but I've come a long way even from a few months ago. So, I'll keep at it.
All of this is not to get sympathy or even empathy, but to put myself on notice that I will never let anyone control me again, especially financially. And also, for anyone who may be going through worse, to say, "it gets better" . . . Hang in there and have patience . . . Lots and lots of patience.
Until next time, much peace and love.