One Hundred Points

Big girl moment. (I’ve been having alot more of those lately)

I read about a free credit-checking service that you can log into (read: a free credit report MORE than once a year). It’s called CreditKarma.com. Apparently it’s really legit—it’s been featured on a number of morning talk shows (which of course I never watch) and in the NYTimes, etc. Figured it sounded ok-so I signed up. And found out that in the last two weeks, since 12/20, I have managed to raise my credit score 100 points.

blink blink what?

ONE. HUNDRED. POINTS. (well, 101, to be exact)

This may not seem like a big deal to you college kids but by God—it’s a big deal. Raising it even five points can really help you out. I just jumped from “Poor” (no one wants to give you anything) to “Fair” (car loan!).

THAT’S what three disciplined months (out of the rest of my life) of paying off credit cards and tracking down old collections will get you. Adulthood, godblessyou.

Along the same line of thinking (you know, discipline, seeing the fruits of your labor, etc.), the king and I had a really great conversation last night about patience and the long run. My problem is I get so overwhelmed with the magnitude of what I want to accomplish—paying off my debt (roughly $15000 with student loans), losing 25 pounds of fat, owning my own property—that I feel defeated before I’ve barely begun. And I know I’m not alone in this. This is something most people deal with. The solution is not in eating the whole feast at once, but in taking it one bite at a time.

Small goals. Weekly accomplishments. Monthly victories.

Paying off my credit cards one payment at a time. Seeing each credit card balance get smaller and smaller, until eventually it’s a line of zeroes. That’s happened FOUR times now—in about three and a half months. Which is INCREDIBLE. But if I’d gotten discouraged the first or even second month, I’d still have $6000 of debt. The trick I used was sitting down at the beginning and figuring out how much each paycheck would go towards each card, figuring in rent, groceries and savings. And each paycheck, I consult the chart, make a payment, and cross it off the list. I have columns of crossed out lists. That’s really helped my discipline—seeing the progress I’m making, this almost physical proof that I am accomplishing a goal. And the fact that I don’t have to think about it each paycheck, don’t have to decide what I’ll pay this month, is really beneficial. Moving from monthly short-term thinking to having a long-term goal I could chew one bite at a time was the best decision.

Weekly weight loss goals. Small, incremental victories. But to start, rather than tracking weight loss I’m going to track how often I go to the gym. The holidays really derailed my workout regime (plus the loss of workout pants), so I’d like to get back into the habit of going, of it being a part of my schedule. It’s like those cigarette commercials’ “Quit one cigarette at a time”. Same principal. Don’t quit your whole life at once—quit it every five minutes. It’s one workout at a time, saying no to candy/cake/pie/snacks one piece at a time.

What starts to get to me though is when I get to thinking about that last credit card. It’s over $3000, and will take approximately 6 months of steady $500 payments to pay it off. Which is a hell of lot. Then I think about how i want to put away around $6000 for an emergency fund. THEN I think about wanting to save for a down payment on property, so I can start living the way I want to.  That’s a lot of money, and I’m not going to do it all this year. (Which is scary when I think about the emergency fund, because the whole point is if something goes wrong, I have backup. Right now, I have no backup!) But then I have to remind myself—that’s what life is all about. That’s what having dreams are all about. I can’t live my whole life in just a year, or even two. It takes a while, it takes planning. Where would the fun be, really, if I did everything and got where I wanted to go? I’d probably be bored. It’s like those Saturdays when I finish all my chores by 200pm but all my friends are still working, cleaning, or sleeping and I have nothing to do so I sit around doing NOTHING. I would hate, HATE to be bored with living. That’s how one gets into trouble.
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