Wednesday, February 20, 2013

F #9--Finances

Sometimes, being a grown-up sucks.  Especially being a grown-up who decided to buy a house.  Money suddenly gets exponentially tighter, in ways one doesn't imagine it happening.

I'm not going to go into all the gory details about my debt.  Suffice it to say that I've joined those proud Americans who got themselves into a hole and aren't quite sure how to get out of it.

The first place I went, obviously, was the Internet.  Tell me, Dr. Google, what is the best method for paying down one's debt?  Answers are conflicting on this matter.  Some sources suggest tackling the lowest balance first; throw all the extra money at that so it goes away, and then move on.  Other places suggest tackling the highest interest rate first, because that's where a person is really losing the most money.  And then there's a third method, which suggests a bizarre mathematical formula dealing with both balances and interest rates.  This made my head hurt, mostly because numbers are not my strong point. (Obviously, right?  I'm writing a blog post about debt.)

The real problem is that being responsible about one's debt, doing the utmost to pay it off, can mean sacrificing a lot.  And I'm not just talking the canceled gym memberships or buying generic brands.  I've done both of those To really get debt under control, a person has to stop having a social life.  Because driving places, going out with friends, these things all cost money.  I suppose if I ONLY ever drove to and from work, and ate nothing but Raman, I would certainly save money.  But now I'm the crazy cat lady who never leaves her house.  That's not healthy.  On any level.  (Especially not for the blood pressure.  Again, my weird relationship with High Fructose Corn Syrup and Organic food is coming soon to a blog post near you.)

So, when money gets tight, where do YOU pinch pennies?  For those of you who have been in debt and gotten out, how'd that work for you?  If you're not in debt, how do you stay that way?  (I mean, besides "don't spend more than you make.")  How do you realistically keep it all under control?

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