Ahead of a fantastic series of detailed posts on managing money, finances, and how I got myself out of a hole financially, I thought I’d add another hastily prepared chunk of writing to the mix and talk about money today.
I’m not very good with money. I really, really try, and am now at the point that I can deny myself almost anything or at least control my budget so I know how much I can spend in a given month and attempt to do a bit of forward planning. This is built on a shocking previous history where I essentially just spent all the money I had all the time, bought random stuff that thankfully I was able to sell later, and generally acted like a child for years.
It all came to a grinding halt, as these things always do, when I essentially ran out of options. When you acquire significant amounts of debt and build a habit so insidious that spending money is all you can do, the issues regarding actually repaying that debt start to mount and your credit score starts to nosedive. In the end, a defaulted credit card put paid to it all. I was at the bottom, unable to borrow money, having to service huge amounts of debt and needing a way out. Thankfully I found someone who could help me - my girlfriend at the time, now my wife and the mother of our adorable son.
I’m not going to go into detail here. That will be saved for the series of financial posts that I have been planning for months and have yet to write. I will, at some point, when the mental pressure to do so is almost overwhelming and I really really need to get them out. It won’t be a monster series, but it will be useful. Look at me, bigging up something I haven’t even started making yet.
What I take issue with these days, now that I recognise in the general economy the signs of my own financial failure, is how often a public marketplace will rebel against austerity measures and treat them as a simple, single action that hurts a bit and then allows us to return to the way we were before. I am staggered by the number of people who think that using austerity as a method to pay off debt lets us revert to wild overspending and ridiculous growth without at least a nod to the need to remain financially sustainable. Surely if you have got yourself in trouble with money, being sensible and paying it all off is the end goal? If you go through the pain of repaying debt, the next thing to do is not go right back out and rack it all up again; you’ll be right back in the poorhouse before you know it.
Hmm. A rant. I’m not normally prone to these outbursts, but the point above encapsulates my thinking of several years. I am now so averse to the spending of large amounts of money that it actually makes me uncomfortable - something that will keep me in good financial shape for many years to come.