Money (cue Pink Floyd riff here)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, and to be given a chance to create, are the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy." - Bette Davis, actress

This was today's Healthy Reflections quote, and it is *so* true. While I'm just now starting to get my weight, nutrition and overall health under control, and have admitted the hoarding thing enough to start working on it, as well, I've spent the last several years... well, getting my spending under control.

All that stuff in my house? It didn't just show up magically for free. I went out and bought it, tracked it down on eBay, or squirreled it out of my mother's house (or took a truckload or two from my grandmother's when that house was sold). And it wasn't easy to stop.

(If you want to know what yarn-hoarding looks like, go on a tour: craftygryphon.blogspot.c
. It is better now - but not by much.)

And I still buy things. Nowhere near as much, and not in the same places. I weaned myself off eBay by collecting Disney pins for a few years (the entire collection fits in one small box; no other collection I have does that), and, when the art quality fell after a copyright debacle versus the Marilyn Monroe estate, I fell off eBay entirely. I don't buy every cross-stitch, knitting, crochet and/or quilting magazine I see; there are three I get regularly - and even then, I'm starting to not-buy if there's nothing in them I'd make.

(If you're wondering why someone would buy a magazine that had nothing they'd make in it in the first place, you don't get the desire-to-have-a-complete-set-
of-whatever part of the hoarding brain. My grandfather had ALL the issues of National Geographic up until the month he died. I came by that one honestly; stopping it has been tough.)

After 30 years, I've stopped my comic subscriptions. Yep, I'm a girl that collects comic books, and the collection is in the safest part of the house - the closet *we* should really be able to get in in case of tornadoes. As we clear out, I know that will be the last thing to go; it would've been an amazing collection to turn over to any kids - but as I don't have those, it *will* go. But not until I read everything one last time. And I will be keeping a few boxes of favorites - probably two or three boxes, actually. (As there are substantially more than 50? Two or three really *is* cutting down). But I'm no longer *adding* to the hoard.

I'm only buying yarn if I'm going to use it right away, for a particular project. Not just because it's pretty, or on sale, or It Spoke To Me Really It Did. This one is new, and a bit tricky, since I'm also a compulsive knitter. But I went through our storage unit and hauled out all the tiny scraps of yarn I'd been saving "just in case", and will be using all those scraps to make little braided-ball Christmas gifts over the next three months. And any scraps left over? I'm getting rid of them. Then, it's back to the unit to see what else can come out, once and for all!

I'm paying cash for things. At one point, when I got out of school, I was almost THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS in debt - with not much to show for it. I was buying fast food on a credit card, because it was "easy". Getting rid of all that debt took almost a decade - but I did it! Now, credit cards are just for "backup" and emergencies, and they get paid off every month. (Credit card companies hate that - and are trying to penalize people for it, can you believe? We just get rid of any card that tries it, and send them (and our congressperson, the state banking authority and, just for fun, Treasury) a nice little letter saying why we're no longer doing business with them! Paying cash may take a little more planning, but it works better. And we don't do Debit Cards at all - unlike credit cards, if there's a problem, there aren't ANY of the credit card protections on debit cards! Your bank can hold on to your money until THEY think the situation is resolved - and believe me, that can take a while!

So, right now, the only debt I have is my mortgage, and I'm able to start paying down the principal a little bit extra every month now. We're saving up for buying big-ticket things (like the amazingly lovely new refrigerator we got last year - which I still hug, every so often, when my husband isn't looking), or vacations - and having to count out cash makes spending on the small ticket items (like my new Zumba for Wii) "real"!

Now, everyone relates to money differently, and has a different amount of wiggle-room on their budget. We don't have much in the wiggle-room department, but getting (mostly) rid of the credit cards and curbing my compulsive spending has helped a LOT.

And believe it or not, until I wrote this post, I hadn't realized how closely my previous SPEND ALL THE THINGS was tied to my hoarding. If I hadn't gotten the spending under control, I wouldn't be where I am now - ready to get the hoarding under control.

Hm. How 'bout that?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    As someone who's still battling with 'need to have the complete set' compulsions I admire you so much for dealing with it and understanding the links between behaviours


    2501 days ago
    I can't tell you how often I get hit with "it spoke to me, it really did!" Love it! you are brave and fabulous!!!
    2504 days ago
    emoticon on getting out of credit card debt! That is quite an accomplishment!

    And great job making the connection between your past compulsive spending and hoarding. You have clearly made some connections in your mind that will make it easier to deal with the clutter.
    Keep up the good work! emoticon

    - Karen
    2505 days ago
    I am impressed with several things.

    One is you are dealing with your finances reasonably. I envy this because it's time to cut up all but two for backup andI am having a battle doing it.

    Second is you making the connection between hoarding, money, and acquisition and buying only what you need for the current project.

    Third is that you are finishing your projects.

    Fourth is the website you provided. I like your evaluation of what's there and what it will take to finish them. The pictures are priceless. (You might want to put them in with your sparkpage pictures.)

    And finally you are going into dealing with hoarding with your eyes open as to what it will take. Awesome!
    2505 days ago
    Budgeting is something I'm really hoping to work on this year. We've kind of been staggering from crisis to crisis, and finally we're both employed at what look to be stable jobs. Here's hoping...
    2505 days ago
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