I’ve been at my personal best so far. I’ve had some really bad temptations, I had times that the need to shop – the desire to buy something that made me feel good, to be whispered that little false promise that’s uttered with each purchase that happiness is wrapped up inside that shopping bag – more times than I care to admit. There was the one day where I saw a beautiful dress in a shop window and within seconds my mind created a vision of me wearing it, cast in my own TV ad that promised me a confident stride and polish that was so vivid that I actually got off the streetcar in -21C weather to go out and run to the shop in a giddy mania to get the dress into my possession. By the time I reached the window I nearly had to slap myself to get a grip and not back down from my challenge, to not chalk up yet another failed shopping ban, to not be weak but to hold fast to my resolve to be the new person unshackled from spending addiction that I’ve promised myself to be.
I didn’t buy the dress. I also didn’t buy the countless coffees I craved, that bottle of wine I felt I needed to unwind after that one terrible day at work, the nailpolish colour I wanted that finally went on sale. I held firm, knowing I had a couple important birthdays this month (last week’s damage to be reported shortly) that required celebrating so I kept on keeping on.
And then the interest hit.
I went online this morning to check my balances, as I’ve found it motivating to finally look at a chequing account balance that’s not hundreds into the overdraft. The black figures are such a nice contrast to the red I’ve grown accustomed to. However I forgot my interest hits on the 19th of every month, and at 6am this morning, I got slapped with the numbers: my $18,000 limit credit card got pushed over-limit yet again, just when I thought those days were finally behind me. My interest hit, and it was a whopping $304.57.
When I applied for a line of credit to consolidate my credit cards in November last year, my bank was very, very clever. They gave me a credit limit exactly enough to cover the balances of my three OFI credit cards – $12,000 – and on the condition I close those three immediately. However, they did not extend the credit to cover even some of the balance of the $18,000 card that I have with their institution, the one I pay a pretty 19.99% for. No, no, they want me to keep on paying that at full interest. All my interest payments belong to them now. Make no mistake – I don’t believe it’s the banks fault I’m in debt – they didn’t hold a gun to my head when I kept on accepting their offers of increasing credit limits to me even though I was only paying minimums – that was my choice. But dang, it hurts, and it hurts bad. I felt like I was kicked in the gut this morning, and I haven’t been able to shake the feeling all day.
My next pay is coming Thursday, but about 90% of it goes to next month’s rent, so it’s going to be a while until I can recover my losses. By the time I do, next month’s interest will come by shortly thereafter.
I know there’s a silver lining here somewhere, and when enough time passes the gains of my shopping ban will gain momentum and I will start seeing a dent in my debt. I know deep down it’s coming, but as for today, as for right now, it’s man down.