What were my balances? Below is a screen shot of my balances in 2003.
I used an Excel spreadsheet to track all of my various credit cards and the corresponding balances. Please feel free to use whatever medium works best for you to track your credit cards and the balances. You could use a text editor like Notepad, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, or good old pen and paper. At this time, it is also important to create a system to stay organized. In a future post, I will discuss the system that I used to keep all of my bills and financial papers organized (both digitally and on paper). Since I know how much of a daunting task this can be I would recommend breaking this up into mini steps.
Step 1- Make a list of your credit cards
Step 2- Determine a way you are going to stay organized
Step 3- Reward yourself for doing step 1 and step 2
For me, I would become very anxious and depressed after pouring over the numbers and overtime I learned that I needed to treat myself for all of my hard work. My reward could not be something that I purchased at the store. After all I was attempting to change my spending habits and rewarding myself with a new shirt from JCrew wasn't going to help me reach my goal. So, I would usually take a nice long bath with scented candles and music. This was a great way for me to relax and unwind and stop thinking about my many problems. While in the bath, I would close my eyes and pretend that I was in an elegant spa. Mainly, I just needed this time to stop thinking about my money issues.
In the next post, I am going to explore the low cost rewards I used during the 5 years it took me to get out of debt. These little rewards would recharge and clear my head especially during the stressful periods of feeling very depressed and completely frazzled due to the debt load!
1. What are inexpensive rewards that you do can for yourself while you are getting out of debt? (e.g., take a walk outside, check a book out from the library, etc.)
2. How often do you check your credit card balances?