Sunday, April 20, 2008

We Can't Do This Alone

No we can't and that is one reason why we blog about this. What is this, this is debt reduction, increasing savings, or bouncing back from bankruptcy.

It's hard to do this. It's easy to stray back to bad or old habits. It's hard to do this alone, it's hard (and in some cases) even harder to do this when your partner is not on the same page as you.

Why do we blog about personal finance? We blog because we need someone (or many someones) to hear us, help us, commiserate with us, congratulate us on our successes. We blog because many of us are so afraid to discuss this with family and friends. I know I blog because I really don't have anyone to discuss my bankruptcy with. I blog because I need to hold myself responsible for my new actions and to help me avoid my past mistakes. I currently don't have anyone in my life that I am 100% comfortable discussing my finances with. That is OK, as we all know, finances are a taboo subject and not many people are comfortable having frank open discussions about personal finance, discussing bankruptcy really makes folks uncomfortable. I can tell you that from personal experience.

I did spend part of today catching up on a bunch of blogs. I can see the frustration in some folks blogs when only one in the relationship is committed to the debt reduction plan. You can read the tiredness and frustration they must have being the one who is trying to shoulder the debt reduction load and you can sense the bitterness/apathy/ emotional distance of the other partner.

I also want to reach through the Internet and give some of these bloggers a good shake. I read one blog where the blogger wants to reduce a $5,000 debt. Yet all I read about in the blog is their E-bay sales stink (they stink for many of us), and this blogger just HAD to go out four times in the past two weeks for drinks, dinner, take out,.. just HAD too. You get the picture. In just over one year of blogging, they have paid off $3,000 of their debt. By my calculations and reading their archives, if they cut their supposed mandatory social obligations in half, they would be debt free by now. Debt free, but I guess eating take out with the roommates three times a week is more important than paying off the debt. I also read a blog where the blogger paid off his credit card debt but pretty much exists on frozen burritos and ramen noodles because it's cheap (and loaded with sodium), gives in to food cravings for things like McDonalds or KFC, and then wonders why he has health issues and complains how much a three piece chicken meal costs. Two ends of the spectrum. What ever happened to moderation? There are some blogs that have not been updated in weeks, or months, and some blogs that have totally gone away. I wonder about some of those folks, especially the ones who were obviously in a bad place, we want to try and be there for them and they have gone to blog heaven so to speak. They have taken themselves off line to deal with their issues.

Yes, it is not my place to dictate how and when folks pay off their debt, but to whine on about having no money, no e-bay sales and all these mandatory social obligations is tiring to read. But it is inspiring and enlightening to read about folks struggling with the real issues we all face, funding emergency funds, adjusting budgets to take into account the every growing price increases we have no control over (gas, food, utilities). I like hearing that folks still get promotions, are able to meet savings goals, and yes there are folks who do really pay down their debt without surviving on sodium loaded junk food.

Pretty much most of us blog for the additional support we get from the blogsphere, we like being a part of the Snowflake Revolution, Blogher, Frugal Hackers, you name it. We like hearing what worked and did not work from Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, the Broke Because You Want to Be Guy, we like the links we find in carnivals, we like the spreadsheets people come up with, we like the referrals to all sorts of things that make our lives easier and hopefully bring us back some much needed cash. We like the unexpected comments of support we get when we write those gut wrenching posts because we feel like our world is falling apart.

For me, finding Ladies in the Red came at a time when I was just beside myself with the Bankruptcy filing. I was having hot flashes, eating tons of food, obsessing over everything and spent far too much time in bed with the covers pulled over my head bitching to myself about getting grey hair and zits at the same time. Katie's honesty about her bankruptcy and money issues made me laugh at me-someone else had my exact same problems and they managed to survive. Katie even got a featured magazine article about her site and her bankruptcy. I still find her site and her forum inspiring.

And yes, we can't do this alone. Keep writing, blogging and supporting each other. We can't do this alone, but we can do this with help and support.


L said...

I completely agree, but I couldn't have said it as good as you! I have many many friends who I just want to slap silly, but I always feel that it isn't my place. Sometimes, I wish I was, though.

CindyS said...

You pretty much hit all the reasons that I blog about money. The support that I have gotten from the PF world keeps me from running screaming from the building on some days. I STILL spend money on things that I shouldn't and then kick myself for it but it's gotten better.

iva said...

# It's easy to stray back to bad or old habits #

I find this too true! A couple of years back, we got rid of all our debt & it felt sooo good! Yet only 6 months later, we were spending too much again. Using those credit cards we should have cut up! Now, we are almost debt free again & I am determined to make it stick this time!!!

Tough Broad said...

Here, Here! I know I can't do it alone, and your support has been more helpful then you could know!

I know I've been the ramen-noodle eater AND the social butterfly and back and forth... It's good to be reminded that moderation is the key!

Foxie said...

I totally agree with you! I love the PF blogging community, it's great to have people who'll cheer you on, get you back on track when you need it and congratulate you when you deserve it. :)

L@SpillingBuckets said...

Interesting... R and I were on a walk yesterday and basically had the same conversation as this post and we both totally agree. Having a community of semi-annoymous people really helps.

And @Foxie, I love your Vulpix icon!

undercover vixen said...

I don't know how I feel the about this post. I have pretty much thought the same thing about YOU! That is, how much you spend on food, random target purchases and how expensive your new car was etc... when you could be paying debt down. I refrained from commenting on that however, because everyone has a different POV an i figured your self control and discipline was so shitty to begin with that it was a wor in progress.
I think people blog about what's real to them...$5000k debt is a lot to some people. I would be HAPPY if that's all the debt i had...but i'm not gonna knock someone else who is freaking out about it.