Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Year, New Hope

Building our future.

New Year, New Hope

With the end of ever year I have one ritual.  As soon as the Christmas presents are unwrapped and the kids are happily engrossed in their gifts, I tackle the mess of our year's worth of paperwork.  I find the paper shredder, grab a garbage bag, and fill my coffee cup.  I sort through every pile.  Toss what can be tossed.  Shred what contains personal information and doesn't need to be saved.  Find all tax information and swear that I will be better organized next year at this time.

This year I can honestly say I am more organized than most previous years.  I still have several piles of papers to sort and shred but overall I am making progress.  My family has come to terms with my yearly ritual and they may understand it is necessary.  They don't realize the emotional significance of it for me.

Each time I shred old bills and statements, I feel a weight lifted.  I am one paper lighter.  The mountain of papers that threatens daily to drown us is tamed ever so slightly.  Yes, it would be better to do this process monthly or even daily.  I do try but sometimes the months slide by faster than that wind that brought the polar vortex to Ohio.  Before I know it January has become March and then June is here.  Two days ago our high temperature was 7 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.  In what will seem like a mere week, the temperatures will soar and the flowers will be blooming.

This year I will watch the flowers bloom and my paperwork monster will be controlled.

There is a major reason that this year is different.  I faced a monster otherwise known as a credit card bill and destroyed it.  Our lives have not been easy for the past few years.  Between factory closings, relocations and surgeries our finances have been drastically reduced.  Our practice of never carrying a balance on credit cards was a thing of the past.  One card in particular, which I won't name, was a burden.   The rates were high and mysterious fees had begun to appear.  The weight of it overwhelmed me and I am forced to say I didn't fix the problem immediately.  I did try a couple times but didn't get very far. Last month that changed.

My husband and I decided that we needed to get rid of that debt even if it meant withdrawing money from our retirement account.  We did and I paid off the credit card.  That wasn't enough and I decided to cancel it.  I found the number and called to cancel it.  I told them why.  They quickly transferred me to a supervisor.  I had a history of large debt and they really didn't want to see me close the account.  The supervisor arranged to cancel the program that was charging me and refund all the money I'd paid it over the years.

Yes.  Years.  I have been ignoring it for years.

Since we paid off that card and I fixed the problems with it, I have been able to calculate a way for us to be credit card debt free by next Christmas!

Hope is a powerful force and hopelessness is just as powerful a negative force.