Thursday, April 27, 2006

Control is not a dirty word

So many people get hung up on the idea of control. We have gotten to the point where it has become a bit of a dirty word. I hear about modern t.v. therapists describing people as control-freaks. What does all of this mean? Is control such a bad thing? Self-control?

What is the answer? I don't think that being in control is a bad thing. But, in this day and age, many of us have come to realize that control is not a good thing when you are not the one with it, that is, when you are out of control.

For me, it became really clear recently. I was out of control. And I needed to take control back. Was some of this in my head? Sure. Did that make it any less real? No. Financially, I was not in trouble. Did my partner and I have some debt? Sure. Was that a big deal? Not really. So what was the problem?

Over a short period of time, I was able to put up with almost anything. But, it became clear to me, that due to the current monthly strategy we had, we were spending a large amount of money on interest for our credit cards. And this, while we were putting money in a savings account. And doing the current thing, it would take 32 months for us to pay off the credit cards. And that was not even counting our combined student loan debt or mortgage etc.

This was insane. So, to jump start the process, I took money from the savings and paid off one of the cards. The more expensive one. This, only after we had both agreed to not use them anymore. This was not a big deal since we had not used them in about 6 months.

That being said, the goal is to pay off the credit cards first. Thereby freeing up the 100 dollars in payment and earning 26 dollars per month by not having to pay it to the credit card company.

When you use credit cards, you are giving someone else control. It is typically harmless and mindless at first, but for a simple amount of say 2400 dollars (not much when charging items over time), you give up control for three years. Is it really worth it? It wasn't for me.

For me and my partner, the fix has been to retrain the mind. Delayed gratification is the big thing. That is the concept that when you want something, you should save for it and only purchase it when you can buy it with cash.

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