No credit cards.
No soda is just a health thing. I love soda but it’s not good for me or for my teeth. I need find other pick-me-ups in the afternoon that are not a Coke or a Dr. Pepper. Honestly, my new favorite thing is seltzer with three drops of orange bitters in it, so I think this one I can really stick to.
No credit cards is also a health thing–financial and emotional health. Being in debt is stressful. My student loans from graduate school are one thing, but credit card debt is toxic and it was making me crazy. So I made an arrangement to pay off a lot of it and then pay back that money slowly but consistently over the coming months. Hence the second job. But I also have to budget myself better. I have to stop having “emergencies” which are actually just stress shopping binges. I have to reward myself not with “presents” like new yarn or clothes or books, but with the satisfaction of paying off my debt and living stress-free within my income. I have already signed up for Mint.com, which will finally successfully interface with my Citibank checking account. I have created a budget that I think I can stick to (I can go to the movies, but only if I bring lunch from home every day; I can have coffee in the morning from the deli, but not from the $3 place; I can go to yoga, but no vacations this year; I can read public domain books on the Kindle and knit with yarn I have already purchased; I have plenty of clothes and shoes, in fact I have too many). The reason I got into all this debt is fairly self-explanatory: I went to grad school for two years in the most expensive city in the United States, and I like shoes. I like to go shopping. I like to have a nice dinner and I have the habit of covering a meal for multiple people on my card, taking the cash and then not paying the extra balance on my card. I like to fly to Chicago to see my friend’s baby and watch the finale of Battlestar Galactica (not the same trip). I like treats. There I said it.
Wish me luck! I think I can do this. The first 6 weeks of the year are going to be extremely difficult, but I feel like if I can get through the next two months, I will be in a really amazing new place.