Saturday, August 2, 2008

Tales From the Air: Ignore and Endure

On my flight home a couple weeks ago, I had the unpleasant experience of sitting close to three under-5 children. They were travelling with their father, who had a reprehensible parental attitude towards his children. Needless to say, I was the one who said something to the kids (twice) to get them quiet (the father didn't say boo to me either time, and actually looked surprised the first time). While I think his behavior was extremely rude, inconsiderate and tacky, I realized that the father was doing exactly what so many people do with their finances: ignore and endure.

I know a lot of my credit card debt is travel-related, though I can't tell you how much. I can't tell you how much is from travelling I've done in the last four years (since my mini-retirement), and how much is random purchases along the way. After getting incensed at the father's lack of control over his kids, I realized that until I started my debt eradication plan, I had the same attitude towards my debt -- I paid more than the minimum, shivered when I charged a little too much in a given month, wondered if it would ever be paid off...and then stopped thinking about it once I'd made the monthly payment. With my first credit card, I remember realizing that when I saw that I'd charged more than I'd paid, and couldn't pay off even the amount I'd charged that month, that that was an undesirable thing. Yet, I just ignored the obvious (I was spending beyond my means and not getting anything really useful out of it), and enduring the interest payments and the shackles of credit card debt.

On the flipside of all this, I've started to realize that my spending habits are definitely different [since I started my debt eradication plan] and that I'm not so wanton with my spending. I really do think my mind has absorbed the Buy Quality and Don't Buy in Excess that I've been striving for this last year or so. When I was on vacation, I did see a pair of shoes very similar to what I want, but they were horrible quality. In the past, I may have easily bought them as a stopgap until I found what I wanted. Now, I just sighed at finding what I wanted but with supremely bad materials and workmanship, and moved along.

In the end, I've realized that I no longer ignore and endure, and I'm pleased with that.

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