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This whole situation makes me physically ill. I don't know how I did the 'ostrich' thing so long. :-(

feeling very glum and failure like

Greetings, hwkncat, dry those tears and turn this inside out: why, look what you did. Came here to post, received some good ideas (ignore what feels like flak), stuck your neck out and received a break from Citibank on the interest rates! YAY! WOO HOO!

So rather than continue to feel glum and failure like, why not give yourself a hug for pushing past a threshold and onward to reckoning with financial steps that will put you in the good stead you seek? Usually one does the 'ostrich' thing when one feels like there won't be any other, better choices. But now there are!

Next thing to consider working on is a more realistic budget - do you have any thoughts about what causes you to raid your savings that I know you have excellent intentions of trying to keep stashed away? If you get a handle on that and even if you were to lower your savings target a bit just so you can get accustomed to the feel of what it is like to watch non-emergency-fund savings build undrained, it might be a good basis for continuing on with the trend in your preferred direction. I don't disagree with ceasing use of the credit cards (unless they can be paid off every month) but neither would I think that "absolute" thinking, as in "I'm in so much debt that I can spend nothing on myself until I am completely out of it," is likely to lead you towards feeling like you have incentive to stick with a budget. I have the strong sense that you could be reacting to the idea of a budget the way that many react to the idea of a diet - as in some sort of punishment state that one longs to escape and then blows, sometimes spectacularly!

I know that for me, a major turning of the tide came when I decided to look at a budget (or a spending plan, if you like) as something liberating rather than restricting. Rather than think about what I couldn't have, I decided to challenge myself to find full joy and satisfaction in how creatively I COULD have something on reduced available funds. This really got me going - I began to find ways of spending as LITTLE money as I could in pursuit of some pleasurable occasion or transaction. And I began thinking of making credit card payments as my ticket out of a hole rather than feel enslaved to the creditors. It became an issue of outlook: once I boarded the frugal train, I found I really enjoyed the journey as well as the destination - and I liked how the terrain looked once I got my ingeniousness going about how one conserves income.

So if your next paycheck funds Citibank, hooray! Less of that check will be going to Citibank than did during the month before, due to the decrease in interest rates, and more goes to principal. One foot in front of the next, in front of the next - but this journey can be one of enlightenment and delight that you will be taking a new view of money as freeing you more and more with each new payment.


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