My credit card bills are out of control! What do I do?
relate. When my husband got fired, Black made me total up all our credit card debt, and I broke
down in tears. The funny thing is that before
she’d help me deal with it, she insisted on giving me a history lesson on credit cards. And
although I love history, initially, I fought her. But I’m so glad she ignored me! To this day, understanding that the origin of
credit cards wasn’t a line of credit but instead a convenience (to be paid in
full every month) has made a huge difference.
But that doesn’t answer your question. I think we all know how easy it is to rack up credit card debt, especially during the holidays. A holiday budget would’ve helped, but now you need a monthly budget to see where you can cut back and apply those “savings” to pay down your credit card bills. Without making this a math class (not my favorite subject), I just memorized that after paying the minimums, I should apply any “extra” money to the credit cards with the highest interest rates (APRs). There’s nothing I can do about the past, but I can start making better decisions today.
I appreciate that “misery loves company,” and recognizing that we all are susceptible to overspending (Nicholas Cage took it to the extreme) helps explain why in the last year, credit card debt has exploded.
I recently read that HBO star Issa Rae admitted that when she was a college student, she ran up lots of credit card debt, to the point it was “crippling” (her word, not mine). It reminded me of how shortly after getting my M.B.A. (in International Finance, so I had no excuse), I got in debt over my head. To the point where although I was making a great salary in a corporate job, I had to take a second job waitressing on weekends to pay down the debt.
Am I suggesting you get a second job? No. I am suggesting you look at the numbers and then decide how best to “attack” them (maybe even consider debt consolidation to lower the overall interest rate you are paying). Some people suggest paying off the lowest balances first, but that is a psychological approach. As Red will tell you, I am pragmatic and prefer to crunch the numbers, and come up with a realistic plan and set myself up for success.
Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
Absolutely! Even though I’m not Irish, although growing
up, many people thought I was because of my
red hair. Regardless, I’ve always looked forward to St. Patrick’s Day
and celebrate it the same way I did growing up in New York – with corned
beef, cabbage, and potatoes
. It was one of my favorite dinners then, and it still is, and my
daughters feel the same way. Neither one
of them will be home this year, but I’ll still be cooking a big pot of it and savoring
the leftovers for days.
Plus, and I’m sure Black will roll her eyes, I “dress up” our 5-foot standing stuffed bear that “lives” in the front hallway in his St. Patrick’s Day outfit. (Throughout the year, the bear’s outfit changes with each “significant” holiday – a family tradition that started when my girls were very young.)
Considering Red loves history, I am surprised
that she did not mention
history behind St. Patrick’s
or that St.
Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was neither Irish nor a Saint.
And, given Red's love of bagels, I
am shocked she did not mention that our local bagel shop would always make green
ones to celebrate the holiday.
How do I celebrate? I have always been a clotheshorse, so it is easy just to wear something green. Growing up, it was not that I was conforming to the tradition of wearing green so leprechauns could not see me; it was because many boys in school looked for any “legitimate” excuse to pinch girls, and I refused to give them that opportunity. Over the years, as I collected Hermes shawls (you can see them in the background in Selfish,Shallow … And Svelte?), I would grab one that had green and call it a day. St. Patrick’s Day.
You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day – whether with food and drink (does green beer taste different?), wearing green, thoughts of leprechauns and good luck, or just taking a few minutes to enjoy these Irish quotes.
Can an act of kindness really make a difference?
making me stop and think about this. I
realized that on the days that when I’m out and I’m not feeling totally stressed
or in a rush to do a million and one things, I find myself engaging in a little
more conversation with people or, at the very least, taking that extra moment
to connect. It might be someone that
needs assistance, or merely the opening of a door. Or, I might make eye contact with someone in
the grocery store, and make a passing, but kind, comment. Sometimes they “return” the kindness, but
even if it’s just a smile that gets returned – it makes a difference to both of
So, having said all that, the reality is regardless how busy we may be, it only takes a moment to show a little kindness. And I’m going to try harder, even when I’m super busy or in a cranky mood (most days fall into one of those categories) to share simple acts of kindness. If nothing else, it just might put me in a better mood. And, ideally, it might get passed on.
|I always say, “Red is the nice one.” And, by that I mean she always tries to behave in a pleasant or agreeable way, wanting people to like her (although there are days when she has exhausted her quota of “nice”). But, kindness is different. Kindness is doing something that is helpful to others. It can be contagious, and the benefits and ripple effects can be significant. However, instead of quoting research and statistics, I will share this simple, but powerful, video, “ Change The World With Kindness.”|
P.S. – Need some kindness ideas, click here. Or for some inspiring quotes, click here.
FULL QUESTION: Have your thoughts or opinions changed about January 6 (riot at the Capitol)?
As a lover
of history, I understand how the shock and impact of events fade over time. It’s just human nature. Which is why it’s important to have
anniversaries to commemorate certain events that are so profound, so
game-changing, so incomprehensible, that we must never forget them. In my lifetime, there were 9/11 and January
6, but I’ll admit to something that I know shocked Black. |
When the question about January 6 came up, I didn’t immediately connect it to the attack on the Capitol. It wasn’t that I forgot the event or even the hearings. But I did forget the date. However, I’ll never forget the Capitol being overrun by rioters. I’ll never forget the extraordinary and horrific visuals. I’ll never forget being at my computer, working on Red & Black, when the first images began to appear, and it just kept getting worse and worse, seeming like something out of a movie or a third-world country. Not an actual event taking place in the United States. And even once civility was restored, it continued to get worse because, only months later, we saw never-before-released video in the 13-minute film prepared by the House impeachment managers. And new information continues to be released that shows the true horror and disturbing reality of what had happened.
Today is the second
anniversary of the January 6 violent
storming of America’s Capitol, a dark and tragic moment in our
country’s history. A day when America
was stopped in its tracks as the unthinkable happened, and so disturbing and
incomprehensible that the following day I wondered, “Did anyone else think of 9/11 yesterday?” And while “Hope In This Horrible Time” focused on the
horror of 9/11, I believed that January 6 would be another example of how we,
as a country, would come together.
Now, two years later, that clarity and feeling of hope are harder to embrace as it seems Americans, even with countless hours of videos, testimonies, interviews, and documentation, cannot even agree on what happened, who was responsible, and how do we prevent it from happening again. I can only hope we can find a way to come together … for the sake of our country. For the sake of democracy.