Saturday, February 5, 2011

Do you have it in red?

At the start of 2010, I made a New Year's Resolution to become financially fabulous. I promised myself that I would start reading the business sections of the newspaper daily and I'd log-on to the Globe & Mail's investors pages more often than my Facebook account. It had been three years since I had graduated with a business degree and after kick-starting my career in marketing, I felt like I had little to show for it... Some cash saved up here & there and a super cute apartment, but overall, when it came to talking dollars and cents I felt like I had no sense.

My 2010 resolution never made it past January 1st and by July 1st, I was floundering. I had just moved in with my boyfriend, was finishing my diploma in PR, and was about to jet-set off to Spain for three weeks, when I opened my Visa bill and realized that I had managed to charge my way to $7500 in debts in six short months.

So much for being financially fabulous. There is a chapter in Confessions of a Shopaholic when Becky Bloomwood wishes her credit card bill would be mistakenly swapped with a little old lady who buys nothing by cat food, they would pay each other's bills without noticing and go on their merry way. I also shared that fantasy. And I could justify all of my charges - course tuition, air fare, unexpected storage fees, one too many trips to Winners, weekend trips away, two government refund checks that had not yet arrived... but overall, it didn't matter. I was mad at myself, incredibly embarrassed, and most importantly, in the red.

While 2010 was definitely not my year of being financially fabulous, I did a few things right. I read every (free) book I could get my hands on to learn debt-management techniques. I took out a personal line of credit to pay off my VISA, created rolling
Smart Cookies 4-week budgets, paid for everything in cash separated according to envelopes in my wallet, started an RRSP and navigated a maze of customer service lines until I received my tax refunds.

And this past week, I made my last payment on my line of credit. I'm now back in the black. Moving forward, I only want my wine to be red.

But now what? With all the reading that I've done, I've learned all the tricks in the book to get of debt, but I'm still clueless when it comes to managing my money. And I feel like a lot of young women are just like me, but don't talk about it. I'm hoping to change that - I'm not expecting to become a money guru, but I will blog my way to financially fabulousness.


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