I can’t tell you the number of times that, in our seemingly never-ending struggle with debt, that I’ve seriously contemplated just giving up. Just throwing in the towel and saying f-it. You know it’s bad when you catch yourself fantasizing about it. About how much easier your life would be without the struggle. Just declaring bankruptcy, taking the hit on your credit score, and moving on with your life.
Even now, after having written about personal finance for over five years, I still find myself in that place occasionally. We let our budgeting lapse, and inevitably our spending gets out of whack again. Something happens, and the emergency fund just doesn’t seem to cover it all. Or, worse, doesn’t seem to replenish itself as quickly as it should.
I can try and lay the blame somewhere. That always helps, right? If it isn’t my fault, then I can’t be blamed for it. I can’t be the one that everyone points to as the failure. I can deflect that attention to someone or something else. That helps. Until it doesn’t.
Every single time, it’s really me that deserves the blame. It wasn’t the boss that refused to give me a raise. It wasn’t the heater in the car that needed to be fixed. And it certainly wasn’t the kids that needed to eat. It was me. Every. Single. Time.
I failed to negotiate the raise. I failed to have enough saved up to make that repair. I failed to budget properly to make sure that we wouldn’t have to cut corners at the grocery store. Me. I did that.
I could just give up. I could miss having to work harder to be paid appropriately. I could miss having to pay attention to my budget to save money for car repairs, or to pay for groceries. I could do that. Giving up would be so easy.
Until it isn’t.