June 3, 2008

Personal Financial Tipping Point

Posted in Backstory, Finances tagged at 5:25 pm by otherdeb

Today, Free from Broke, did an excellent article re personal financial tipping points.

As I’ve noted earlier, mine came when I found out that my roommate had not been paying her mother (who writes our rent checks because the Landlord will not accept checks from my roommate because of the “high latex content”) her share of the rent for over four months.

After all the histrionics between her mother, her, her best friend, and me had died down, I did a lot of thinking. Not only did I never want to be in that situation again, but I realized that (other than my fiance) I really do not want to be sharing living space with anyone. After a long hard look at my own actions (avoiding paying creditors, spending beyond recklessly, eating out 6-7 times a week, taking cabs almost everywhere), I decided to take action. The first thing I did was to go to annualcreditreport.com, and got copies of all three credit reports, so I could see just how deep the hole I was in was. I then called my creditors and made agreements (all of which I kept). I stopped buying books — totally for a while, now only using gift certificates and buying used at that.

It’s been a long two years since then, and I have paid of all but one credit card (and that is well on its way to being paid off). I am working my way to freedom, and it will take about two years to get there.

My roommate still screws up, but I recently found out that that is because she does not want to be responsible for her finances. She says she wants someone to make it all go away and take responsibility for her, but refuses to let anyone actually do so. My ex sent me a spreadsheet so she can track her checking account, and she refuses to fill it in herself, or let me do it. She now claims that she thinks she could let my ex do it, because working with him will be less “emotionally painful,” but I bet when he shows up she will find more excuses.

Yes, I am angry about the situation — things that I could have put money toward have had to wait as, in order to keep a roof over my head, both her mother and I have had to cover for her. However, I know that this is temporary, and that once my credit reports are clear enough to not scare off Landlords, things will change drastically!



  1. FFB said,

    Wow, sounds like a tough situation. But debt usually is a tough situation. I’ve had experiences with people who I knew needed financial help, they knew they needed it, but they weren’t ready to change their habits. It’s hard. You can show someone what needs to be done but in the end they have to be the ones to actually do it. It’s nice to hear that you were able to get a hold of your finances. I’m starting to think that credit card debt is almost a right of passage into adulthood where you’re really an adult once you can control it.

  2. Pete said,

    good tipping point story!

  3. otherdeb said,

    @FFB Yes, it’s hard to take hold of your own actions, especially when someone else’s actions are so darned intertwined with yours. The sad thing about my roommate is that she is four years older than me, and if it’s being this hard for me at 56, and I am willing to face it, how much harder will it be for her if she ver faces it. She has said that she doesn’t think anything short of being put on the street or being put in prison for check fraud will be enough to make her mend her ways.

    For me this means that all I can do is get things cleaned up as fast as I can and get the heck out of here, and I keep holding that in mind. But knowing that the person I am, for the time being, in tandem with financially has so totally given up on herself makes it that much harder to keep my focus. So far, I am succeeding in doing so, but it takes a lot of energy that i would rather be putting elsewhere.

    This blog is one way I am keeping myself focussed on the goal; reading blogs by folks like you (who are further along the spectrum than me) is another.

    @Peter: Thank you, and welcome to my little corner of the world. Would love to read your tipping point story, if you’d care to tell it or point me to your URL.

  4. […] Personal Finance Tipping Point at The Dangling Conversation […]

  5. otherdeb said,

    @Personal Finance Tipping Point Contest Winner: Thanks for picking this up!

  6. […] The Dangling Conversation […]

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