I've been calculating.
I may have mentioned in past posts here and there that I have been irresponsible with my bookkeeping/accounting. Not that I've done anything wrong. I've just let it pile up. And pile up to the point that the mountain is nearing the height of Everest.
Not because I was anxious to open up Pandora's box. But because of deadlines. The brick wall was finally closing in. If I didn't climb it, I was going to smack right into it. The first deadline that has been haunting me since December 31, 2008 is taxes. Yep, I have yet to file my 2008 return. I filed the extension and now have no choice but to get my shit together and show up at my accountant's office...tomorrow...at noon. Noon. Isn't that the time of every showdown that ever took place? How appropriate.
So, the past few days I have been dealing with reconciling bank accounts and searching for all those cash receipts that disappear like socks in a dryer. I found a bunch and reconciled them, then pulled out a file looking for something else and found another bag of receipts, then another and so on and so on. I have no doubt that tomorrow or some day next week when the taxes are done I'll find yet another box with a hidden envelope of more receipts. Today I actually found some from '07 that I didn't put into last year's taxes. Oh well, my loss.
My other deadline for finally getting on this (I actually consider that I'm filing early since my IRS deadline doesn't lapse 'til Oct 1) is that I am taking classes this Fall. And the other day when I was paying my tuition it dawned on me that I can apply for financial aid. I registered with FAFSA - that was fun - and got approved based on my estimated tax return but I need the real deal to show the school and see what, if anything, they can offer. Financial aid is part of the fun of going to school, right?
And my last reason for wanting to take care of my Everest is that I don't believe I can move forward whilst dragging this mountain behind me. I have finally made the choice to clean up my shit. To become fiscally responsible. (Ha! I just had to look up 'fiscal' to make sure I was using it correctly, which goes to show I obviously haven't been in the past.) And I will not relapse. As soon as I am done with '08 I am going to tackle '09 so I'll be ready to file on January 1st.
Another major step I am taking toward fiscal responsibility is I am no longer using credit cards. From here on out I am CASH ONLY, baby. I no longer want to owe anything to anyone. If there's something I want, or even need, I can't get it unless I have the cash in hand to pay for it. My mantra is - in this order - roof, food, transportation, savings, entertainment. If I have a bad month and don't have cash for gas, I'll take the bus. No money for the bus? I'll walk.
Credit is bullshit. It's a thing that the banks and credit card companies want you to take advantage of so they can get rich and pay themselves fat bonuses. Credit gets you nowhere. Except into a hole so deep there's no way to dig yourself out. Like the United States of America did. Whatever happened to the concept of saving up for something you want? Not only is that a fiscally responsible thing to do, it also gives you a greater appreciation for that thing you wanted. And half the stuff we purchase on credit cards are impulse buys anyway. Save up for that item you want so bad and you may realize you didn't really want it after all.
Okay, this post has totally gone way deeper and more personal than I intended. And I'm too tired to give it the edit it likely needs. Hopefully, no one will read past the first five lines. That's probably where I should have stopped.
I like the picture though. I took it on the May/June road trip...that I'm still paying for on my credit card.