debt debs

Personal Debt Wrangler – Had my money head in the sand – but no more!

My New Enlightenment Since Acknowledging our Debt Crisis

28 Comments Come to Jesus Moment was in March 2012 (aka D-Day).  I hesitate to use that phrase, because I am quite spiritual and don’t like to use the Lord’s name in vain.  However, Brett Nelson, a contributor at Forbes wrote:

CTJMs, we understand, are all about focus, clarity, intention and gravity—in other words, the very stuff that, if consistently mustered, would wipe CTJMs from the schedule.

He suggests ways to avoid CTJM’s including establishing milestones, embracing conflict, defining priorities and avoiding surprises.  Well that is really is what good personal finance management is all about, minus the embracing conflict thingy.

But wait!  When I think about how we got here, part of it was because we did not embrace conflict.  We avoided it like the plague.  We placated ourselves with shopping trips, one up-ing each other with purchases (well he bought that, so now I’m going to buy this) and saying “I deserve” when we were tired or stressed or just plain frustrated with life.


Laurie from The Frugal Farmer wrote on Debt Roundup What Do You Really Deserve?  I identified so much with that post.   All I wanted was peace, freedom and security but I was looking in all the wrong places.

I defended my spending habits as stress relief from a busy lifestyle that I had created by not prioritizing. I absconded from my role as joint financial steward justifying it in my mind that I was the higher income earner and worked long hours, so that was the ‘least he could do’.  I looked for peace a few too many times at the bottom of a bottle, weary after a long day or fretting about other family stresses.

So now what have I done to (help to) turn things around?

  • I don’t do things that are in conflict with our goals ~ this includes unplanned spending, shirking responsibilities in managing our finances.  I’ve even started grocery shopping (for deals) and cooking a little more which is crazy (for me).
  • I speak up, instead of burying my head in the sand, if I think things are going astray.  Better to have these small difficult conversations straight away, that are actually quite insignificant compared to the ones we had around D-Day.
  • I practice living in the moment – from “The Power of Now” by Eckhardt Tolle.  This helps keep me from getting down about our debt situation and worries about family members.
  • I try to set an example and communicate within our household about ideas we could do to save money and not waste.  It appears I am the most frugal person in the house now, turning off lights, conserving gas etc. It used to be The Irishman.  Go figure.
  • I’m discussing my new frugal philosophy and sharing tips and tricks, budget and amortization spreadsheets and cool posts with my adult children.  I could bear great guilt about how I have not set a good example for them but I know guilt is a wasted emotion.  Instead I am trying to help them as much as I can with the new smarter ‘me’ and an excel file for any situation up my sleeve!
  • I’m a cheap date LOL.  Visiting my grandson on a weeknight, is now Nama’s favourite night out.  Otherwise it’s history channel or just being side-by-side, both on our computers.  A beer on Friday night, unless we splurge on a champagne Friday which means bubbly in the bathtub.

So I think Jesus is helping me, and smiling, when I say my new frugal enlightenment instances are affectionately called “Come to Nama” moments.  tailz2006

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Author: debster

I am a fifty-something wife, mother and new grandmother, who admits to having their “head in the sand” about their financial situation until amassing $247,500 worth of consumer debt for a total debt of $393,500. We've paid $121K in 2 years with four more years to go. Join my journey at sharing ideas and motivation to all those coping with poor money management and bad debt decisions.

28 thoughts on “My New Enlightenment Since Acknowledging our Debt Crisis

  1. Love the picture first of all!:) It’s amazing how much a little CTJM can change your whole life not just a few things. I love the feeling that I can make decisions based on what I want to do rather than what I have to do because of money. Cheers !

    • I laughed when I found that picture too! It sums up how I think God is feeling about me and what I’m doing with cleaning up our debt. I also think God has a sense of humour, so I like to joke with him too. I loved your post on your debt journey. Inspiring to learn about how others have tackled this beast and won! Thanks for coming by! :D

      • The picture is from Dogma, one of my favorite movies. Thank you for putting other people’s blogs in your article, it gives me further reading!

        The phrase “Come to Jesus Moment” reminds me of my last boss. She was a very sweet lady, and would often use this phrase when describing someone’s attitude/change of attitude.

        • Thanks for clarifying. I got it from photobucket and was trying to verify a source to give credit to but never found one, so I just linked directly back to where I found it (if you click on the picture). DOGMA is a good movie, but I admit I only watched it once!

          My learnings about the tips of good blogging is to give credit to other good posts you’ve read and incorporate them into your topic, if relevant. That, and about 100+ other things! LOL

          • No problem, it’s happened to me before: quoting something and giving credit to something other than the original

            Oh, man, you mean there’s more to being good a blogging than liking/commenting on other blogs, and replying to everyone that takes the time to comment on my posts??? I have so much to learn.

  2. It’s funny, I have an opposite approach for the same result. I’m all about personal responsibility and accountability to myself (rather than looking outwards to a higher power)- but as long as we’re doing good in the end, doesn’t matter much how we get there.

    • Stefanie ~ my feeling is that God is giving me the strength and foresight to do what I need to do. I’ve struggled a bit with trusting him to look after me even though I have confidence he will look after everyone else. It’s like I don’t think he’s gonna hand me a lottery win or something like that. Although I know some people who don’t sweat their finances like I do and are calm and say “God will provide”. I think he knows I’m stubborn and has said, “Ok Debs, we’re gonna do it your way”. I’m hoping that he sees me as a steward to help others. That’s what I really want to do.

  3. In life, there are a lot of CTJM… As you get older, and realize your goals have less and less time to be achieved, you have to develop new goals based upon your new situation.

    Glad you have found some new methods to achieve your goals.

    • NNL ~ you are so right! That runways getting awfully short these days!!! I hope I don’t crash and burn. LOL

      I think you’ve got things well sorted out on your end, financially speaking. I like how you are helping others with your blog on property management. In fact, the Irishman and I just had a conversation in the tub last night, about our goals to buy a duplex and rent the other half. OK, maybe the tub part was TMI, but hopefully you know me well enough by now that that’s the way I roll :D

  4. Oh, I want champagne in the bathtub now.

    Are you on goodreads? I’m totally adding that book.

    And in our household communication really is the key. If either one of us finds an unopened bill on the counter addressed to the other we get on each other about NOT burying our heads in the sand. Accountability. Because being an ostrich can be so easy.

    • LOL we had the tub minus the champagne last night! It was still good!

      No I’m not on goodreads yet. I’ve only just heard about it so maybe I will join. The book is really deep, but worthwhile if you are struggling with living in the past or the future (which I think a lot of debt slayers are!). I’m actually reading it for the second time, because it is so deep and really makes you think.

      Good for you guys for doing this as a team. I think it’s really important and helps keep couples on the same page.

  5. We had a CTJM about a year ago when we kept hearing Dave Ramsey’s name at church and from friends. So we took his FPU class and his view of debt was so different from ours, but it hit me that I had it all wrong. Good luck with your journey! It looks like your on the right track.

    • I’m happy to hear people talking about debt and finances more because it used to be a taboo subject. Kind of like they way mental illness is being talked about more these days.

      I was actually thinking of asking our priest if there were any families that needed some free financial coaching. I would love to help out people who are overwhelmed and don’t know how to start off. The key here is that people need to admit they need help AND be willing to change. If they stay in denial, the same mistakes will be repeated over and over again.

      We are no where near perfect and still far from our goal, but we’re headed in the right direction. I find the support and information access here in the PF blogging community incredible.

      Thanks for coming by!

  6. Good Luck Debs on your journey!

  7. I have to say when I first saw the abbreviation CTJM I was like “what is that?” I read the whole dang post and the first couple comments before I realized what you were abbreviating. I feel like a dork now and I nearly laughed at myself :)

    • Ha ha I didn’t know the acronym either, l only knew the phrase. It was only when I researched a bit more that I saw that it was used. 2 dorks to go please!! ;)

  8. I agree that the debt repayment journey isn’t just about one “aha!” (or CTJM) moment but many. You need the first aha! to get you going but many more to keep you motivated and to learn from your mistakes. That’s why even though I’m currently out of debt (other than mortgage) I’m continuing to track my spending and budget. I want more aha moments to help me reach FI. Good luck continuing on your present path :)

  9. I love how this post is all about intentional living without explicitly saying so. I think wherever your motivation comes from, as long as you have it, that’s what matters. I’m excited for you and your journey ahead! I look forward to reading more.

    • Thank you Natalie Finance Girl! I look forward to reading more after I post it too! But I guess I should proof read it first. :D. Seriously, thanks for stopping by. I am enjoying your blog as well!!

  10. I love how this post is about intentional living without explicitly saying so. I think figuring out what works best for your in terms of getting organized and planning for your future is so personal and important. I’m glad you’ve found your path. I’m looking forward to seeing where your journey takes you! Good luck!

  11. LOVE this, Deb,, and thanks so much for the shout out. I can identify with almost every one of your points above. It’s amazing how we humans can be so clueless in the area of cutting of the nose to spite the face, isn’t it? Nowadays, every single spend has me thinking: will this push us toward or away from our goal of doing what’s best for our children/family and reaching debt free? That new way of looking at things has given me more motivation than ever in getting out of debt.

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  14. You are so right about the need to face conflicts as they arise. Putting out mine-fires regularly prevents the need to deal with an inferno.
    ( And I love that thumbs-up, winking image of Jesus : )
    Prudence Debtfree recently posted…Debt And Personality Type: Type A vs. Type B ( & our 11th slice out of Debt #3)My Profile