Thursday, January 13, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

My brain is spinning with numbers, and I don't like it. My brain's been spinning with numbers for the past few weeks now, and I finally decided to blog about it. If for no other reason, in the hopes of making the spinning stop.

Just before Christmas, our sleeper couch (an old, worn leather couch that we got for a steal on Craigslist) broke. After some careful thought and planning - as much planning as you can do in the span of a couple of days - we bought another, brand new set. We had a pressing deadline, nothing was coming up on Craigslist, and what did come up was snatched up within hours. So we took ourselves to our favorite discount furniture store to take advantage of their 20% store wide sale, and plunked down $1000 that we'd not been planning on spending any time soon.

A couple of weeks ago, my beloved camera fell off the counter and broke. Broke the lens, broke the body. Just BROKE. The following morning, my beloved laptop (which, if I'm being honest was already on very borrowed time) chose that moment to give up its ghost and finally die as well. Dead. Fried. Finished. In less than 12 hours span of time, we were in the hole for over another $1000.

Not the most auspicious way to start the new year.

And now, I'm in a financial dilemma. Neither the laptop nor the camera are NEEDS, per se, but very strong wants. We are very fortunate in that we could take a month or two, just pay minimums on our credit cards, and replace them both. But it hurts... literally pains me to take even a month off of aggressively paying our debt. Especially since we already did it in December. I already declined a birthday present (a new tattoo :( ) because I just couldn't, in good conscience, spend $150+ when we have a camera and a computer to replace.

And, if that's not enough, I was going to take a yoga teacher training this year... something I was very, very excited about. We were going to pay for most of it with our tax return, but as it turns out, we greatly overestimated what our tax return would be. We could come up with the money without it, but it would mean a good 4 or 5 months of barely above minimum payments on the credit cards. And again, I just don't know if I could do it.

And just to add to the equation, we decided to take a long-in-coming trip east this summer, for which we recently set up an automatic monthly savings. We're excited, we're ready, and yet that voice is there. Should we really be doing it when we still have all this credit card debt? Is it really the best time to take such an expensive trip? Nothing is set in stone, and I think the only reason I was able to save for it in the first place was because I knew it wasn't for sure; I knew we could still back out if we needed to.

Oh, how much SIMPLER life was when we didn't care; when we wanted something and we put it on a credit card without a thought. How much simpler it was when we just let our debt rack up, and worried about it later. Or someday. Or never.

I don't have the answers yet, but I will. I'm convinced that there has to be a way, has to be some happy middle ground that I haven't yet found. Something that allows us to have what we want and still be responsible and mindful about the goals that we've set.

And maybe then my head will stop spinning.

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