I changed the layout around here, and now that background is hilariously topical. Look, it's money, and I write about money on here. It's really clever and works into your subconscious. I'm so funny.
Anyway, this Friday is the meeting of creditors I have to go to at the Federal Courthouse downtown, which is much scarier than the county courthouse (so much scarier that I felt the need to capitalize the words). It's at the building downtown that also houses our post office, and it looks like a building that should be in a bigger city. It's very 1940s stylistically, and it makes me wish I was going there for less terrifying reasons. I don't even know how to get upstairs; I've only been in the mail part downstairs. Maybe I can ride in one of those little tube-y things they send mail through. That'd be cool.
The meeting is at 8:00am, and I don't know much else about it. I'm going (and hopefully dragging my father along for moral support); that's about all I know. They're probably going to ask me a lot of questions like, "Why did you need to have six credit cards?" and "Why are there so many charges for Taco Bell on this credit card?" and I'm not going to have sufficient answers. It will likely be something like "I paid for school with some of them, but I also paid for living," and "I really like the Crunch Wrap Supreme." I have to pay my lawyer the final $300 at this meeting as well, and hopefully that will end the seemingly endless amount of money I have to pay to file bankruptcy which is a public declaration that I have no money. It's certainly a sacrifice I'm willing to make, though, for financial freedom. I'll be sure to update on the goings on at the meeting.
Required before this meeting, however, is a post-filling credit/financial counseling course I was able to complete online. It required a minimum of two hours with the material. There were eight chapters, some much shorter than others, and I was crazy paranoid that I wasn't going to come close to meeting that time requirement. I set the stopwatch on my phone to help me, but it turns out the website kept track for you. I kept thinking "I'M READING TOO FAST!" while going through it, but, to my surprise, it took me precisely 121 minutes to complete the course! Woo! The content was about 75% really helpful and good and 25% stuff I already knew. What's frustrating sometimes through this process is the fact that I know some of this already, I've just made stupid decisions. Certainly a learning process to use my knowledge better! One of the most enlightening things in the course was a fresh look at budgeting. For so long I didn't budget because every penny was going somewhere, and it was overwhelming to realize that there wasn't enough money to go everywhere. Now that I've done the course, I have an actual budget that allows me to put $100 in savings each month. Did you know that I don't even have a savings account? It's ridiculous and stupid to say, but I'm happily going to open an account with my next paycheck. $100 isn't much, but I hope it will add up.
The budgeting process I went through focuses on three different levels of goal setting- under $500, $500-$2000, and over $5000. My goals were fairly simple, some more specific than others, but they suggest keeping the goals on a card I would keep in front of my debit card as a friendly reminder to not spend money on stupid stuff. I'm going to try it!