I think the best website I’ve seen this week is http://www.givesmehope.com/. I don’t know about everyone else, but for me it can be hard to remember to be hopeful. All those little daily struggles and frustrations can really bring me down. And certainly the news and friends, they don’t often share these little hopeful stories. (Except Gimundo — they had a great story yesterday about restaurant diners paying it forward all day.)
Today, the little thing in my life that I’m focusing on that GMH is that I finally paid off one credit card. My American Express Optima, which many years ago I’d used to consolidate debt at a lower interest rate (3.9), is finally paid off. I only wish I’d managed to have that be the last time I consolidated debt thinking I’d never do it again! Still, it’s something. Lowest interest rate but the lowest balance, and it’s done. And I can see my other debts going slowly down as well, and I hope it’s going to go down ever faster.
This month has certainly had a strong learning curve on budgets, though. I underestimated how much we’d need to spend for Christmas, even though we’ve severely limited how much we’re spending and who we’re buying for. I think because this is the first year I’ve had a real budget, I really hadn’t paid attention to all the costs (cards, stamps, school and teacher gifts, cookie tins to share our homemade cookies in lieu of gifts). I’m not charging anything… but I’d hoped to have a little left over to push at debt.
So, the wrap up for the month… $383,291.31, down $2,673.94 since last month and $20,146.83 since April when I started this quest. I think I did figure out why it was so high in November, I did the calculation before (vile) credit cards had added finance charges. My fault for having them!!!
Anyway, this give *me* hope. And I’m happy to be hopeful. And I hope that part of my budget in the new year can be a secular tithe. As a truly non-religious person, I’m unlikely to give to a church, but there are certainly causes that I believe in and would like to do a better job supporting… Heifer International, Habitat for Humanity and my local NPR station to name just a few.