Monthly Archives: August 2008

Cha-CHING! It’s Pay Day!

The two most beautiful words a working person knows – “Pay day!”

Especially, if – like me – you tend to live paycheck to paycheck.

It wasn’t always like this, but it used to be like this. Does that make any sense?

When I first got divorced, money was something that was in VERY short supply in my house. We (ALL of us) wore thrift store clothes and no-brand shoes. The kids had food (none of it brand name and a lot of it from the damaged/discount rack), shelter and transportation that was mostly reliable.

What *I* had was a mountain of debt and one paycheck. The money almost always ran out before the month did, and creative financing was new to me. There were those times when the paycheck didn’t make it before the straw that broke the camel’s back. That always meant a nasty-gram from the bank and a charge of $30 for overdraft protection. OK, so they KNEW I didn’t have any money, but they charged me MORE of it? I never understood that.

OK, so we lived like that for a while. Dinners at Mom’s a couple nights a week, strictly budgeted grocery trips, and now and again a S-T-R-E-T-C-H to cover school pictures or the field trip to the zoo.

Things turned for us, and I replaced my 1988 Chevy Cavalier that barely went from home to school to work. I actually got a loan on my own credit! Next step – I applied for a mortgage. And I was accepted! So we now had a house and a car that ran all the time instead of just some of the time. Through various other circumstances, we began to save money. We moved up to department store clothes and better footwear. The kids got iPods and cell phones. We had more than rice and ground meat and pasta in the pantry. We could afford field trips and gym suits and pictures and the occasional outing. Life was good. Christmas came and there was more than one gift apiece under the tree.

What’s happened since then? Well – a car payment. The last one had been paid off for some time. The new one is not. Credit card debt…good Gods, if I could just learn NOT to use the damn thing. “It’s for emergencies” I told myself. Must have been an awful lot of those lately. The usual bills – electric, water, cable, internet, etc. Oil in the winter, increased electric in the summer…you know the story!

Anyhow, today’s pay day. I should be thrilled, but the sad truth is that this check is already spent. As usual. And so the cycle begins again.