When I started polluting the Internet from this corner of my blog, Mommy Wants Vodka, I was facing the inevitability of not only getting a divorce, but also learning to manage my own money – a concept as daunting as trying to solve for 0 using the microwave. In all my years of being an “adult” (quotes intentional), I’d never been in charge of money.
See, while the idea of “managing money” makes my skin crawl and my guts go gooey, it was a practical matter in my marriage. Dave managed the bills while I spent my time cleaning the toilets, vacuuming my life away, and polluting the Internet, one obnoxious sentence after another. Really, it was an equal division of labor.
But when one side of that labor divider is taken away from the equation, well, learning how to manage money was (and remains) something of a work in progress.
While I’ve been absurdly thankful for all of your suggestions and support, I’ve still struggled, in the same way that anyone who’s survived a divorce struggles: suddenly you’re responsible for things you’d never even thought about before. In the process, I’ve learned a number of things about myself along the way (and not just how to work the microwave, which, I’ll admit, was a daunting task).
Namely, paying bills.
While freelance writing often left me scrambling for change in the couch when rent came due, I did always manage to make it one way or another (and, I should add, without resorting to the “encounters” section of Craig’s List). I began to look, in earnest for a jobby-job. Y’know, the type that offers the same amount of money every week and gives you fancy stuffs like “health insurance.”
I was lucky to find one.
Which makes it even more confusion that paying my bills would become such a thorn in my side. Without money coming in, that makes total sense. With the addition of money, the whole thing sounded a lot easier. Notice I said, “sounded,” because it wasn’t. Easier, I mean. In fact, it began to fall to the wayside, especially dealing with an intense job, such as the job I’d found.
Rather than focus upon paying my bills like I should have, I’d instead sleep, or stare at the wall blankly, trying to relax from a stressful day, which, I’ll be honest, was every day. But I loved my job and I loved my sleep and I managed… mostly.
Until, of course, the bills began to pile up. I’d find ways and excuses to put them off; to ignore them until I got a phone call reminding me that I was, indeed, putting aforementioned bills off.
I couldn’t understand it. I had the money. I had the ability to read. Hell, I could even write! So what was my major malfunction?
Turns out, paying bills was one of those things that left my mind entirely blank, panicking and wishing I had a corner to crawl into. I cannot possibly explain why this happened: I’d never been attacked by a roaming bill, I’d never been assaulted by a bill, I even knew how to pay them. So WHAT was my problem with paying bills?
Short answer: I don’t know. Paying bills makes me panic.
Which is a pretty pathetic phobia, if’n you ask me, but there you have it. I’ve managed to live off a budget (more or less), I’ve found ways to cut corners, and I’ve even stopped eating out, which has done tremendous things for my waistline, by the by. I’ve learned tricks for cleaning and for having fun without breaking the bank. And still – bill paying leaves me feeling like a pathetic excuse for an adult (what else is new?).
My tentative plan is to use Google Calendars to keep track of when bills are due, set myself reminders a few days prior, and make sure that every bill that CAN be automatically paid is paid through the bank.
I’m hoping this works. I can’t even imagine what my therapist would say about my bill paying phobia.
How do you manage paying bills in a timely manner, Pranksters? Any tips and tricks for me?
—————Also: are there any topics you’d like me write about? I’m always down for new ideas and for guest posts. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested! Also also: if’n you want to advertise a product or conduct a give-away of a product, I’m open to it. Shoot me a line and we’ll talk. ESPECIALLY if a yacht is involved. Also also also: without you guys, I’d be lost. Completely.