Bottom Line Behaviors

by Diane Conlinn

March 24, 2001

Some of us have bottom line behaviors with which we must deal. I find that I must not rent videos, borrow books, and borrow from family and friends. Why? Because I take too long to repay or I run up a bill.

Videos, I forget to return them or I'm tired and its out of my way. My bitty mind comes up with all these reasons. In the end, I quit paying ridiculous sum for rent, and quit renting videos. If I want one, I'll buy it on sale. I can resell it back to Music Warehouse or someplace else. I buy the videos for about $10.00. I watch it as many times as I want. I get back about $4.00 usually when I sell it back. So the video cost me $6.00. Other videos I have saved and still look at whenever I want. I've long since paid them off in viewings. I knew I had a problem when I paid $35 in late fees.

For a while, I turned off the TV and ended my cable, because I felt it was wasting my time. Nowadays I use Tivo and schedule shows to be recorded at my convenience. My husband and I haven't been to the movies in about 6 months. We have great selections at home, why bother?

Library fines was another one of my woes. I would borrow books and not return them. Because I either lost them in my vast pile of books, or I hadn't read it yet, because I didn't have time. Or again, it was too much trouble to go to the library. I knew when I had a $35 library fine to repay that that was the end of that. So, now I buy used books, or buy books brand new. I'm careful about my selections. I am not creating new debt by running up fines. I enjoy my books several times, and I can write in them if I wish. It's a very satisfactory arrangment. And I've made $200 off of book sales this past year.

Borrowing from friends and relatives. I knew when I lost track of who I borrowed from, or when I realized that I hadn't paid someone back in three years that it was time to end this pattern. I always meant to repay them. But, other creditors would show up with higher bills, and higher needs. Why should my friends and family lose interest on their money and send it down the voracious hole of my debt? I made a point of paying them off and haven't borrowed from them since. I prefer this method. As I don't have to deal with them resenting my borrowing, or feel like they have control over my life because they lent me money.

Each person is different and my bottomline behaviors don't have to be yours. All I know is a bottomline behavior is something that I repeatedly abuse. And so along these same lines, I got rid of my checking account. I couldn't keep it balanced and I would call the bank, stand in line at the bank, balance the bank statement, and yet I would still end up bouncing checks every month, spending as much as $150 in bounced check fines. That was unacceptable to me, and I closed my checking account. I use only a savings account nowadays and it works for me.

This is why I closed my charge accounts as well. I repeatedly ran up against the limit, and I always had a good reason for it.

Now I live on cash and pay for things ahead, even my dry cleaning. If I find that I have another nasty habit, that I abuse, then I will have to take another set of steps. It may be in the future I will find a way to handle a checking account, but in the future this works for me.

I use Microsoft Money to track my spending and plan all my debt and utility payments. Before that I used spreadsheets, and before that a 5 columnar pad.

Thanks for reading.