Friday, June 18, 2010

Blog Your Own Damn Way Out of Debt

On the radio, they tell me that if I owe at least $10,000 in credit card debt, I “qualify for a free help program.” It's an obvious come-on from a debt consolidator who wants me to take out a huge loan and get further into debt. Now, Woman’s Day Magazine on their site is searching for someone in debt who will write blog posts about her misery. She’ll get paid $50 for every post she writes spilling her guts to the world about her bad financial habits. This information brought to you courtesy of Laura Rowley’s Money and Happiness blog. She promises to provide tips and advice to help the woman chosen for this lucky experiment.

Too bad I don’t qualify for either offer. No, wait. Good for me. I’m not in debt.

How about you? Are you willing to go on television on some cable show or be profiled repeatedly on the same blog as you daily or weekly or monthly reveal every stupid money mistake you make? Didn’t think so. By definition, people who make these kinds of deals are desperate. They have given up, so they seize upon the idea of laying their problems at someone else’s feet.

Blogging about being in debt is a fine idea, though, and here’s why. The Internet is public. Most people in debt are keeping it a secret, and the shame is almost as overwhelming as the debt itself. Yes, it is traditional in this country (and many others, no doubt) to keep our money situation as very private business, even more private than our sex lives. But does this make us happy? How many people do we know who are deeply in debt but still trying to live a lie, to keep up with the image of prosperity they have been faking through the foolish use of credit? More than you might think. Years ago I read a warning to be an alert driver; it claimed that 10 percent of people driving at any time are drunk, drugged, high, sobbing hysterically, or otherwise seriously impaired. (We can now add texting and using their cell phones instead of paying attention to the road.) Bottom line, what we see is not the truth. Many people we know who act as if they have plenty of money, who spend with a large hand, are secretly in debt and frantic to get out from under. But their sense of amour propre continues to compel them to fake it.

Maybe blogging, even if no one reads your blog because you never tell anyone about it, can help you get control of your financial situation. You don’t need to take out a debt consolidation loan, or become the paid show dog of some multimillion dollar company, to blog your own damn way out of debt. Start by creating your blog, which as you know is free. Then consider topics, such as: How It Started, or How it Snowballed, or What I Hate the Most about Being in Debt.

Blogging is like thinking out loud. If you aren’t ready to tell friends (the real ones) and relatives (the nontoxic ones) that you are in debt, tell the world anonymously through your blog. Your words could help you see your life in a new light, and possibly, you’ll find your way out of debt.

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