I grew up in a household where you simply did not talk about money. Sure, grouse about how you need more, speak generally about a raise, talk about the virtues of saving and the evils of credit. But that’s all. Never any details or instruction. And certainly there was a value in getting what you wanted, but never any practical talk about how to do that, or whether there was a difference between needs and wants. So, in the absence of a discussion, I began my adult life on demonstrated behaviors only. I got a job in college, sure, but I also got and maxed out my first credit card in semester one. That was normal. We were spenders who pretended to be savers. Frankly, we were liars.

On some level, I’ve lived my life that way henceforth. Sure, I have a retirement plan a good job and savings a little. But I am also crazy pants in debt. So, as I will perennially, I started trying to pay some attention to Suze Orman and get my finances straight. Her new show on OWN is Money Class and on of our first assignments was to reveal our debt. And since I come from a background of finance hiding, I figure maybe the only clear way out is to be out, loud, and…well, not exactly proud, but honest!

So, here it is:

Student Loans – $98,364.00
Credit Cards – $25,806.00
Car Loan – $1,567.00

Total Debt – $125,737.00

There. Owned.

So, you might be asking, how do you intend to pay that off? Truthfully, I have no idea! But, we have EAP at work and I’m going to use it to talk to a financial advisor. I did the math, and my math is poor so hopefully it’s less, but I’m hemorrhaging money to the tune of about $700 more per month than I bring in. Now, sure, I can not go out to eat and cancel my cable and lots of thing, but not $700 worth of things! So, I’ll get a helper and do whatever they say to and trust that they can do better by me than I have, that much is clear!

So, parents, talk to your kids about money, but more importantly, teach them about responsibility by being responsible. That’s it right there. And, do them a favor and don’t tell them they can have whatever they want. Teach them about what they need. As a librarian with a medical degree worth of debt, I can assure you that teaching them not to live beyond their means is the better thing to do for their future.

I am NOT keeping up with this blog. No surprise there. I would have resolved to do better in the New Year, but who am I kidding.

I did discover some new stuff not having a thing to do with libraries, though:

Energy Co-op of Vermont – I had no idea such a thing existed because I’ve never been able to buy heat via my own choice of vendor. I found them in the good ol’ Yellow pages. Their heating fuels are at least 50 cents cheaper a gallon than the other 15 companies I talked to in Chittenden County, plus they give 8 cents off for paying within 10 days or allowing them to just charge a card they keep on file. Plus, they’re a co-op, which is about as awesome as one can feel about heating oil.

Wildblue – In case you are not aware, you CAN get the nets in Vermont where we all thought only dial-up would go. Now, it is more expensive to have Satellite internet than dial-up, but it is comparable to DSL or Cable, so if you were already prepared to, or are used to, paying that much, check out Wildblue, they were the cheapest one I found. Plus, if you have DirecTV, they have a promotion of $10 off a month for 12 months for high speed internet with one of their partners (of which Wildblue is one), making the cheapest Wildblue package $39.95/mo. Not bad. The only drawback I can see is that it looks like you are operating some sort of command center from your house. Personally, I don’t have that kind of vanity, so you can put all the dishes you want on my house as long as I can check IMDb while watching TV! I don’t have it yet, but I’ll report back later on how well it works.

Swagbucks – I learned about this from I’ve Paid for this Twice Already… This search site uses Google and Ask as it’s structure, and pays you in swagbucks for using it to search. Since it is using Google, and gives Amazon gift cards as a reward option, I was easily sold. If you click through and sign up via the link I gave, I evidently get some sort of referral reward.

That’s all for now folks.

I can balance my checkbook and maintain a budget and generally understand what happens to my money when I put in the bank. Generally. Maybe they taught all the crazy stock market, FED rate type stuff in college economics. I myself was too busy partying and taking classes like “The Alexander Technique” and “Documentarians and Their Work” to bother with practical stuff like Economics.

I mean no offense to the 1 in 1,000,000th person who’s heard of the Alexander Technique and reads my blog. Honestly, I learned a lot from that class and am still trying to improve my posture with it. I’ve also made a delightful past time of watching documentaries. What I’m saying here is that there is a reason I had to go to grad school. My liberal arts education where they allowed me to run my own show at 20 meant that I got a very expensive piece of paper and no additional marketable skills or competencies. Except writing, and please do not judge my writing by this blog.

Anyhoo, I find the whole of this current economic crisis a tad…okay, a ton baffling. All I see are meaningless number jumping up and down and big, BIG companies falling down. I mean, I don’t know what all AIG does, but they used to handle my retirement account until I rolled it over a few years ago. That makes me nervous, because I have no way of knowing if the people who are currently handling my money are about to pack it in. And banks are no better, TD Banknorth now owes the state of Vermont a tidy bit of cash for doing shady stuff. Makes me want to just take all my money out of everywhere and stick it in a jar. But then, if we all did that, we’d have a depression. Oh…wait…

So, thank goodness someone can explain stuff to me like I’m in high school again. I haveĀ  love affair with the blog I’ve Paid for this Twice Already… and she pulled together a nice list of other people’s blog posts that explain some of the crap we’re seeing in the news. Here’s a link to the Sunday Link Love – Holy Economy Edition

Good luck to everyone who’s just trying to get through it. I know I am!