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project hot air balloon


By 11:55 PM , ,

Originally uploaded by looseid

I'm kicking this month off with a big one. This may be the biggest sandbag that's been weighing me down. In fact, hands down, it is.

Ta-da. What is the number one cause of stress in America today?

It's money, or the lack thereof. (Loans, debt and interest rates, oh my!)

In case you've been living in a cave, the economy has taken a nosedive and interest rates are at a historic low. And at the risk of sounding like a smarmy bank commercial, I knew I should capitalize on that by consolidating all my loans by refinancing!

However, I didn't want to deal with the paperwork, the loan officers, the banks and the hassle. I wasn't in a horrible place with my finances. I certainly could be worse off. But on the flip side, I said to myself "self, you also could be doing a whole lot better". In short, I didn't know whether to sit tight or make a move - until yesterday.

I won't get into the ins and outs of personal finance right now, because this isn't the place for that. I don't fancy myself a Suze Orman, but I have been paying attention to her and a few others who are wiser than I about money. How could I not. That's all I hear these days.

So over the past week, I tiptoed into the cold water of refinancing. But as soon as the initial shock wore off, I became more at ease wiggling my toes and going in deeper to explore.

What I noticed during this project is this peculiar pattern. Once you decide to change something in your life, the minute you do that, things begin to shift. When you lift that block in your mind, everything aligns itself towards that change. It's as if somebody had you in a headlock and all you had to do was ask to be free and he lets go. That's what it felt like.

I checked my credit score. This, I do every month and it hadn't budged for months. But today when I checked, I saw that it had shot up 20 points and put me into the next tier. And on the very same day I got a letter from one of my credit cards telling me that they doubled my credit limit. I was initially scared of opening that envelope because these days, no letter from your credit card brings good tidings. They're all cutting down limits and increasing rates. Not this letter. What was going on, man.

When you inquire about rates, you get a call from a broker. Then another. And another. Like fly on shit they swarm.

I got quotes. Followed by more quotes.

I began my homework. Looked up anything I didn't know. I went to dinkytown and did some calculations. OKAY, I spent an obscene amount of time running numbers last night.

I even made a spreadsheet comparing all the scenarios and working through this option and that option. And in a matter of 24 hours, the once bleak and doomed tomorrow had become an endless and hopeful future.

And then I finally reached a carefully weighed decision that is now going to save me in more ways than one. Dollars and cents, obviously, but also in time (it's a full-time job), energy (depleting), resources (paperwork & cabinet space) & sleep=health.

When my loan officer confirmed the locked rate at 5:13 PM today, I felt sure, elated, energized and relieved, albeit a bit enervated. Even my colleague noticed I was glowing when I got off the phone. It was a really good move I must say.

It was so easy and it happened so fast. I don't know why it took me so long to make this shift.

I'll manage to make good on all of my loans, my credit cards and still lowered monthly expenses by hundreds & hundreds of dollars. Not to mention reducing the number of files related to these accounts. Within 30 days, I'll have only a single bank to answer to and that feels splendid.

As I sat here writing this, I heard a little clicking sound from above my head. When I looked up, there was a bright green grasshopper perched on the curtain rail, possibly calling out to a mate. He wasn't going to have much luck there, so I captured him and let him out into the garden.

He was so cute I posted about him on my status and I got the most immediate and overwhelming responses from friends convinced that he was a financially auspicious sign. I had no idea that this was common knowledge. But tonight I believe it may be true.

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  1. Wondering, does the golden grasshopper help your financial problem, along with the golden pig.