Friday, January 14, 2011

Debt Collection

I knew this day would come. The great post-Christmas reckoning. The revenge of the great gods Commerce and Credit.

I’ve tried putting it off. Tried locking myself in that little room called Denial whose built in tannoy system plays that curious brand of muzak that goes “blah blah blah” very loudly every time somebody knocks at the door with a bank statement in their hand.

Nope. Can’t hear you. Come back later. No, it’s no good posting it under the door; I have stabbed my eyes out with the hoover attachments.

But eventually, just like those poor German soldiers in Raiders Of The Lost Ark, you look even though you know you mustn’t. And then the lightning bolts of remuneration hit you and pierce you straight to the heart and you are transported up into a huge whirlwind of self recrimination and regret and the only person who survives is Indiana Jones and to be honest, he’s looking damned ropey these days.

Every year this happens. You run and you run and then you hit the wall of financial accountability. It’s time to face the facts. Face the music. And not the blah blah blah kind.

I think what annoys me most (about me, ‘cos let’s be honest, this is me we’re talking about) is that I kind of bumble my way into this position. I’m reasonably good all year round and then Christmas comes along and, well, I just can’t handle it.

(Cue Jack Nicholson in a US Army uniform shouting, “You can’t handle the Christmas!”)

I think it’s the releasing of the purse strings. The sudden opening of the flood gates. The unlocking of the chastity belt. You get the picture.

Months of abstinence come to an end and suddenly you find you are hopelessly incontinent. Money is pissed up the wall, higher and higher, a little further and you’ll get it clean over the top, go on, keep trying, keep straining, nearly there and...

Oh. It’s run out. It’s stopped.

I’m running on empty.

I’m running on empty and all the little plants in the garden now need watering.

Bugger.

But I’ve come up with a solution. See, I can’t handle the all or nothing nature of my finances. The long desert and then the brief flowering period. I need to even out the scales. Balance things and thus balance my approach to my expenditure.

And it’s so simple.

I just need to spend all year round so that the madness never builds up and overwhelms me. I need to acclimatize myself to spending money constantly.

Isn’t that just sheer genius?!

I bet you could build entire global economies on such a foolproof ethos.



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53 comments:

Rol said...

I suppose now is the wrong time to ask you to lend me a tenner?

Barry Coidan said...

Yep, you're a cert for next year's Nobel Prize for Economics

Steve said...

Rol: I can lend you a tenner no problem because I can borrow it from one of my creditors. It's the interest rate that will cripple us both.

Barry: I swear to God I am keeping the British ecomony afloat single-handed. But do I get any thanks?

the fly in the web said...

How is it you have absorbed macro economic main stream trends so easily?

Steve said...

The fly in the web: I bought a Teach Yourself book with CD-Rom that came in 28 separate instalments for only £29.99 per instalment and then only read the fly leaf on the first.

Nota Bene said...

Good plan. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah

Steve said...

Nota Bene: did you say something?

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

Can I pass my shopping lists onto you then?

Steve said...

Trish: do you want to pay me cash in hand or accompanied by VAT receipt?

Gorilla Bananas said...

Have you got anything you can sell on e-bay? You must have a few rare Lego pieces that are now collectors' items. Or gold in your teeth.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: to be honest, I'd rather sell the gold in my teeth. And the enamel.

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

Bugger either of those suggestions - I was hoping not to pay you at all. I thought you wanted to spend your own money to make you feel better. Certainly that would make me feel bloody great!

Keith said...

To everything a season, a time to reap, a time to sow, and ( my favorite bit ) a time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together. You're just feeling the eternal circle.

Oh and there are FAR BETTER things to do with Hoover attachments, believe me......

Mark said...

Have you ever read any of those books by the Idler - they have good / offbeat attitude to money - good website too.

lunarossa said...

Doing my end of years accounts at the moment. Dreading the meeting with my accountant and subsequent tax bill.And the accountant's bill too. You can run but you can hide. I'm in the wrong profession. I should have become a banker.....Chin up! Ciao. A.

Löst Jimmy said...

A wonderful post!
The Lost Ark Nazis metaphor sums up my disposition at this time of year admirably

Steve said...

Trish: I think you're forgetting the basic tenet of retail therapy... it only works when you buy things for yourself.

Keith: bet you're a Dyson man. ;-)

Mark: I haven't - but maybe now is the time for me to start?

Lunarossa: nah. You have to be a selfish bastard to be a banker - we'd both fail the aptitude test.

;-)

Löst Jimmy: know how you feel. Let's hope we don't end up with exploding heads to boot.

autumnraven said...

I'm totally with you...I just need to strangle the little voice that says "you really shouldn't spend that" now. :)

Sarah said...

I didn't want to open my bank statement either. When I did I promptly reached for the (empty) gin bottle and howled into the night (that was a dark, wintry mid-afternoon).

It's the unexpected expenses that killed me this year. Travel that I wasn't expecting to pay for - arrgh!

London City Mum said...

La la la la la la la la la la la

*sticks fingers in ears*

LCM x

Wanderlust said...

Oh fark. That envelope. Haven't opened it yet. I still have (checks calendar) five more days until I have to make my last minute online payment.

Steve said...

Autumnraven: trouble is, that little voice always gets its revenge later with those words "I told you so..."

Sarah: the unexpected and the unnecessary have all hung me out to dry this year!

LCM: I name that tune in one...

Wanderlust: ah bill chicken. I know that game well.

English Rider said...

I think you should get a medal for your efforts to boost the local economy!

joebloggs said...

Have you never thought of runnig for election as your local M.P. I believe that you can spend spend spend like there is no tomorrow and when you run out of money you can continue to spend with gay abandon(whoever he may be) and put it all down as expences. The best thing about that now is they have jailed their sacrificial lamb to appease the public so it will be back to buisness as usual just in time for the end of the tax year!
Lets face it if you try and put the cost of a floating duck house, the repair of your moat and maintenance on a fictional house through the books and they are sanctioned then anything goes old chap. Just think, a private Legoland built on the local school's playing field, and charge £120.00 for a family ticket all at the tax payers expence.....It might just work.

Steve said...

English Rider: so do I. But I may have to pay for it myself on credit.

Joebloggs: now that's a viable business proposition and no mistake. Yes... Stephen Blake MP and embassador for the Midland's Legoland... I'm sure my bank manager would loan me the start-up fee... and I can pay him back later out of my first million.

Clippy Mat said...

'And let them as is owed worry about it an' not us as owes, 'at's what I say.'

I don't know who said that tho', probably Mr.Micawber before he was dragged off to debtor's prison while his wife and children looked on wailing and moaning.
Just wanted to Cheer you up. :-))

libby said...

We're all in the same boat....and sinking fast...another g+t anyone?

Steve said...

Clippy Mat: is that Dickens? I'm niot hot on Dickens. What was it - Bleak House? Or Dismal Expectations? Either seem apt. I'm much happier now, thank you.

Libby: make mine an absinthe and you're on.

vegemitevix said...

I'm in denial. What? It's part of the grief process!

Steve said...

Vix: I am weeping for your money as much as my own. Genuinely. Sincerely.

Suburbia said...

January's never a good month!

(Just off to fiddle with the hoover attachments!)

Steve said...

Suburbia: I can recommend a Dyson. The suction is far superior.

Fran said...

I hear there's a lot of delayed post in Warwickshire. Shame your bills weren't stacked up in it.

Nana Go-Go said...

I hear ya Bruvva!....and another two weeks to eek out £1.50! eeekkk!So much for signing up for Martin`s Moneysaving tips!Mind you, it`s quite cool to be frugal these days. Hey, that could be the title of your new book `Frugal Cool`....oh wait, I haven`t read it yet, have I?

Being Me said...

Yes, I subscribe to the continually leaky bank account theory. No nasty surprises at the end of the year. Just a 12-month mildly disguised hysteria about where it all goes.

Owen said...

Absinthe... come on over to France, I'll pour you one, and we can try to piss over the top of the wall together !

But the worldwide economy has been doing just that for years now, which is why we are reaching the bottom of the barrel...

Steve said...

Fran: somehow the bills got through first... I guess shit always floats to the top.

Nana Go-Go: £1.50 is about the size of it. Truly. Re: the novel; if you would like a sneak peek at the work in progress just drop me an email via my Blogger profile page and I'll be happy to send you a copy. ;-)

Being Me: the best thing is, my wife is an accountant... but we still can't manage our money!

Owen: can't we borrow a barrel from somebody else?

bigwords is... said...

Yes, just get more credit cards! Lots of lots and lots of the little money grabbing, internet shopping, plastic gifts from the god of consumption! This is your new mantra "I love to shop".

Steve said...

Bigwords is: Love to shop... hate to pay...!

Sweet Cheeks said...

I have the same issue every January. Somewhere around March we recover. Why or why do I never learn?
=]

Steve said...

Sweet Cheeks: alas, I think it might be March 2014 before we break even again...

misssy m said...

I wish I had the answer. I seem to have got myself into a position where in addition to myself assessment being due at the end of Jan like everyone elses, my car tax and MOT and tax disc run out too. How did that happen?

It isn't made any easier by news of banker bonuses coming back either, is it?

Steve said...

Misssy M: bankers and their bonuses... yes. As if the smell of shite wasn't bad enough without the powers that be rubbing ours noses into it right up close...

The Poet Laura-eate said...

My finances are generally pretty consistant in their cr*pness, despite my best efforts to be sensible. I definitely need to find a better-paying job by the end of the year or make a breakthrough with my business ideas to reverse the downward trend.

Have been thinking of selling old engagement ring and gold brooch left over from ex-fiance. It's probably good to jettison the past, aside from raising a few quid.

Steve said...

Laura: whatever you do don't send them off to cash4gold.com or any of their ilk... scheisters the lot of 'em!

The Sagittarian said...

Ihear you, brother! Somehow the debt-b*stards also seem to know when you have a wee stash put away and they make it rain...sigh. I should have listened to my mum "marry for money, she said, you can marry for love any time"
BUT I have started getting this years Xmas pressies in the sales...

Steve said...

Amanda: ah but money doesn't make you happy - not the having or the not having. Only love canmake you happy. That and a big box of Lego.

Heather said...

ahh, a man after my own heart. Sadly my husband doesn't see the logic in this plan at all.

Steve said...

Heather: we must go shopping together. Our combined expediture will have the world's economic situation back on its feet again in no time!

The Crow said...

Great and funny post, Steve!

(uh, sweetie...that was a US Marine uniform Jack was wearing...not that it matters a pinch of owl guano, I know...)

Steve said...

The Crow: I'm just hopeless at fashion! ;-)

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

Or you could just sell your organs on eBay. I hear gallbladders will bring in quite the killing these days.

Steve said...

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip: I thought I might start on the outside and then work my way in. My nipples are going in a bargain lot next week if you're interested. They'd make great coat buttons.