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Bankruptcy and the Price of a Latte

- Updated October 26, 2018

Financial consultants are always so quick to declare that you need to cut spending when things are really bad. Sure we all have some luxury spending that could deserve the financial axe. Cell phone service plans at $100+ a month, cable tv plans, a house with more bathrooms than I can count and a mortgage to match could all use closer examination during tough financial times. But this story is about a $3 iced latte with nonfat milk that I refused to do away with.When times are tough, and your credit situation is upside down the focus is always on reducing spending. When I was drowning in debt, rebuilding after a business bankruptcy, with no income and everything taken from me, I felt pretty low. I blamed myself, and my poor choices for finding myself in the situation but was determined to learn from my mistakes and engage in newfound frugality. I cut out of my life my service plans, lavish spending habits, the works. I embraced frugality to help fix my credit situation and get back on top. I could not give up my $3 coffee though.I learned a crucial lesson. No matter how much you cut, no matter how responsible and frugal you can reshape your spending to become, you must find something to treat yourself. When I had no money in the bank and few prospects of seeing any in the near future, that $3 coffee was an incredible luxury but it kept myself from snapping, it became my lavish spending habit that got me through the months of hardship.You might not enjoy a $3 coffee, but when times are tough, find something that can become your small luxury. When credit woes force you to cut spending, find something that you enjoy and don’t give that up. Maybe you like a nice pair of shoes, or a massage once a month. Even if these things seem unthinkable with your financial situation you must treat yourself occasionally or else feel like you are in a credit prison.I look back on my days of financial hardship and rebuilding with some fondness now. I never wish to go back to such a situation, and work harder than ever now to ensure I don’t. But I know if circumstances find me back to being broke, with no income and no prospects, I will survive, I will learn, and I will return stronger than ever — even if I have to wash windows for change to get my $3 latte.

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