My name is Jefferson, and I am a Nail biter. Gross, I know. Seriously, I can’t remember the last time that I had to clip my fingernails, going all the way back to my childhood. I don’t know why I have this habit. I don’t get any particular satisfaction from biting my finger nails, it just kind of.. happens, mostly unconsciously. Am I addicted to biting my own nails? Well, maybe. Can you really be addicted to something that you don’t even realize that you are doing? There are times when I am driving home from work, listening to the radio or talking to Michelle and the kids on the phone, when I realize that I have been biting my nails for the past several minutes.
My wife is grossed out by my fingernail biting, and understandably so. The world is a dirty place, and we spend all day every day touching the world with our hands. When I bite my nails, anything that I touched since the last time I washed my hands finds its way into my body through my mouth. I don’t know if nail biting is a genetic or learned behavior, but my eight-year-old seems to have developed the same habit. Perhaps not coincidentally, he seems to get sick the most of anyone in the family.
You may wonder why I am talking about nail biting on a financial blog, but let’s try to see if there are any commonalities. Is nail biting really any different than other bad habits? I don’t believe that any problem is completely hopeless, and there is always a way to find yourself in a better situation. For example, when it comes to personal finance, letting yourself get in credit card debt is certainly a very bad habit. You are borrowing from tomorrow to pay for today, and causing yourself a myriad of problems down the road. You are setting yourself up for a future where your paychecks are already spoken for which makes it difficult to pay for life’s basic necessities. This bad habit will prevent you from saving for the future, make it nearly impossible for your family to take a vacation (without running up more debt), and prevent you from being able to help out charities and make the world a better place.
Of course, our story that we have shared at See Debt Run is proof positive that there is a path to break this bad habit and set yourself up for financial freedom. By changing your mindset, setting up a budget, building yourself an emergency buffer, investing in some inexpensive personal finance software, and being diligent and patient– you can kick credit card debt to the curb, where it will never rule your life again.
If we can do something as difficult as getting rid of over $20,000 worth of credit card debt in just 14 months, surely I can find a way to stop biting my fingernails. At this point, I can’t help but believe that we can accomplish just about anything if we take our time and truly dedicate ourselves to the goal. But I have tried to stop biting my nails before and haven’t been successful. I could try painting some clear and bitter fingernail polish on my nails, which might be the equivalent of cutting up your credit cards. Or perhaps I could just force myself to pay a small fine every time I bite my nails, which would attach a financial incentive to the whole thing.
Regardless, stopping this bad habit is absolutely something that I want t do. They say that admitting that you have a problem is the first step. That concept certainly worked with this blog, when we declared to the world that we were going to change our financial situation. Let’s hope that I will be just as successful with my nail biting habit.
Have you ever successfully kicked a bad habit to the curb?