DEAR HARRIETTE: I spent too much money on Christmas gifts, even though I promised myself that I would stick to a budget. Now I’m saddled with several thousand dollars’ worth of credit card bills exactly at the time when I wanted to be starting fresh financially. How can I change my habits given that I already messed up and the year is just starting? -- Becoming Debt-Free
DEAR BECOMING DEBT-FREE: Kudos to you for recognizing your folly. That is the first step to changing your behavior. Consider several options for clearing up your debt situation.
Since financial savvy is not your strong suit, get help. You may want to download a simple financial planning tracker app into which you log every penny you spend and why. You can get one that helps you to budget the resources that you have. For a listing of highly recommended apps, visit doughroller.net/budgeting/10-tablet-apps-that-manage-your-money.
For a small monthly fee, you can hire a bookkeeper to help you to get your affairs in order. Ask your friends or co-workers for recommendations. You can also find a financial adviser who will review all of your financial information and help you to get on course for a healthy financial future. The point is for you to get help from people who know more than you and who have the ability to help guide you to healthier behavior.
You may also want and need ongoing support. Consider joining Debtors Anonymous. Just like Alcoholics Anonymous, you can go to free meetings for people who are struggling to manage their money and who come together to talk about their concerns and help one another make smarter choices. To find a meeting near you, visit debtorsanonymous.org.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Like the person who wrote in about having chest pains and heart palpitations, I had the same symptoms for years, and no doctor could ever figure out what was wrong with me. Finally a cardiologist diagnosed my problem as microvascular angina, which is common in women. The small vessels around the heart constrict, giving the same symptoms as a heart attack. Medications are available to treat this condition.
I’d suggest your reader call a cardiologist. My life has been transformed. -- No More Heart Pain
DEAR NO MORE HEART PAIN: Thank you for sharing your story and how you were able to be helped by your cardiologist. One of the greatest accomplishments of modern medicine is doctors’ ability to diagnose a multitude of health conditions.
For people who have not figured out what’s wrong, don’t give up. Go to specialists until you find a doctor who can help you to determine what’s wrong and how to restore your health. It can be easy to give up when you reach a few dead ends. Hopefully, this reader’s story will help you to keep searching for answers.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)