Millions of people will suffer from a painful affliction that comes after the holiday season. It begins when a Federal employee delivers something to a box suspended on a wooden post just a few inches from the curb.
The discomfort comes on subtly and it increases as the subject enters the front door. How you handle the situation over the next few minutes will determine how your spouse is affected. Some of the infected develop a nervous tick and the desire to rush to the home office. Others develop a shouting disorder similar to teretts.
There is no pill that can make it go away. Not even time can heal this wound and the result is a financial tumor if left untreated.
It’s called a Visa Headache
This is the dreaded sum of reckless activity the prior month. Every January and February, this variant of “affluenza” causes loss of sleep, stomach aches, and feelings of nausea.
Some even have blurred vision and a sense of discombobulation. It nags and nags our subconscious for days until finally it can’t be ignored any more: This is the day the Visa bill needs to be paid!
Don’t become a victim: Ways to prevent a Visa Headache
The character known as Nina Ash in the television show “Angel” is aware of the effects a full moon has on her – it turns her into a werewolf. She has the courage, nay the responsibility, to lock herself in a jail cell until the threat subsides.
While we don’t have to go to such extremes, we should have the forethought to prepare before we turn to a page that reveals thirty-one numbered boxes with the word “December” at the top.
Avoid the Black Friday virus
We should make plans to be busy the day after Thanksgiving. At the first mention of the words “Black Friday” from the guy on the radio or incessant TV commercials we should block that day to put up Christmas decorations or have a de-cluttering party. DO NOT CROSS YOUR PROPERTY LINE for 24 hours.
Be like Santa
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Make a list and check it twice. Create a plan of attack on where to go, what to buy, and how much to spend before putting the key in the ignition. Santa knows who gets what long before the big velvet bag is plopped into the back of his sleigh. Your list is MUCH more manageable.
Pay with cash (abstaining from plastic germs)
It all starts with one innocent handshake with a piece of plastic. One wipe (I mean swipe) at the mall and you have greatly increased your chances of contracting the disease!
Urban legend has caused people to have an aversion to green paper, like there is something wrong with it. What studies have shown is that people who use paper money actually have a much greater chance, almost 100%, of never contracting a Visa Headache. I like those odds – they are much greater than a game of Russian Roulette played with revolving credit!
Beware the “Me-gifting” bug
Let us trace the problem to its origin: Instead of buying a gift for someone or even re-gifting a present you received from good old Aunt Sally, you contract the “Me-gifting” bug by buying yourself a gift! I know you didn’t plan for it to happen, it was an accident. It always is.
There is no pill available at Walgreen’s that can prevent a Visa Headache. On the contrary, walking through the aisles of the nation’s largest Pharmacy chain looking for such a potion could actually cause you to contract the “Me-Gifting” bug.
Warning: Christmas shopping with children increases the chance of me-gifting because “I deserved it for having to deal with such angels”.
If your spouse is spreading the disease or you weren’t prepared: Ways to treat a Visa Headache
The first step may seem drastic but it’s a sure-fire way to keep a Visa Headache from every appearing again. Grab a pair of scissors and perform plastic surgery on your credit cards. You don’t need a second opinion, it truly is the only way!
Cut back on excess. You have everything you need to get by so long as you have food in the fridge, gas in the car, and a pilot light lit in the furnace. Almost everything else is a “nicety” or a want. Reduce spending on non-essentials so you have some dead presidents to throw at the statement the moment you see it in the mailbox.
To be certain you never have to deal with this crap again you need a regular dose of Vitamin B. It’s a power enhancer that works best when taken just before the 1st of the month. It’s not hocus-pocus or some magical potion although the instructions may seem a little unconventional. Here are 4 steps to making your own super-powerful Vitamin B:
Step 1: While sitting, apply pencil to a blank sheet of paper and write down all your regular expenses
Step 2: Pressing lightly on the buttons of a calculator, subtract each expense from your expected take-home pay
Step 3: Stop when the calculator reaches zero. If a negative number is materializes on the digital screen then see Step 4
Step 4: Cross off any unnecessary expenses or reduce them until the total reaches zero
Monitor your Vitamin B daily to help prevent an overdose. I recommend keeping it in your purse or wallet, the same place your plastic germ carriers used to be. If you do any mobile shopping then I recommend using YNAB budgeting software at home and install the app on your phone. This will allow you to see how much money remains in a specific category as you are perusing the isles of your favorite big-box store.
Working out a little each week (by “out” I mean overtime or a second job) is the most potent form of financial exercising. The more you work out the faster you will be healed!
Warning: Side effects of Vitamin B
I should warn you of the side effects of such a remedy. They include:
- Neighbors making fun of you
- Spouses wondering what happened to the old you
- Friends wondering why you can’t go out drinking again this week
Remain calm. Everything will be OK. Your spouse won’t want the old you back, you will have the last laugh over your neighbors, and you can buy your friends the next round once you are cured from that pesky Visa Headache.
Have you previously had a Visa Headache? How did you deal with it? Please leave your comments below.