[This is the first of a three part series where I’m outlining for y’all the details of my unhealthiest relationship – my relationship with my credit card debt!]
As I was updating my latest net worth, I couldn’t help but notice that my credit card debt was growing.
This has got to be one of the most frustrating things ever. It feels like no matter how many times I’ve gotten rid of it, the debt just creeps back into my life. Just like a bad relationship. Here’s how my bad love story with credit card debt would go.
Chapter 1: How We Met
I was a sales associate at the local Kohl’s store one summer and I would get a bonus for every credit card that I got someone to sign up for. So, naturally, I applied for a store credit card myself. Ever since that first approval, I was hooked. The idea that I could buy whatever I wanted without actually having the money right away was so attractive to me. The only thing I had to worry about was making sure I could afford the measly monthly payments.
Chapter 2: Immediate Infatuation
As any typical credit card debt story goes, once you apply for one, it’s hard not to apply for others. By the time I graduated college in 2010, I had a total of 5 different credit cards and all of them were close to maxing out.
A lot of my possessions were probably bought with my credit cards. Half my shoe collection and probably half of my closet were all bought on credit. The second I wanted a new dress or if I wanted to splurge on a mani-pedi, I would check my account balances. If there was enough room on one of my cards, I would swipe away. If I wanted it, my credit bought it. I was obsessed with things, with experiences, and my credit made it all happen.
Chapter 3: Second Thoughts
What was my turning point? Well, let’s just say that there’s no feeling quite like getting your credit cards rejected at the register. I remember the first time it happened, and the second, third, and fourth times came shortly afterwards. I knew I had to stop the cycle of maxing out my cards, paying just enough to get by, only to max them out again. It was tiring, embarrassing, and I was sick of it.
I knew that I had to take control of my debt because I was sick of it controlling me. So I started reading some personal finance blogs, mostly The Simple Dollar and Get Rich Slowly at the time. I started hearing about finance gurus like Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey. Though everyone’s methods and techniques regarding personal finance were different, there was one common idea uniting them all: spend less than you earn. So I started cutting back, I started small side hustles, and I knocked out my credit card debt back in January 2012.
Stay tuned next week for part 2 of Tired of Credit Card Debt – A Bad Love Story!
How did your relationship with debt start?