Tired of Credit Card Debt – A Bad Love Story – part 3

[This is the third and final part 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! Don’t forget to catch the first and second parts.]

Chapter 7: The Second Break Up

After falling into credit card debt a second time, I decided to cut ties once again. I was sick of having this debt hover over me, taking away my hard earned money bit by bit!

So, I changed my focus. I put my student loans on the back burner and sent all extra money from my side hustles towards my debts. I even used my emergency fund to completely pay it all off! (Almost immediately regretting that decision, might I add). 

Aside from having to build up my emergency fund all over again, I was credit card debt free! Again! And I wasn’t going to go back this time!

Chapter 8: But I Deserve This!

In transition between by previous job and my current one, which I started back in February of this year, I had a week off to just relax. No, I don’t regret it. But I did have a significant lag between my last paycheck at my last job (which was also smaller than usual) and my first paycheck at my job now (which also wasn’t as large as it would normally be). So again, I dipped back into my credit card debt for regular monthly expenses that I had to pay for before I received my first check from my new job.

I wish the story stopped there. But I also think that starting this new job has made a direct impact on my increase in spending on unnecessary things. My job now is very challenging and exhausting, and also rewarding! But after a particularly tough day or week, it’s much easier for me to convince myself that I “deserve” that new pair of shoes, or I “deserve” a nice meal out. I work long hours and my commute is painstakingly long, so I justify buying my lunch or dinner with the fact that I barely have time to cook for myself anymore. Honestly, though, I do have time to cook. It’s just much easier not to.

Obviously, it’s this kind of thinking that has lead me right back to the beginning. According to my latest net worth update, my credit card debt balance is now at $2,986, which was a significant increase from the previous month’s balance. I can no longer look at my balances and honestly tell myself that this was all out of necessity. No. It always starts out that way, but eventually, my needs become wants and my balances keep growing.

Chapter 9: Third Time’s the Charm… Hopefully

You’re hearing it straight from me, folks (again) – I am declaring war on my credit card debt once and for all! Not only will I be throwing as much money at the problem as possible, but I’ll be cutting back on a ton of unnecessary expenses as well. I’ll limit my credit card spending to only my commuting costs – my gas, my daily tolls, and my BART fare since I know I can afford these expenses anyways. All other “extra” spending – eating out, seeing a movie, getting a massage, etc. – will not be going on my credit cards and will only occur if and only if I can pay cash for them.

Let’s hope this is the last time I break up with this clingy-ass credit card debt 😉

(Side note: yes, the thought of doing another Spending Fast is weighing heavily on my mind right now. Still haven’t made an official decision on it yet. I’ll keep y’all posted)

Well, that’s it for Tired of Credit Card Debt – A Bad Love Story. I hope you enjoyed reading about my soap opera-like relationship with credit card debt. Hopefully this will be the beginning of the end – once and for all!

What’s your relationship like with your debt? Is it like a bad relationship or have you completely broke away?

AMDG,
Lisa

18 Comments

  1. Travis @debtchronicles June 18, 2014

    I know all about the “I deserve this” mentality. It’s a viscous cycle to have a lot of debt (which reduces your spending capability), but then knowing your income is pretty good and thinking that you should be able to afford more (but can’t because of your debt). Credit cards were a crutch that kept me spending…..it was like circling the drain waiting for someone to flush.
    Travis @debtchronicles recently posted…Optimise your spending: eliminate waste in your life and budgetMy Profile


    • Lisa E. June 18, 2014

      It’s so easy to give in to that mentality! For now, I need to leave my card at home so I don’t have that temptation with me.


  2. Jason @ Phroogal June 18, 2014

    I’m rooting for #3. I fell on the trap twice myself. It will happen and I know you can do it.
    Jason @ Phroogal recently posted…Is It Ever Okay to Dish About Your Money?My Profile


    • Lisa E. June 18, 2014

      Thanks Jason! Means a lot 🙂


  3. Jen @Sprout Wealth June 18, 2014

    That is one tough experience with debt because of credit card isn’t it? The important thing, I believe, is being able to recognize the root of the problem and doing the right thing to correct it. To be debt-free is the goal of most of us and here’s wishing you the best on that goal. You can do it, girl!
    Jen @Sprout Wealth recently posted…My Tricks to Making Money With Affiliate MarketingMy Profile


    • Lisa E. June 18, 2014

      Thanks Jen!


  4. FinanceQA June 17, 2014

    Is the end of your credit card debt once and for all? will you get rid of all the credit cards you own? I supposed credit cards aren’t bad if you keep the balance small and manageable.
    FinanceQA recently posted…How Can I Prevent Foreclosure On Our House?My Profile


    • Lisa E. July 12, 2014

      I won’t be getting rid of my credit cards, just the balances! You’re right, credit cards aren’t bad as long as you can pay off your balances each month.


  5. Debs June 17, 2014

    Hi Lisa
    I’m a multi-timer too, although I wasn’t handling the finances each time we had to go back to the trough (cough, home equity advances to pay off credit card debt). We never tracked against a budget, just swore we would never do it again but it happened all the time. Since I took over managing the finances back in March 2012, we track all spending and follow a budget closely. Previously we were guilty of all the “I deserve” purchases too. Now this time, we are serious. We have paid back $120K over the last two years but we started with almost $400K. I know these are not the same numbers that you are talking but it doesn’t matter. It’s the same thought process and discipline. We are still tweaking our budget and finding ways to lower our expenses. We use credit cards all the time to get points, but they are paid off each month. Good luck with yours and I hope your budgeting serves you well to never get a credit card balance again!
    Debs recently posted…Father’s Frugal FinancesMy Profile


    • Lisa E. July 12, 2014

      WHOA $120K in two years?!?! That’s amazing!! Good luck on your journey, you’re already doing so great!


  6. DC @ Young Adult Money June 16, 2014

    While I haven’t had credit card debt, I do have a car loan, student loans, and a mortgage. I am a sucker for low-interest debt as well as debt that serves a specific purpose.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…How to get free stuff on CraigslistMy Profile


    • Lisa E. July 12, 2014

      I have all of the above 🙁


  7. Michelle June 16, 2014

    Thats great! As long as you are trying – I also have the same issue with the CC. I am hoping blogging and reading all PF blogs will help to keep me on track with my spending habits

    Good Luck to us 🙂
    Michelle recently posted…Week 2 : Spending Budget Re-evaluatedMy Profile


    • Lisa E. July 12, 2014

      Reading other pf blogs is definitely inspirational!


  8. I think it’s easier than people think to fall back into debt even though you swear it’s not going to happen again. I’ve been there. I’d like to say I’m debt free, but I now have a car loan. It’s not QUITE the same as cc debt, but it’s still debt, and I hate owing, period. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Carefree Summer DaysMy Profile


    • Lisa E. July 12, 2014

      Yes, it’s much easier said than done!


  9. E.M. June 16, 2014

    I’m cheering you on Lisa! I have fallen into the trap of being too tired to cook at times, too. It’s a silly excuse, but I think a lot of us experience it. So many people swear by crock pots, or cooking up a lot of food on the weekend so all you have to do is heat it up. Maybe that would make things a bit easier on you? Or at least have some quick meals you can make to avoid the temptation. That’s always my fallback plan if I forget to take something out of the freezer.
    E.M. recently posted…Given the Chance, What’s One Thing You Would Buy?My Profile


    • Lisa E. July 12, 2014

      Aw thank you EM! I am looking into crock pots, I know The Simple Dollar is a huge fan of them!


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