She's like a best friend. Someone who knows all your dirty little secrets. Jumps in to help when you need it and is by your side all the time. She is ready to party when you are, and she loves shopping. Best bud ever, my credit card.
But things change when reality hits ya. When your pink little bubble bursts and your bills start piling up. You realize this is just a card and you have no money. Well, that's what happens if you are anything like me.
So today's post is going to be a post about me and my ex bestie: the credit card. Maybe I should have started my post like this,
My name is Joanna and I have been card free for 5 years and 3 months.
'Cause shopping can be an addiction.
So, let's go down memory lane, shall we?
I got my first credit card a year after I finished university. I was gonna conquer the world. I needed clothes and stuff to conquer it though, so I used my credit card. You see the first year after uni, I was not really working that much. I was making peanuts, but I would still go shopping even though I knew that I could not pay off my expenses.My mind set was more like,
Hey, I will pay as much as I can now, and will pay everything off when I have a proper job.
And I shopped, and paid for stuff, and shopped some more. I was a happy gal back in the day. Clueless actually. My credit card got a friend, a second card, and then I got a third one. As long as I was working and paying some of the credit off, I was fine. Of course the interest was so high that everything I was buying ended up costing me a fortune, but hey, I was gonna pay it off.
I was gonna pay it off.
And then reality hit me. How was I going to pay it off? When? I was in debt. Something needed to go. And something did go. I went to the bank and asked for my credit cards to be revoked. One bank said "no". But since when did I take no for an answer? I took out the big guns. I used scissors to cut up my credit cards, so now I definitely couldn't shop cause I didn't have a card.
Things I should have told myself the day I got my card
No! You do not need the same pair of shoes in two colors. One is enough.
Yes, the bag/shoe is pretty in both the white and black version, but I do not need it. I do not have the money (like the paper money) to pay for it, so I am not going to get it.
One card is enough.
You may not believe me when I say this, but I do think credit cards can be helpful in emergencies, but shoes are not an emergency. One card is enough.
My bank may give me a high shopping/credit limit, but I do not need it to be that high.
In Greece if you are a good customer, your card limit goes up. I was a good customer and my limit was going up and up. I was shopping and shopping.
Don't be secretive about your credit card shopping sprees.
The more I started talking about my shopping and my debt, the more guilty I felt. Reality started hitting me. You see, my debt was not just a letter I chucked in a drawer. It was real. A topic of discussion and embarrassment. In fact, only when I started talking about the actual money I owed, did I start really worrying and wanted to take action.
What do I do now?
I still shop and have fun but I only use cash or my Debit card (which is my money on my card). I also avoid going to the stores with too much cash on me, so I don't get tempted. I have a shopping budget. I have paid off two thirds credit cards. I have one to pay off. Every month I pay a sum, so my debt goes down. I do not stress myself out though. Slow and steady wins the race. I don't want a new credit card because I realize that I am not good with money and I do love me my stuff. A debit card and cash are fine. If I was better at disciplining myself, then yeah, sure. But I am not and that's a fact. If you want to read more about my adventures, make sure you check out my blog www.mypinkrambles.com. Do you have any words of wisdom for credit card holders?