Good morning Dinks. How do you feel about your credit card? I love my credit card…now. Now that I’ve paid off over $50k in debt my credit card is no longer a crutch and I love it. Yes, it’s true I used to abuse my credit card and let it abuse me. Thankfully I’ve grown out of that bad behavior and learned from all my past financial mistakes. Past mistakes like shopping every weekend with my credit card, taking my credit card out to dinner and not paying it off in full after a glorious day together. Yes I used to date my credit card.
Even though I no longer have bad spending habits I’m still tempted to use my credit card every time I walk by a window and see a warm sweater or at night when I’m hungry and want to order in food. Every day is a struggle and I have to keep reminding myself that my credit card is a lot of things, but it’s no longer my financial dependence.
A credit card is not your best friend
I used to wake up on Saturday mornings, grab my credit card and go shopping. When I first moved away for college I had no friends and nothing to do. So what does a girl who lives alone in a new city do when she has nothing to do? Shop and spend money. I didn’t have anyone to call and hang out with so I spent many days and several thousand dollars strolling around town hand in hand with my credit card. I was living in the moment and I wasn’t thinking about the future impact that overspending would have on my life.
It’s not your happiness
Being alone is lonely; but I was happy as long as I had my credit card. I became so dependent on swiping my credit card that I couldn’t go a day without buying something. How sad is that? Now I buy myself something nice once a month as long as it’s on sale and as long as I have cash. I spent money on anything and everything I wanted from candles to new furniture. I lived day to day – emotionally and financially. I didn’t think about repaying the debt or getting a bill in the mail at the end of the month. Buying things made me happy and that’s all that mattered. When my credit card was maxed out I applied for another one and that’s how I ended up over $50k in debt.
It’s not an emergency savings fund
I never saved money because I had a credit card. If I wanted to go home to visit my family and friends for the weekend I would charge it to my VISA. If I couldn’t pay my rent one month (several months) I would just hit up the ABM and take a cash advance. Yes that’s how I used to live. However I’ve grown up and come to realize that a credit card is not an emergency savings fund. Just because you have a credit limit doesn’t mean you have to spend it.
A credit card is your financial life
I know that sounds extreme. Take it from me because I know firsthand that money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does buy financial ruin. I didn’t know just how bad having bad credit can mess up your life but it does. We’re talking total financial dismay from not getting an apartment to being fired from your job as a financial planner. That’s why it’s always smart to use your credit card wisely.