Many, many people live in a situation where income chases lifestyle in an anxiety producing dance with debt. Paul David Tripp
Do you spend more than you earn? Do you have a credit card that always has balance? Or do you a personals loan? Or a laundry bag full of them?
I wanted to share my struggles with debt and the way I have finally come to terms with it. You want to avoid these mistakes and don’t get your panties in a bunch like I have for a decade.
My Credit Card Debt Story
Do you know how kids feel when they have access to an unlimited supply of chocolate or candy bars? They are ecstatic! All that candy is irresistible. The chocolate? Insatiable.
And they only want more. Without a second thought or care of what consuming all that candy is doing to their systems. Even if all that candy gives them a tummy ache. They still love it.
Now imagine a credit card with a 19-year-old kid. It is much like handing candy to a toddler.
That is what happened to me.
I had a credit card with my first job. It gave me this insatiable power to eat where I want, buy anything I need and go anywhere I please. Swiping it here and swiping it there, using that plastic money was irresistible.
The feeling after I bought those clothes, the shoes, the bags, the makeup, ah! I was never satisfied and wanted more and I had the power to do just that, without cash.
I was so young and I didn’t know the consequences.
So in the beginning, there was a credit card. Then came a personal loan that paid off the credit card debt and now there is a laundry bag full of both.
This is my credit card debt story. It gives me the jeeps that nail dragging on a chalkboard may give you.
When I was maybe 7 or 8 years old, maybe younger, I can’t be sure, my mother bought me a pretty purse. It hung behind the door, the same place my father hung his jeans, after work.
Every day, before he hung up his jeans, my father transferred all the coins from his pocket into my purse.
I didn’t realize he was doing that until he showed me the big belly of the purse and told me that he was doing it for me. “This is your money and this is how you must save money… ” he went.
I only heard the first bit. All those coins were MINE?!
Summer came; schools closed and I was home all day, every day.
And every day I put my hand in that purse, scooped out a few coins and bought candy or ice-cream. Most times for me, sometimes for my friends.
Slowly and steadily the purse started to lose weight, until one day it was just a purse.
My father noticed and boy, was he furious! He was so angry and disappointed to the point that he never did that for me again.
Fast forward a decade later.
In high school, I didn’t get any pocket-money. I got bus money and that was it. I watched friends buy their Irish-cream-topped-with-whip-cream blended cold coffees, chocolate donuts. Anything anytime they wanted. Anytime.
I wanted to do the same!
So I saved the bus money for weeks and walked. Maybe have one donut with it, the cold coffee was never affordable.
I walked home for miles so I could have a donut. It was during one of those dreadful walks that I promised myself as soon as I could, I would spend ALL the money I get. I would never compromise. If I wanted something, I would allow myself to have it. I would not let myself be in the want.
This is exactly what I did for the next 10 years.
My Mistakes Using the Credit Card
- Spending more than I earned.
- Not keeping a track of the credit card balance.
- Not having a budget for credit card spending.
- Taking my credit card ratings for granted.
Being young and stupid was simply an excuse. I never learned the value of money until now.
I recently got my hands on this wonderful book, SEX & MONEY by Paul David Tripp. I turned the pages of this book, it smacked me hard in the face. By the end of it, I was beaten to a pulp.
In light with Tripp’s book and by the grace* of God, my eyes have opened. The reality of how I’ve been prostituting all the money I had and how far I am in debt is just sinking in.
*Grace: Something good that you get even when you don’t deserve it.
My credit card debt story is cringe-worthy, especially now that I have children to fend for and bills to pay.
In light with Tripp’s SEX & MONEY book and by the grace of God, the reality of how I’ve been prostituting all the money I had and how far I am in debt is just sinking in. My credit card debt story is cringeworthy. Wouldn’t you agree?
Grace: Something good that you get even when you don’t deserve it.
Dealing with Debt
I opened up about our finances to you in my post You don’t need bank balance to have children. After Baby#1 , I had quit my corporate life to be a stay at home parent. We needed to be on two incomes, though. For not just the childcare but to take care of all the debt.
I have a successful freelance writing career now. I grapple with debt still but we have a few strategies in place to pay it ff systematically.
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I’ve have been dealing with debt for almost a decade now. Do you have debt? How do you deal with it?