Paul David Tripp says – Many, many people live in a situation where income chases lifestyle in an anxiety-producing dance with debt. Do you spend more than you earn? Do you have a credit card that always has balance? Or do you have laundry bag full of personal loans? 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 did for over 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.They still love it even if all that candy gives them a tummy ache…
Now imagine a credit card with a 19-year-old kid. That was me, much like an open candy shop 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 though and wanted more and 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 – nail dragging on a chalkboard gives kind of hijeebies.
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 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. Slow and steady 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 they wanted. Anytime. I wanted that!
So I walked instead saved the bus money, for weeks. Then 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.
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 of Tripp’s book and by the grace* of God, my eyes have opened.
*Grace: Something good that you get even when you don’t deserve it.
The reality of how I’ve been prostituting all the money I had and how far I am in debt sank in.
My credit card debt story is cringe-worthy, especially now that I have children, and more bills to pay.
Wouldn’t you agree?
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 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 off 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?