Now I haven’t carried a balance on a credit card in many years (in fact I only recently got a credit card again at all), but I sure remember the days when I did. What I don’t remember is what I bought. How did they get charged up so high? Thousands and thousands of dollars spent, on what? All I can do is guess.
The first credit card I got wasn’t so bad. It was a Dillard’s card. (Although at the time it was probably called Diamonds.) I used it to “build my credit” by shopping now and then and paying the bill off over two or three months. At the time I’d thought that you had to carry a balance in order to build up your credit, not just make payments. I would buy the occasional outfit and that was about it.
Then I got married, and got a card “just for emergencies”. I don’t remember now if it was a VISA or a Mastercard, but it didn’t matter because we soon got the other one as well. Next up was buying a condo, and that’s when the expenses really started racking up. I began to think that we lived at the local hardware store, and I remember getting our statements and seeing charge after charge. What I REMEMBER buying is a ceiling fan, some vertical blinds, and paint, but I know that the list was much more extensive. Then we got a Discover card, probably to do some type of balance transfer to it. I know that we bought a couple of other big-ticket expenses, like a plane ticket or two and a rifle. But other than that? It beats me. Probably we went out to eat a lot.
I bet I’d still be paying for some long-ago dinner now if I hadn’t finally had enough. And I mean really had enough: so much so that I spent a month living without air conditioning in 110+ degree heat rather than charging an AC repair. I figured if the pioneers could do it, I could do it. I think that having enough is the key. Once you decide — really decide — that you’re going to pay off your debt come hell or high water, you’ll be able to do it. There just may be a few tests along the way.
I still wonder what we spent all that money on though. Probably I’m better off not knowing.