What is your story? You may find my story to be interesting. Only one way to find out…
I was raised with the knowledge that debt is bad. Credit cards aren’t evil but they can create a world of hurt — fast. When I went off to college, I didn’t really think much about getting a credit card or two or three, and hey, I got a free t-shirt (and I still have one of them). I used the credit card to buy books, gas, and groceries. I always paid it off every month, or at least paid most of it. That first time I had to pay interest when I couldn’t afford to pay the balance was shocking. It shocked me into not buying anything I didn’t have to buy, and not buying anything I couldn’t afford to buy. I was a good credit card holder and followed that rule and paid my bill in full every month.
I had worked all through college, and with the help of my parents (Thanks Mom and Dad!) I was able to pay all my bills. That changed my senior year. My classes were harder and I didn’t make enough at my part time job to pay for everything on my end. I had to sign up for a student loan and I started using the credit card more. I found a credit card deal where I could get zero percent interest on all purchases for a year. What? I couldn’t believe it, FREE money! Since the money was free, I bought things that I didn’t need, but not on the credit card, with the little bit of cash that I had. Well, my usual bills came due, and I didn’t have cash to pay them, so I figured I could use some of that free money to pay for the bills, so I did. All said and done, I owed almost $12,000 at the end of my senior year on that credit card with zero percent interest, and I made the minimum payment every month. Well, when the year was up, I didn’t want to be stuck with 18% interest on twelve grand. I mean ouch, that is a lot of dough in interest! I did what any good graduating senior would do, I found another credit card deal that allowed me to transfer my credit card balances, and best of all, the new credit card had a twelve month zero percent interest rate on balance transfers.
I got a good job when I graduated, but now I had to start paying my student loan and this pesky credit card. With some hard work and a more credit card hopping, I was able to whittle down the debt. Now, eight years later, I am debt free (and have been for a few years), except for the house, and I am working on baby step 3. All said and done, I wish I would have found a way to avoid the credit cards in the first place. It would have been a lot easier to fill out more scholarship applications than it was working for years to pay off the debt I accumulated. It was really depressing to have to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, use dial-up for Internet, and do without cable TV for a couple of years, even with a really good job, so that I could pay for a power bill or high speed Internet bill from two or three years prior.
Everyone has a story. If you want to see more stories, click the link and enjoy.
If you want to learn how to get out of debt, and how to build wealth, consider taking the next step and attend Financial Peace University. If you are ready to jump in, Register Now! I have an earlier blog post with all the details.