Confessions from my credit card
I once bought an egg poacher instead of paying my phone bill…
Have you ever been in debt? Like stupid, self indulgent debt that you justified at the time but later came to regret?
It’s ok, you can say. Ain’t nobody here but you and your credit card bill…
Ok, I’ll go first:
One time I spent $327 on suede boots from Nine West when I had more than $1500 owing on my credit card.
In my defence I’ve been wearing them religiously for almost seven years now (which breaks down to $46.714285 per year I’ve owned them, just in case you were interested in the economics of this completely classic purchase), but it was a foolish decision given my circumstances at the time.
I am ashamed to say I’m one of those people who is afflicted, nay, seduced by ‘I need it now’ theory.
I simply do not understand people who can content themselves with deferred reward.
They are the annoying people who ration their Easter egg haul and save their pocket money instead of blowing it all on cap guns and mixed lollies the same day they got it.
Yeah, that’s right. You with your savings patterns and predilection for only spending money that you have; you make me sick.
You haven’t spent the last seven years walking around in chic suede boots.
No, you’ve spent it building up a deposit for your first home and getting your Warren Buffet on and paying bills without the assistance of your beleaguered parents.
Beleaguered parents who, if not for your sickening financial discipline and willingness to move out of the family home before reaching 30, wouldn’t be able to retire until they’re 127-years-old because of your otherwise uncanny ability to only ever find money to pay for things you want to find money for and leaving your folks to pay for the rest.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are people out there who are crap with money and those who are smart with money.
Sure, there are degrees of affliction on this financial bell curve, but generally speaking you’ll be one or the other.
How to not be crap with money
As someone who has had to go through the painful and gut wrenching process of opening a shared bank account and become utterly accountable for every single financial decision I make – eg: ‘Do you really need that protein powder?’ or ‘sweetie, it’s nice, but what’s wrong with the 14 jackets you already have?’
And my favourite: ‘Do you really need to buy free range eggs?’
Yes, I bloody do need free range eggs.
I may be crap with money, but I’m not about to sentence innocent chickens to a slow and hormone-riddled suffocation in a poultry concentration camp run by farming fascists who probably refuse to let their children read.
I have principles.
But as I was saying… If, like me, you are crap with money (and most of you probably are) there is hope.
You can turn it around.
I know you can because I did, and I once bought an egg poacher instead of paying my phone bill.
Either way, the following sentence is guaranteed to solve all your financial problems:
TAKE ANY ELEMENT OF CHOICE OUT OF THE EQUATION.
Clearly you cannot summon the will to not spend money, so just remove the option altogether.
- Cut up your credit card (or give them to someone else to look after)
- Don’t go shopping.
- Seriously, don’t go shopping.
- Set up a savings account which automatically transfers a set amount of money from every single pay packet into a magical place where you cannot access it for several years. Compound interest is your friend.
- Tell someone the truth about your financial irresponsibility. Make yourself accountable. Either that or get married – both will work.
Then, while you’re not shopping and thus not tempted to buy things you don’t need with money you don’t have, you can channel your excess funds into repaying your debt or saving for the future.
The perfect crime.
Also, consider a balance transfer which may give you the benefit of 0% interest on the balance of your credit card debt for a period of time and use that as an opportunity to gain ground.
The reality is, if you are crap with money, you need to fix it; otherwise you will end up stressed, anxious and in crushing pattern of debt that prevents you from realising your life goals.
But it can be easily redeemed.
I never set out to be financially irresponsible. It just sort of happened over 30 years of blowing all my pocket money on cap guns and mixed lollies.
But sooner or later, it’s time to grow up. And it’s way more fun to be king of the castle instead of wondering how you’re ever going to pay the castle off.
Yours for sweet mulah,
If you need help with financial struggles and aren’t sure you can manage it on your own, contact one of the following fantastic organisations: