Hi, it’s Sophie.
Thanks for continuing to read my blog!
My last post was about how I started working a few hours a week at a women’s clothing store near my university to try to pay off my first credit card. In the meantime I got a second, then a third, then even more credit cards to be able to still pay for things while paying off the first credit card.
This is a big mistake that over-spenders make. I thought since I had money coming in I could afford whatever I wanted, but I never bothered to make a budget. Also, I was just getting into more debt on other credit cards while paying off the first one.
What I also didn’t understand is that it is a bad idea only to pay the minimum on your card balance, because essentially you’re just paying the interest and your debt isn’t really shrinking.
I started spending money like it was water. A new dress at the store that was my favorite color? I would swipe one of my many credit cards. My turn to buy everyone a round of drinks at a happy hour? Swipe a card. A plane ticket to go on vacation with a group of my friends? Swipe. A pair of boots, a taxi ride to my dorm, a fancy meal at a restaurant? Swipe, swipe, swipe. There was nothing I thought I couldn’t have, and no limit to my spending.
I want to point out that this wasn’t just one time, or even a short period of spending too much, like a week or a month. I was deeply in the habit of not budgeting, not looking at price tags, and just blindly turning over my credit card whenever I wanted something. Credit cards, which had started as a tool to build credit and buy a few necessities, had become my way of life.
My parents and friends noticed if at least not how much I was spending, how much new stuff I always seemed to have. My friends seemed more envious than worried, asking if the shoes I was wearing were new in an accusatory tone. When I would get packages delivered, my roommate would hand them over to me, sighing.
I felt smart and rich, and like I had somehow beaten the system. No wonder adults like my parents or other people’s parents always seemed like they had so much more money than I did, everyone was using credit cards! Credit cards were the secret to my happiness.