Monday, August 31, 2009

Time to put my finances on ice...

As I write this my credit card is in a container of water in the freezer, turning into a frozen block of debt. Yes, just like in the the movies. ENOUGH! I need to get a grip and sop using my credit cards. Period. It doesn't matter if I get airline miles, cash back, whatever. It is debt. Not only did I rip my credit card out of my wallet and fling it in the freezer, but I moved my savings over to my checking and used it to make payments on my two credit cards.

What set off this flurry of activity? When I arrived home tonight there was a letter from my USAir MasterCard that started "Important Notice of Changes to Your Credit Card Account Ending in XXXX". As of November 1, 2009, my APR (Annual Percentage Rate) is switching to a variable rate. According to this letter the current variable APR is 5% higher than my current APR. In two months my account will be at the mercy of the evil credit lords. Eeeep!

How can this be happening? How do I even have credit card debt? A few years ago I was in a lot of debt, declared bankruptcy, and started fresh. I was really careful. I planned, saved, and didn't use credit cards. I applied for a credit card to build my credit score back up, and use it responsibly. Well, the economy is in the toilet and so is my job. I've had major pay cuts this year and because of that, am now in debt again. It's not much compared to how much I was in debt before, and compared to the average amount Americans carry in credit card debt I wouldn't even be considered in debt. But it makes me nervous. Debt is a slippery slope and I don't want to be in fear of creditors or worried that I can't pay my rent by the end of the year.

I'm posting this here so that I will be serious about paying down the debt and keeping on track with my spending. Yes, it's worth it to not eat lunch out when I'm down so that I keep that $7 off of my credit card balance. When I want to hang out with my friends or splurge a little on a magazine or book, I need to really think about what I'm getting out of that versus the potential debt it will give me. Isn't it worth some saving to be able to pay the bills that matter and not have an anxiety attack over it? I think so. I know this is going to be hard, but I have to do this now and not when I'm too far in to fix it.


Anonymous said...

I soooooo hear you!!!!! I just cashed out a CD to pay off the credit card I hadn't made a payment on in 4 months. I'm grateful that they let me settle at $0.50 to the dollar. I'm not sure how I even accumulated the balance. But since I had been job hunting since December, and am now going back to school instead, using savings seemed the only way out of mounting fees and charges.

a nutt said...

They say that you don't really have savings until your debt (especially credit card debt) is paid off. And I totally agree. Obviously I know how you feel! Hang in there! We'll plan some fun free things soon!