I have debt.
I suppose with any human flaw, the first step is admitting it.
When I was 18 years old, and my bank informed me that I was eligible to open up my very first Visa card with a $1500 limit - well hot damn. It felt like I won the lottery! In hindsight, this probably should have been warning sign #1. Back in the day, whenever I used my shiny new card, I would very quickly make sure that I paid off the balance in full. Interest? Not going to catch me paying any of that nonsense! This card was to build my credit rating - not to dig myself into a future black hole that only the most qualified astronomer could access.
Warning sign #2: I worked in a mall and I liked shopping. Mainly because I'm a girl. There really is no other explanation required. Having a credit card, working full time in a mall and liking to shop, is like working in a gun store, having a gun annnnnnd liking to shoot yourself with it. In other words, NOT GOOD. My 3rd warning sign should have come from the fact that when you order food and have it delivered, the credit card is the best way to not feel as guilty about dipping into a bank account to find things to stuff my face with. The problem was, the card WAS my bank account - but like many other humans, that thought doesn't enter the mind (because it was filled with food and a new cute outfit I now can't fit into...because of all the food....gilz.)
As the years went by - I shopped. And I ate. Then I ate some more, maybe even while I was shopping. Then maybe I'd go shopping for a concert I have bough tickets to, and stock up on drinks and food for the hotel that I am staying at to make the concert night as fun as possible. What was that, you say!? My Ebay bid for the DVD of The Life & Death of Marilyn Monroe just won?! AMAZING. BECAUSE THAT WAS EXACTLY WHAT MY LIFE WAS MISSING.
After all those things that I thought my life was missing - I'm noticing that I have nothing to show for any of it - just a mound of debt, which was probably the cause of every hair growing in grey since the age of 22. I have stressed about it, cried about it - tried to pay it off and cried some more, but in the end, could never seem to get a handle on things.
That is until...
I didn't activate my replacement cards.
Sounds so simple, but when I saw them in the mail, I put them in my purse but neglected to call the 1-800 number to get the activation initiated. Week after week, I started to throw money on the cards here and there to make a dent, and I didn't pay much more attention, other then to make sure that minimum payments were made and my credit score (which I also obsessed over) was in the range where companies wouldn't tell me that I had to get a co-signer for a loan.
Today, I just checked the balance of my total debt - and to my complete shock and amazement, I HAD MONEY AVAILABLE. Like, not $5 either but a substantial amount! Gone are the days where I would be shuffling money to this and fro that, and now instead of shuffling everyday - I SHOULD NEVER HAVE TO SHUFFLE AGAIN (riiiight...)
I wrote this blog basically to reassure anyone who feels like their love of shopping, eating, shopping and shopping is ruining their chance at a productive future. I assure you that it can be done. Sacrifices have to be made, and if you are willing to make them, you can get ahead of the game. Everyone has debt - except for perfect people - so don't sweat it. Make your minimum payments and don't reactivate your cards when they expire. I promise that they will stay shiny and new and ready for you when the time comes that you can log back onto Etsy and go accessory crazy.
What was that, upcoming Christmas vacation? You want me to go where now?
Done and done.