Day 13: The Curse of Credit

Main Point: Credit is dangerous.

Today’s assignment: 

Think about your credit card purchases, eve if you pay off the bill every month. Would you make these same purchases if you were limited cash> Of the objectives of this fast to break the hold credit has on you. One this day of the fast, write down in your journal the answers to these five questions:

1. How has MasterCard (or Visa) become my master?

Visa has become my master my giving me false sense of security. Sometimes I thought, “I can go ahead of get this item. I have the Visa in my wallet, although I have no money in checking or savings account.” Plus, I’m bound to Visa until I pay off the balance and high interest I’ve accrued. I look forward to the day when I won’t be indebted to Visa.

2. How would buy the things I need, or want, if I couldn’t use credit?

Without using credit, I’d force myself to scrimp and save for items I needed and wanted. I’d pay cash. It’s so rewarding to pay cash.

3. How has credit card debt impacted my marriage or other relationships?

Credit card debt has impacted my family relationships most. I haven’t told anyone how bad the situation is. I haven’t expressed my feeling of disgust to my mom for enabling me. Credit card debt is keeping me from having a deep relationship with a man, I believe, because I’d be too ashamed to divulge this information.

4. How much more would I have in savings if I didn’t have to make credit card payments every month?

I spend about $250 each month to credit card companies. That’s 10 percent of my take-home pay. That’s 10 percent that I could be saving or tithing or what have you. In a year, I could save $3,000 if I could just save the money I give to creditors. That’s a damn shame.

5. How have I felt since I’ve had to stop using credit for the fast?

I feel proud for freezing the cards, but I’m afraid of a large purchase suddenly coming up. I feel as if I would have no other recourse but to use the credit card because I have no savings.

Pull out your credit card statements from the last three months (leading up to the fast). Write down the total you spent for each month. Without looking at the itemized list of your purchases, try to remember what you bought. Why do this? Evidence shows that consumers often can’t recall recent purchases bought on credit. If you can’t recall what you purchased, isn’t it likely you didn’t need the items or services?

I think I paid for gas for the car, a Christmas gift and the gas bill.  I also bought two pair of pants and a top from New York & Co. because of the Black Friday deal. Everything was marked down 50 percent AND the store offered free shipping. I thought it was a great deal at the time. I still enjoy the pants and use them often. The shirt wasn’t flattering, so I returned it.

Here’s what I really used credit cards for from October to December 2013:

  • NY & Co clothes
  • Old Navy clothes
  • groceries
  • FedEx printouts
  • gas
  • sports bras
  • gas bill
  • $600 car repair

What I wanted to buy today, but didn’t:

Nothing really.

What was easy about today?

It was easy to not think about my money when I was with friends. I kept myself occupied at exercise class, a dinner party and a birthday party.

What was hard about today?

It was hard to actually figure out my Debt Dash Plan and get all of the numbers right.

What did I learned from today’s chapter?

I learned that it’s better to wait for certain things instead of pulling out the credit card. Many of us, myself included, have a problem with instant gratification. Credit cards give that to us, but at a high cost.

What I was feeling today about my finances?

Today was a weird day. I didn’t get any mojo going as far as wanted to work on my finances today. I think I needed a break.

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