My debt free day

Wedge looks back at the loving relationship he had with his credit cards, and regrets that he got into bed with so many of them. The good news is, the pain from the break-ups is nearly over.

I don’t mind telling you that I was an expansive and thrill-seeking teenager. Getting my first job made me feel powerful and rich. I felt so rich in fact, that I spent a great deal in order to keep up with all my friends. All of them, which meant spending a very great deal.

We’re only talking modest amounts by today’s standards, but back then, I was living beyond my means, and the credit card companies loved me; I thought we were going to be together forever.

But the relationship soured; my various and several credit card companies wanted more and more from me, while I felt they were offering less and less. Sure, one or two of them offered me a great deal more, but I was committed to all of them.

A decade later and I didn’t feel anything had changed or developed; that stereo (ghetto blaster; remember them?) that we bought together in 1997 was still costing me dearly. Something had to be done.

Getting clear

So I finally woke up and realised that the relationship wasn’t working for me – sure there were benefits and perks, like insurance and some cool services, but these were smoke and mirrors, just pain-killers, numbing me to the reality. So we broke up.

Wasn’t as simple as that though, it took a long time for us to split our possessions and responsibilities. Sure, we stopped seeing each other, but, like any alimony, the payments continued and I was hurting because of them.

Of course I cut them up; of course I started buying everything with cash and watching the pennies, and of course I tried to pay off the higher interest cards first and foremost. I also took a ‘consolidation loan’ to help me pay off the high credit, but I abused that cash too. It’s taken a long time, and my life has suffered along the way.

The one thing that I have been good at is earning more money as I go along. Need to pay off some debt? Get a higher income and then you can increase your payments and avoid simply paying off the ‘minimum’ that will get you nowhere. Fine, yes, I know increasing your income can’t be as simple as that, but you’re older, wiser and more experienced now – go and ask for a 10% pay rise and apply for 12 new jobs that pay 10% more than your current salary.

My debt free day is

The 28th July 2009 – that’s the date I’ll be debt free; utterly and totally free of the shackles of my spending.

It will allow me to buy a house, and therefore take on 25 years of managed debt…

[Wedge]
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