I applied for and received my first credit card in 1994. I was 22 and a Junior in college. I was given a $400 credit limit to shop to my heart’s content at Victoria’s Secret [insert eye roll here] and I thought I was hot shit!
I didn’t know a thing about credit.
All I knew was I loved the idea of buying now and somehow paying later. I had a part-time job at Pier One Imports. I figured I would figure it out.
Of course, one credit card led to another and then another…
Once you were “in” with the Express/Limited family, all sorts of retailers welcomed you with credit lines. Department store credit cards soon followed and at one point, I had them all; Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom’s, Neiman Marcus, etc. Many stores I didn’t even shop at.
Soon I had a wallet full of shiny plastic cards.
I am ashamed to admit that after opening one of the statements (also known as a BILL, I came to find out), my curious father paid off my plastic addiction. Well, first he had a fit and screamed and yelled and then he paid my off all of credit cards.
All the cards were promptly cut up in a ceremony sitting around our kitchen table. There was more yelling, many tears and relief.
None of the balances ever amounted to much, $80 here, $115 there, but my little part-time job wasn’t cutting it and it was time for me to face reality. In total, my parents paid off almost $1500. I was ashamed and vowed I would never let that happen again.
After that, I got smart (or so I thought) and used only one very special Visa card, which I proceeded to rack up a balance WAY more than $1500. I was not going to let my parents bail me out this time.
Although, they did but I don’t think they ever knew it.
When I graduated from college, my parents gave me enough money to live on for one year as a graduation gift. This included rent, utilities and car maintenance (gas and insurance). The check was written to me and I promptly turned around and paid Visa off in full! I was out of debt and also jobless.
Needless to say, I took the first $23,000/year position offered to me and never looked back.
I’ve always struggled with credit cards but I’ve never let myself get into debt again like those early years. I worked hard to stick to a budget and live with in my means but that always meant paycheck to paycheck for me.
Long story short, I’ve never been good with money, I suck at math and while I’m not a big shopper, I’m also not a big saver.
My husband and I sit down several times a year and review our spending, where we’re at financially and what our goals are. I am BEYOND grateful, completely relieved and much happier that he handles all of the bills and budget and anything and everything else pertaining to money in our home.
It’s just better this way.
This post was written for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop, Prompt 2.) One good reason why you are not in charge of your family’s finances.