Part two concludes a three year long struggle to dig ourselves out of the hole. The best way to describe credit card debt is like digging a hole in the sand. The minimum payments allow you to sloooooowly dig yourself out, but all the while new charges, late fees, over-balance fees, and interest fees are like the sand on the sides that are continually sliding down into the hole. And before you know it, you are barely able to keep from choking on the debt that is burying you.
Credit card companies love the impulsive shoppers, and those that spend more than they can pay off at the end of the month. No credit lender ever made their big bucks by you making more than your minimum payment on time. They rely on offering easy credit at high interest rates in hopes that you will race out and buy a new T.V. and only ever pay the minimum. The deal you get on it is never that great after you add up all the interest you’ll be paying over the next 12 months anyway. Oh, and “12 months same as cash” or “____ months zero financing” only works if you pay it off in full before the time alloted. Otherwise, they dump ALL the interest and various fees on you from the date of purchase.
Okay, so back to our story here…So I made a budget and stuck to it. Over the last 36 months, we have taken all the extra pennies we have saved and put them down on our debt owed. Each year we recieved our tax return, we paid off more. We did still save each year to take the kids on vacation. Nothing crazy, we spent one year at the Oregon Coast, and last year we spent some time in Florida.
Finally, we are down to the last remaining month until we are done. Completely done. In one more month, we will have the last of our debt paid off in time to take a suh-weeeeeet vacation.
All the while we were paying off bills, we were still sacking a away a little for our vacation fund, and a little for our emergency fund.
I won’t lie…my husband especially will tell you that it’s been a very looooong 3 years. But now that we can see the light and are starting to feel the warmth of freedom, it doesn’t seem that long or that bad. Our hard work means that we can take our family on the vacation of a lifetime (paid for with cash, not credit cards thank you) and we are no longer at the mercy of a mega-bank’s high interest rates.
Just like quiting smoking, or kicking another dirty habit, no one can force you to kick your credit habits. You have to want it. You have to want to take control of your spending habits, your saving habits and your financial health. Do you want to bust your butt to give it all to someone else? Or do you want to be able to sleep better knowing that the money you earn is yours, not Target’s, Kohl’s, Bank of America’s, Old Navy’s or any other store that hawks their credit cards to shoppers?
Take it from someone that has come from the darker side, the grass (and the sleep) really is better on this side. Because it’s mine. Not Chase Bank’s.