If you have been following my new Instagram account @shesgoodcompany (if not, add me please!), you would know that I intend to eliminate my two personal debts by the end of April. Those two debts are 1) student loan, and 2) credit card debt. These types of debts are pretty common and while most would say, “it is normal”, I truly beg to differ.
In January, I was curious about transferring my credit card balance to a zero interest card. I mean, interest rates are where they get you! The idea was in hopes to stop the growing interest for a short period of time, so that I could pay off my credit card and finally close it. I have had this specific card for a little over a year but the interest is so high, my monthly statement notated that if I ONLY paid the minimum amount, it would take 30 years to pay! (What?! Huh?! 🛑 ✋🏻 RIGHT THERE!!!!!!! 😱😰😨😖. I mean, “WAKE UP CALL”, right?!)
After seeing this, my life flashed to where 30 years would take me, and that was RETIREMENT age. “Oh, h*** no! This card is NOT going to mess up my financial future”, I told myself. Following this realization, I figured looking into minimizing the interest at least would give me a boost.
I went to my bank and inquired about their card options. There was a 5% – 10% cash back with 11%+ interest, travel rewards at 13%+ interest or the basic credit card with no perks but was at 0% interest for 9 months, then would bump to 13% interest after that. Annual fees included. (Keep in mind, you pay the annual fee just for owning it, even if you do not use a dime off the card for the entire year.)
Oh! I have to mention that I went to my bank twice. The first time, I forgot I placed a 90-day fraud alert on my name through Experian since the latest security hack. Plus, they were doing it for free as a courtesy since, well, that’s self explanatory. So, I was not able to complete a credit card application due to a credit freeze. (Your financial institution or any business that requires that information for large purchases/transactions will not be visible. Note that!) Little did I know, that would be a blessing in disguise.
Moving forward, the second time I went back, the representative advised me that my debt to income ratio was so much (mortgage & car loan, too) that I would need a co-signer for the credit card. And that was for the 0% interest one. That was strike 2! A second “h*** no! / wake up call”! I was not willing to add more financial weight on my spouse to sign for something I caused. Nope. It would just be totally unfair. I mean, you have to know when to stop digging any deeper when you feel neck deep in a pit.
The representative further advised that “it would be my best option to just open then close it after [I finish] paying.”
Thanks, but no thanks. I did not want to get dinged for a hard credit check (which would lower my ***amazing**** 🤓 credit score), just to open and close a credit card in a short period. Also, another ding in the long run.
When I came home that day after, I did initially feel frustrated. Mostly with myself. It was almost difficult to refocus because it seemed I was out of options. Then, I had ice cream. (No judging! 😆)
I figured it was time to re-evaluate. I took a deep breath, mustered some courage, opened up my mobile banking app and checked my account. Gosh, I was disgusted!!!!!!
Let me tell you, I hate carrying cash with me. (Accidentally left my wallet in a shopping cart at Walmart one time, $100 stolen. Yea – humanity can suck. But whatever, my fault at the end of the day.) So my weapon of choice is usually my debit card. I usually track my spending but having to take a magnifying glass to what I have been up to — oh boy! It hurt!
My account was screaming, “hoarder” for my multi-trips to Bath and Body Works, “compulsive” for random Poshmark purchases (but they were a steaaaaaal 😭, stop judging me, LOL!), “waster” for multi-stops to eat out. Oh mylanta! It was embarrassing.
But I tell you this because your account is telling you a story about how you function. My account was saying, “Girl with no plan, no control, no discipline, no progress. Fail.” Again, yes, harsh. But I am being totally honest.
The irony is, I thought the COMPLETE opposite of myself versus what my account showed me. I thought I was doing alright, the whole time. I was effecting myself negatively even though I was trying to do good.
But as I said, blessing in disguise!
Because all these hoops made me realize that I needed to refocus on my goals, both long and short term. No shortcuts.
I knew I would just be playing “the world’s smallest violin” for the rest of my life if I chose not to knock out my debts now. I held myself accountable for this gross crime. I took it personally. I strongly felt like I committed a crime against myself and my family for not being in better control. Yes, again, sounding critical but it is the truth! (And we allow this! We sign our name on the dotted line.)
I also figured that my longterm goal of financial freedom at retirement age could not be affected because of poor financial choices I made in my youth. I was not willing to com-promise (Which way did you read that? Lol.)
So my friends, look at your accounts and figure out where you are.
Are you where you want to be? If not, how much more time is it going to take you? (Time is money and money is time – clock is ticking.)
We work so hard every day to achieve our dreams. We cannot let our efforts go to waste because of a lack of self-discipline. We can be stronger and we can always do better.
Do better, all day, everyday, my friends.
Make your time count. 🙂
Before we part, I’d appreciate it if you followed by blog and my instagram page, @shesgoodcompany. Surely there will be more to come.
Also, let me know if you have a similar story and what you did. Would love to hear it!
Xoxo! ‘Til the next post.
(📷: Fabian Blank)