The second chapter/section/LIE of this book is:
“I’ll have everything I need to live the life I’ve always wanted.”
Before I started reading the first story in this chapter, I wasn’t really sure what it would be about. I could assume money, but wasn’t 100% on that. When I turned the page and saw the title, “Breaking Up (With MasterCard) Is Hard to Do,” I not only had my suspicions confirmed, but I commiserated. Yes, yes, it is hard to break up with that trusty MasterCard.
This story was all about Cara and her relationship with MasterCard, a relationship she’d had since college. She discusses the beauty (or beast) or minimum payments, the process of denial that many people go through in regard to credit card debt, the obligatory “Spends More Than I Do” friend, the “$100 Target tax (whenever I go into a Target, they ought to charge me $100, because I can’t leave without spending at least that much.)”, happy hours and other associated entertainment costs. She hid from her debt until she couldn’t hide anymore – when she got married. When she and her husband had to face the realization that they couldn’t buy a house until she got her debt under control.
Luckily for me, my relationship with MasterCard became healthy a lot quicker than Cara’s did. I got a credit card before going off to college because my mom thought it was important for me to build my credit. She was taking care of the bill then because I wasn’t working, so it was no big deal for me. I got a second one shortly before my semester in Australia. I needed it for the flight, for emergency purposes and whatever else I needed to get done. Well, while I was there, I kind of let it slip and forgot about it. It started with my $1800 flight. Followed by $500+ in the first week I was there building up the necessities for my new home. And was shortly followed by all my traveling expenses, some partying expenses, some absolutely unnecessary expenses…
Next thing you knew, I was back from Australia and I checked the balance of my credit card. EEP! The number I saw made me want to cry. We’re talking somewhere around $7000 in debt, I think. I worked on paying this down over time. Slowly but surely, I was making progress.
Finally, in May of this year, I was able to say that both of my credit cards had a balance of $0. It took two years, but my debt from Australia was paid off. Now, I still have both credit cards, but the one with a higher APR has been locked up in a safe since I paid off the balance and the other has been kept at a manageable balance ever since.
Getting my finances in order at this age, is something I’m very proud of. I’m virtually debtless, I have two very solid savings accounts, into which I am depositing money monthly and I’m managing to pay all my bills on time and still live a more-than-comfortable life. I mean, I go on trips, I go out to eat, I buy myself new clothes and shoes…all things that women in this chapter of the book struggled with. I’m living a good life without letting it spiral out of control like I did in the past.
There are still those months where I freak out about how much money is in my account (like now), but you know, life happens. Big events happen and emergencies happen and you need to spend more money sometimes. But I’ve got a cushion and I’ve got it under control. I’m 23 and I’ve learned my lessons about debt. Aside from the student loans (which I could easily pay off now, but I’ve got time), I’m good. And I’m glad that I won’t have a huge amount of debt to hide from my future partner like Cara did.
Stay tuned for the next lie: “I’ll know myself and what I want.” (hahahahahaha, oh man, that’s funny…)