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You know what, I think I must say this here. Kelvin and I talked about it at length one night. It’s time to fess up that I had a little ‘thing’ for credit cards when we met. And that little thing had got me in some ‘big’ trouble. By the time we were looking to start a life together, I had almost $15,000 on credit and store cards and had applied for two more online. I thought to myself, why not? At the time, I had a house, was paying down a small mortgage, and always had some job. What’s a little credit card action going to hurt, right?

 

Wrong, short version.

 

When I met Kelvin, the super saver, I looked like a pretty good bet on paper. I owned my car; I had a house with at least $50,00 equity, and I was young with decent earning potential and a teeny bit of money in the bank. But that was a lie. Pretty soon, the cards started to back up on me. This one got maxed out; this other went into default and transferred the entire balance to 30% interest.

I started to sink below the weight of the repayments, and then my hours got cut. That $15,000 in credit started inching towards $20,000. I freaked out. Kel, new to the whole credit card situation also freaked out. Rightly so. Despite our plans, borrowing would be almost impossible with the cards hanging over my {our – now} head.

 

Credit lesson learned.

 

It took us over a year to pay that money back. Almost two. It took budgets and plans. It wasn’t easy. For me, it was like breaking an addiction. I quit smoking and sugar, and giving up my credit cards was harder. We followed a method commonly found on the internet, in books, and everywhere*.

First, we cut the cards up and stopped using them. Not a single cent more went on those cards. No question, we made the minimum monthly repayment on all cards every month. We transferred balances to low-interest cards with no fees where it makes sense. Then the real work started, and this is how we did it.

First, we took a $200 a week and put it on the card with the most significant interest rate/highest cost, weighing in penalties and all that. It can be any amount you like, we had good jobs by this stage, so we committed more. Every month that meant we were paying $800+ as well as the monthly repayment on that card every month. Things start to move pretty quickly when you can afford that sort of amount.

 

And soon it was paid down, and the account closed.

 

Then we took that $800 a month, as well as card one’s monthly repayment and put it on the next most problematic card. It would get paid down that little bit faster and the one after even faster until all the cards were cleared. Closing each account as we went soon, we were left with none. Thank goodness!

Kel now has a single card he used as leverage to open his business last year. A low-interest card made more sense than taking out a business or personal loan. That small card will be paid off this year. Credit isn’t a bad thing; as a real estate kid, I encourage people to borrow all the money for investment purposes.

But the thing you have to remember is that you can only call it an investment if it makes you more money at the end of the day {thanks, Rich Dad/Poor Dad}. And as much as I love my wardrobe, second-hand clothes are worth diddly squat.

 

So let me get to the guts of sharing all of this. Shall I?

 

When I show you great clothes, talk shoes and accessories, I want you to consider not buying them if you have to use credit. Consider a wardrobe challenge {shop your wardrobe, you’d be surprised what’s in there if you’re anything like me} or ANYTHING ELSE. Clothes swap, trade, borrow or save up for it. You know, old school. Haha.

I encourage you to start to pay those cards down. Sooner rather than later. Cut those cards up and stick them to your debit card. Only spend the money you have. I think you enjoy the purchases more when you do. Well, I know I do. Just give it a go, and try not to add any more to your account.

 

Will you accept my challenge? Are you already credit card free? How did YOU do it? ย 

 

* My dudes, I am not a financial planner. I am not a professional debt consolidator or anything like that. I just slogged my guts out to pay some stinking cards off and wanted to make sure that I tell anyone possible NOT to use them. Like, ever. Also, no judgement if you have cards; there are people out there who maintain them responsibly and use them the way that they should be used {you know, like pay off the entire balance every month or only in emergencies and the balance is cleared soon after}. I’m not one of them.ย 

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