Life can be hard, and sometimes when its hard, you do what you got to do to survive and this can affect you for years to come. That’s what happened to me, when I was just out of high school and some family drama found me without a home and trying to survive on a salary from a part-time job while going to school full-time. It was during this time that I opened up my first credit card and I’ve been battling them ever since.
It’s been about eighteen years, or half of my life that I’ve battled this debt. One credit card led to two, then eventually three, and they began to get maxed out. Personal loans were taken out and the debt just kept building. I’d work hard to pay one down, only to have an unexpected job loss or something in life to force me back into using debt. Then there was the first divorce, where I took all of the debt and just buried myself in it just to escape. Then there was the was that $10,000 or so I lost attempting to buy a house a couple years ago.
That’s not to say my financial situation was all outside of my control. There were a lot of mistakes made and a lot of dumb decisions throughout my twenties. I didn’t respect the credit cards that I had and I bought things that I didn’t need but thought would make me happy. I made some big mistakes, and I’ve been paying for them ever since.
I haven’t used a credit card in years. I’ve been working on paying them off and removing them from my life. This year, Brandy and I sat down and made a budget to get all of our debt under control. I had just one remaining credit card with a little over $4,000 on it. It was a card that had a lot of bad memories tied up in it though.
A handful of years ago, I tried to get some of my debt under control. I talked to my credit union about how to help with debt consolidation and they gave me a $5,000 credit card to combine a bunch of smaller debts. Basically, this card contained debt that was probably close to fifteen years old. It was the most I ever had on any one credit card and a reminder of how bad I screwed up.
Thanks to the stimulus checks and our new budget, that credit card now just has $750 on it. I have over that amount in my savings account. So for the first time, in about eighteen years, I’m officially out of the red. In a month, that card will be paid off and I’ll be fully out of debt for the first time in my adult life. No car payment, no student loans, no personal debt. I’ll be free and I cannot tell you how much this means to me. It’s arguably the lone goal I’ve really had for myself as an adult and I’m thirty days from accomplishing it.
I’m the type of guy who doesn’t get excited about things, because life has taught me that usually when I get excited I get disappointed, but I can’t help it. I’m excited. I know that might be a dumb thing to be in the economic uncertainty we live in right now, but I’m that close to being free.
Not only that, Brandy has already paid off two credit cards and will have just one remaining. Then we have the new car to pay off and then outside of her student loans, she’ll be debt free. So we’re gonna be in a much better situation soon as long as our jobs remain.
I’m done with credit cards. I’m so done with credit cards. I know my credit will take some minor hits, but I’m closing most of these out. I might keep one for emergencies, but I just want them gone. I’ve been good about cutting up the cards whenever they send me a new one and just not using it or even having it around, but I just want my association with credit cards over.