I’ve had credit cards for more than two years at this point. I was sitting at work, when I was still a clerk (yay for rhyming!), chatting with my coworker who was a couple years older than me. We had somewhat similar personalities and she was very encouraging of my growing interest in personal finance. She mentioned that she had a credit card and I mentioned I had been thinking of getting one. One thing led to another and I ended up applying for a DiscoverIt card. She quickly requested I not tell my family she had been involved in any way, shape, or form, which is understandable as the average consumer has an insane amount of credit card debt.
My max credit card debt was October 2015 at $1,766.06. My second highest peak was December 2014 at $1,739.41. I typically spend significantly more than usual when I get a new job and this typically lasts at least a couple months. In the earlier dip, I worked commission and was using my cards irresponsibly. In my most recent debt, I had a sudden influx of cash that I had no idea what to do with. Now, I am much more aware of just how much I can afford with my current income level.
The last time I paid off my debt, I got it down to about a grand and just wiped it out with the majority of my savings. The feeling I got with this plan of action was just incredible. It was genuinely exhilarating to see my Mint.com credit card section go from just under $1,000 to a big fat ZERO overnight.
I just did this again. I finally realized, that while investing my money at a young age a compounded growth probably can’t beat 20% interest rates. I also realized that socking away money at one-percent interest rates wasn’t going to do much, either. I left $1,000 and the interest I’ve earned for 2016 thus far in my Ally account, took the other $900 and applied it to my credit cards. Mind you, I didn’t apply it to my CapitalOne Venture card, as it is still in my 0% APR phase, but seeing my DiscoverIt (the original troublemaker), Target Red Card, and Nordstrom all drain to zero was, again, exhilarating.
I’ll admit, draining half my savings to pay off my credit cards isn’t necessarily the smartest idea out there, but it was worth it.
The future of my credit card use seems to be that of regular full payments on routine purchases, such as donations. When I do use my Target Red Card for 5% off, I make sure to transfer cash over the next day for the full amount of the purchase. While it is taxing, it is necessary.
I have proven that I cannot be responsible with credit cards two times over.
Let’s not make it a third.
What are your experiences with credit cards?