Sunday, June 29, 2014

and so it begins.... my first credit card[s].

Today I'm going to tell you how my journey started, and that was with my very first credit card.

Well in all reality my first card was a Zale's card, I was helping out a friend who was like one credit app short of her goal for the week. Anyway, I had that card in my wallet for I don't know how long and it went un-used for a long time... until I was dropped off at the mall by my then boyfriend so that him and his friends could go play disc golf. I went to see my friend at work and I found a necklace and earrings that I really liked and "had to have." Now, these were not super expensive pieces of jewelry, I spent less than $200 total. But I put it on my Zale's card. I paid it off within a couple of months and all was good. I do still have that card and I do use it from time to time (but I'm not buying any more jewelry until I've paid down some serious debt).

But my first REAL credit card.....

My Discover card.

When I was about 22, I made the mistake of moving in with a pretty good friend of mine. Keyword: mistake. Well needless to say we are no longer friends, but that's a story for a different day. One important thing for you to know is that this friend of mine only worked for fun money, her parents paid EVERY bill she had I'm talking phone bill, cable bill, household bills, car payment and gave her gas money and a pretty regular allowance. The house that she lived in was owned by her parents and was paid off so there were no house payments that had to be paid. She paid for everything on her Discover card and then made payments on it with the money that she made at her job.

One day she told me that if she sent me a link to sign up for a Discover card and I was approved we would both get a $50 cash back bonus. I don't know what made me think this was a good idea but I said okay. She sent me a link, I filled out the application, got approved, picked out my card design and then got the card in the mail. Here's the kicker: when I called to activate the card I mentioned that we were supposed to receive the referral bonus.... the guy I was talking to told me that she must have sent me the wrong link because he didn't show that my card was done with the referral program. The guy was nice enough to credit me with like $25 cash back bonus or something like that for the "inconvenience." (For those of you who don't know Discover really does have the best customer service, they are always real nice and extremely helpful.)

So I had this card and for awhile it was a scary thing to me. I made sure the balance stayed low and I paid it off as quickly as I could. But then I got comfortable with it and that translated to irresponsible. My balance got higher and I would make more than the minimum payment but I just couldn't get it paid off.

Fast forward two years and here I am with way too much debt and a net worth that is seriously in the red. And my credit card is locked in a box in the vault at my job. Yeah it sucks, but ya know what? It's character building. Or at least that's what I have to tell myself. 

I would love to go back in time and tell myself that I was going to get myself into a load of trouble with that card but I can't so I just have to live in the now and own up to the fact that I've made mistakes with my money and I'm now working to fix them.

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