Thursday, June 23, 2011

Debt Diet

I said before that "diet" is a dirty word. Here's one I like even less: debt.

Debt of any kind, sucks, for lack of a better word. Whether it's student loans, personal loans, or my personal number one thorn in my side: credit card debt.

I'm sure most twenty-something guys and gals can relate to this one in some way. My personal debt situation started, and spiraled, after I graduated high school and worked for a year before returning to school. And as we all know, being a student is not exactly a lucrative job. We become students to get the good jobs, knowing that (while we're studying) we'll have to bus tables, rack weights at gyms, baby-sit or make cappuccinos, to get there. In my case, all of the above.

Still, none of these jobs are exactly high paying either...

Credit card companies know all of this. That when venturing out into the world, we are young, fairly naive, working hard for little pay and living independently of our parents for the first time. In other words, flat broke. And at the ages of nineteen to twenty-two, or however old you are while living the college life, you're not really expected to make the best choices all of the time. A lot of that hard-earned money is easy-spent, and fast. On groceries, the laundromat, alcohol, partying, and in my case: shopping.

It's a pretty enticing offer to pass up, when you think about it. Being young, fabulous and on a college cafeteria meal plan, credit cards look like these gleaming, awesome means of free money.
Yeah. It's free money and it has your name on it. Of course we want them! And they are all too easy to get. Once you have one, you can open up a store charge pretty much anywhere.
You can buy the things you've been going without. And you don't have to pay for it until...later.

c'mon. you know you want it...

What they don't tell you--Or what you don't read in the fine print--is that you DO have to pay. You have to pay more than the cost of everything you bought with all that free money, because of a little/big thing called INTEREST.

Yes, I definitely went a little a lot crazy with credit cards. I got swipe-happy pretty much everywhere I went. In fact, when I watched 2009's Confessions of a Shopaholic, I was horrified to discover more than a few parallels between the title character and myself.

"They said I was a valued customer. Now they send me hate mail. " -Rebecca Bloomwood, Confessions of a Shopaholic

The bills start coming. And then the phone calls. And then more phone calls. And what started out as a few fun splurges turns into a poor credit score and some ridiculously high monthly bills on an entry level salary. And all of the minimum payments in the world don't seem to make even a dent. Why?

Interest, right!


Now that I've managed (with my dad's help) to consolidate my bills, I am putting myself on a serious spending budget and getting debt free once and for all! It may take some sacrifice and a little self discipline, but I'm no stranger to either, and I know that with this particular diet, when I have all of these bills off my back, I'll be feeling a lot lighter!

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