Dear Credit Card, Let’s Break Up
Credit cards are ultimately the reason many Canadians fall into debt each year. Is it because we don’t know the consequences of our spending, or is it because we choose to ignore the realities? Either way, it’s time we started looking at them differently. Using them for the right reasons instead of the wrong. Having a credit card is a privilege, not a right.
We all have several excuses for why we use our credit cards over our cash or debit. Although the real reason we use them is because we cannot truly afford what we are purchasing. Sure, some of you might choose to build credit, reap reward from the points, or another amicable reason – and of those some, only a few of you are actually paying off the balance at the end of each month.
I’ve been there. I’ve been the one who runs out of money and calls the bank hoping they’ll increase my limit. In fact, the lowest point in my financial life was when I had my wisdom teeth pulled and I needed gauze to control the bleeding. I couldn’t afford any gauze. My card was maxed out and my chequing’s account was empty. I had to dip into my overdraft for the first time in my life.
Dear Credit Card,
I remember the first day we met. The mailbox down the street that Friday afternoon. You were so shiny, so bold, and so giving. You told me I could have anything I wanted. You told me there were no consequences and that you just wanted to treat me right. You made me feel like a woman for the first time in my life. We had such great times at the mall, the bar, and even online.
Looking back on it now, I feel so naïve. How could I have trusted you?
Our days of impulse buying were just a joke to you, weren’t they? How could you not tell me your interest rate would go up if I wasn’t careful? How could you not tell me that you were going to hurt my credit score and report if I didn’t keep up with payments? You have so much fine print at the bottom of your bills it’s like you tricked me into signing a pre-nup!
Maybe I should be thanking you, though. You changed me as a person. You made me smarter, stronger, and so much more patient. You taught me that saving for something I want is so much more satisfying than just buying it without any concern. You taught me that emotional spending is a real issue, and it can have a negative effect on your spending habits.
But now it’s time you pay up. I’m sick of doing your dirty work. I’m sick of you telling me those jeans I paid $40 for are now going to cost me $60. I knew you were seeing the bank behind my back, telling them all of the things we were buying. Well guess what? It’s time you went back to where you belong. The back of my mind.
You see, I don’t need you anymore. I found a new man, cash. And he can actually afford all of the things you promised me. And he knows when I should say no. He’s heard of something called a budget. Did you hear that? B-U-D-G-E-T. What about living within your means, have you heard of that? Didn’t think so.
I’m so over the lies, the bills, and the reward points I can’t even use. You told me I would be an adult when I made this commitment, but you truly treated me like a child. There is nothing I want to do more than take some scissors to you and cause you the same kind of harm you caused me. But I won’t.
In all honesty, credit. It’s not you, it’s me. I couldn’t control myself having something so powerful with little to no knowledge on who you really are.
What was the turning point for you? When did you realize your consumer debt was controlling you? Let me know in the comments!