Not to sound too foreboding, but I’m just talking about my credit card debt. Nothing more, nothing less.
Like so many before and after me, I was a “victim” of the credit card. In college, where I got my very first credit card (Discover if you must know), I felt the freedom that credit offers, dangling it deceptively in front of poor students in their first experiences away from home. Not that I was very far from home, I went to the University of New Mexico… a commuter college if anything.
Now, being brought up in a less than wealthy home, I did (and still do) want things I didn’t have. But work-study doesn’t really provide for most of those things like “free money” ie the credit card. 0% introductory interest rates ment I didn’t need to actually pay my bill for quite some time. For other reasons as well, I got in a bit over my head a couple of times, only to find that I needed to use either part of my school loans (not to be repaid until much, much later) or when I did get to work for more than 15 hours a week and made more than $300 a month I needed to use most, if not ALL, of that money to go toward my bill to really hack away at the balance. This strategy worked best when I was working full-time, while I was transitioning for the one semester between getting my master’s and going back for my second BA.
BUT, all of a sudden I am working full-time on more of a regular basis. No more spring break, summer’s off for this girl. I put in my 40+ hours and take home a decent amount for my first real job. All the more incentive to pay off those pesky credit cards.
I had three. The Discover, a MasterCard, and a Visa. After 10 years, I closed the Discover card when I paid it off in January. That felt GREAT. My other two cards, having much lower interest rates than the Discover, have been hacked away at less viciously. I pay half on the higher one (19%) and maybe $50 more than the minimum payment on the lower one (11%). This month, with the gloriousness that was my US tax return, I will be paying half toward both of those cards.
Why not pay them both off? Well, I live in Korea and if you have ever lived in Korea, you know that bedrooms don’t come with closets, apartments don’t come with carpets. So, Jason and I are going to invest a little more in our comfort this month than in months past and get ourselves two armoires and an area rug. Along with some other, choice items, we’re looking to spend a fairly decent sized chunk of this months pay checks.
This is exciting. And I can even see the end of the credit card tunnel. Two of the three credit cards are canceled already, and I am keeping one open for the credit score. When Jason and I move back, we will need some credit to qualify for a mortgage. What is harder to see the end of… the student loan tunnel. That will take a while.