Saturday, November 6, 2010

Money really Matters

I read a scary statistic as I was flipping through my magazines the other day. FORTY percent of all women between ages 26 and 39 carry a credit card balance of $5,000 OR MORE. TWENTY percent of those women owe more than $10,000. I believe it. I can think of 5 people I know who carry credit card debt off the top of my head. Recently, I managed to get myself into a tidge of credit card debt for the first time in my life. It wasn't much by these standards. But let's just say that it was more than $200, and less than $2,000. It stressed me out.

I was always brought up that if you don't have the money to pay for it, you don't buy it. For that reason, I never got a credit card until a year ago, "for emergencies." I just knew I would be tempted to purchase things I couldn't really afford. It's far too easy to charge something you want and deal with the consequences later.

And it was. I got sick of never having the money saved to splurge on the little luxuries of life I wanted. So when I couldn't afford it, I swiped. Then the bill arrived, and for the first time ever, I couldn't pay off the balance in one month without making myself totally broke. The limit on my credit card may be $4,000, but the limit on my bank account is when it hits zero. Luckily I have a low interest rate, and the damage wasn't too bad that I couldn't get rid of it with a little planning to pay a certain amount each month. Yet, every month that I'm paying a couple hundred to pay down the balance, I'm thinking. If I had just not overspent this one month, this is $200 worth of makeup, shoes, clothes, or dinners out with friends I could be treating myself to. It totally wasn't worth it.

We all seem to have this need for instant gratification. I want it now, I have to have it. I'm guilty of this one. Yet, it tends to be much more satisfying to save up for it, and then go out and treat yourself once you've waited and dreamed about how fabulous it will be once it's yours. I'd rather have money in my savings account to spend as I please than be obligated to pay a company a certain amount each month or else any day.

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