As I sit here, chowing down on my first of two pieces of blueberry pie, I feel nothing but a big sense of relief. It may be the pie. It may be the fact that I am going to have a second piece. It may also be the Rioja from Ramon de Bilbao that I am washing the pie down with. But what it really may be is the fact that on December 20th, I will be sending in the last payment on my last credit card. As of that day, I will be credit card debt free. Can I just say that it feels extremely liberating? No. It has no words to describe it.
At the end of 1999, I decided to get rid of all my credit card debt. I entered a program that basically forced me to learn how to not use a credit card. After years of depending on credit to do things, I was all of a sudden ridding myself of all my cards and having a set amount taken out of my bank account monthly. It wasn't only the fact that I was cutting up the cards; I had the companies close the accounts. With the help of a debt management program, I was able to lower some of my interest rates and eliminate my finance charges. Five years later, here I am.
Some luck played a part. As I got rid of my credit cards, debit cards came into play. I was able to charge things via Mastercard but only if I had money in the bank. I purposely did not apply for overdraft protection on my account. There were times when I wished I had. I paid a price for it now and then. It all forced me to learn how to watch my spending. In the end, I am credit card debt free. And trust me, I am never going back.
Okay, second piece of pie, more wine.
I never give presents to anyone during Christmas. Part of it was the fact that I was in so much debt. A bigger part was because I did not want to feed into the obscenity of this season's purchasing. I still won't be giving presents out this year. But I think, come January, some of my loved ones will be sharing in my prosperity. Later.