Since their inception, credit cards have offered a tempting alternative to working class Joe. Offering a “buy now-pay later” possibility that almost seems too good to be true……..and it definitely is too good to be true once you sit down and realize what a splurge here and there is really costing you in the long run.
I offer this advice not as a pompous, high-earner behind a computer screen, but as a woman who was once a stupid and impulsive young adult who’s need for instant material gratification lead to an eventual bankruptcy.
Had I avoided credit cards and things like personal loans all together, I would have been much better off. But, like many of us, “woulda, coulda, shoulda” could be a personal mantra. But, you can come back from the depth of your own financial wreckage.
A lot of financial advisors will tell you the facts of what you should do, which is all fine and dandy, but chances are you already know what you SHOULD be doing. It’s kind of like a diet. I know I should have the spinach salad, but the cheese fries would make me much happier. Dieting and finances are remarkably similar. You know you shouldn’t charge that new Surround Sound/Blu-Ray system, but taking it home would make you so much happier. Like anything else in life, you need to find out what is creating a void in your emotional well-being, a void which beckons to be filled with things that are not necessary for survival. I can’t help you find out what this is, but trust me when I say, your emotional state is at the root of your spending, and figuring this out is the ONLY way to be successful in your financial resolutions. It is an absolutely essential step.
No matter how much of a rush you get when you purchase something knowing that your bank account is empty, you must acknowledge that each purchase that you make with borrowed money is simply an illusion…….an illusion of the lifestyle you wish to have instead of the lifestyle you actually have. At some point, somewhere along the line, you have decided that the life you live is not up to your standards, but what you need to understand is that with every frivolous purchase, you borrow from the future to feed your now. However, the future is what should be your focus. Instant gratification is dangerous.
When I was a child, I grew up in a “financially challenged” environment, which caused me to spend wildly when I became a young adult. Again, it was an emotional fix for me. I spent and borrowed, and spent and borrowed over and over again in a vicious cycle, until ultimately, I was faced with the humiliation and credit destruction of bankruptcy. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Almost a decade later, I am free of credit cards or even the desire to have one. I have gotten a hold of my emotional need to consume, and instead am thinking only of financial growth and the future of myself and my family.
Over time you will find that making smart investments and saving is just as addictive as spending, yet a hundred-fold more rewarding.