This past weekend I went shopping for some dress clothes at the mall and it was the most frustrating experience ever. I generally am not a “shopper”, I like to get in, get what I want and get out. This has kept me from over spending on more than one occasion and not wasted my time. I like nice things just as much as anyone else but I think I would buy things I do not NEED to satisfy some strange craving inside me. I think they call this retail therapy and I try very hard not to do this. I’d so much rather spend the afternoon with some friends and family and laugh the time away.
Anyway, I was struck by how many retailers offered credit cards when I was checking out. Unfortunately I am a plus sized woman and apparently in NH we don’t tend to dress professionally often because finding a suit was next to impossible! I had to go in quite a few stores and spend more than I had hoped in order to come out with just a decent looking outfit. That in itself was extremely frustrating but the credit card offers were insane. When checking out each retailer offered me significant savings if I would sign up for their card. It was so very tempting, I really wanted to do it because it would have saved me about $25 on my $90 purchases and that is nothing to shake a stick at. I did not though and here is why: Number ONE if I did take out a credit card in each of the three stores that I visited my credit score would have likely decreased. That is right; when you take out credit whether or not you actually charge anything on the card ever it appears that you have a certain amount of credit available to you that you COULD charge. So when going to purchase a home for instance a mortgage company might look at your credit and see that you have 20,000.00 worth of credit available to you, assume that you would use it all and charge you a much higher interest rate OR if there are other issues turn you down all together! Number TWO the interest rates on store cards are astronomically high. Sometimes you will have periods where you can buy things at no interest and if you pay it off in a certain amount of time you are alright. I’ve never been able to do that (and know this about myself). In the end though I know I would buy several hundred dollars worth of clothes that I could not really afford and then pay twice as much for them to boot. When you write it out like that it sounds ludicrous to do but we do it all of the time and seem to have no problem with it. Number THREE I would incur a monthly payment that I had not budgeted for in the first place. And you think to yourself “what’s another $30?”. Well in six months you could save that money to take that couple hundred dollar shopping spree or you could pay that $30 for years on end and still not have the card paid off. When you pay the bare minimum you barely touch the principle of the debt and just pay interest on what you originally charged. It’s like throwing your money away. I for one do NOT intend to throw my money away. I’ve done it enough in my life and forget the pain after some years and do it again. I don’t know what I was thinking and kick myself every time the bill comes. I aim to pay that stupid thing off soon and swear off credit cards all together. I work much too hard and do not intend to just hand it over to someone else because of it. Doesn’t that just sound crazy?