I, like most Americans, have quite a bit of credit card debt. Thankfully, it’s less than $15,000, but it’s still enough that it is the bane of my existence.
I opened my first credit card when I turned 18, with Wells Fargo (my bank at the time). It started out as a secured card, with a $500 limit linked to $500 in my checking account. Of course, that lasted maybe a month an a half before they pulled the stops off and bumped up my credit limit to $1000.
Being a dumb teenager, I was beyond excited. I had $1000 of free money to play around with! Needless to say, I blew through that in the blink of an eye. At the tender age of 18, I felt the terrible burden of owing someone money. I managed to pay it back over a couple of months, but, and I’m sorry to say this, I didn’t learn my lesson.
I didn’t learn my lesson at all. Instead, I kept racking up credit card debt and asking for extensions on my card. Over the course of a year, I bumped up my credit limit to $6000. Each time I’m bumped up my credit limit, I spent more of it. It was nothing short of extraordinary how quickly I drove myself into debt I could barely afford. Thankfully I was still living with my parents and not paying rent, but boy did it hurt. I actually maxed out my card to take out a $450 cash advance to buy myself a car I wanted. Not even a car I needed.
Now, nearly 13 years later, I have three credit cards, only one of which is paid off in full. My Wells Fargo card is chugging along near its limit, and my other card is also near its limit. Thankfully I pay nearly double the minimum monthly payment, so that should help, but as anyone who has a card will tell you: it’s not the payment on the principal that gets you, it’s the interest charges.