For over twenty years I had no clue had to use credit cards properly. I was given my first credit card at age eighteen with very little explanation, but knew I would not be paying the bill. You could consider my parents my accountability partners at that time, but at eighteen years old, I just didn’t want to deal with explaining how I was spending their money on the card, so I spent wisely.
As I got older I applied for my own cards and soon began to carry a monthly balance. I liked having the immediate access to spending when cash was not available. I could easily manage the monthly payment over time. Little did I know that this way of thinking would cost me hundreds if not thousands of dollars of interest over the years.
Now introduce a wife and kids to that philosophy of spending and it really multiples quickly. One or two credit cards turn in four or five, and monthly payments ballooned from a few hundred dollars to almost two thousand over the years.
It still felt normal. We justified the spending, and living beyond our means by telling ourselves everyone else did it. Everyone has credit card debt. Those words made us feel better until the next monthly bill arrived in the mail, but that pit in our stomach was soon forgotten and we moved on.
It was that rock-bottom, aha moment while planning our summer vacation that was our wake up call. Out of cash, and borrowing option we had to make a change. We had to change our behavior with money, that meant discipline. Discipline like we have never seen before, saying no, sacrificing and cleaning up the mess we had made by overspending with credit cards.