Someday I'll be debt-free too

These past few days have not gone well. I got sick and have to rush to prepare for my case-in-chief--so that I can rehearse my witnesses (thanks again, guys)--and oppositions to motions. Gosh, if a fake trial is this much work, I can't imagine what's going to happen next year when I have to work on real ones. Still working on my closing statement, but at least the most urgent parts are over and I'm feeling better. Went to do some Christmas shopping yesterday at the Original Trends sale (more on that on Wednesday). I didn't buy anything for myself since I'm tight on cash (have to save up for my bar courses and a trip to Vegas for a friend's wedding), but I did get some nice gifts for family. Unlike a lot of cash-only sample sales, many vendors did take credit cards, which was nice--sample sale prices without some of the sample sale hassles.

That said, use credit cards judiciously. I understand that some struggling families have to get into credit card debt just to survive, and there's not much of a choice. However, if you don't really need (and I do mean need) to buy things for survival, don't think of credit as some bottomless pit of money. It's actually a deadly black hole. If you're just spending and thinking you can charge it and worry about it later, think again. That's a big mistake. Have you seen what the interest rates are on those things? The next time you get your statement, read the numbers. On top of that, read all the fine print in the back. You'll be shocked at how many ways they can bilk you for late fees and so forth, and the changes in terms that you were notified of (bet you ignored them, didn't you?). I recently read mine and I was pretty blown away. Yes, some of the terms are convoluted even for me, who is trained to read and interpret this stuff, but take the time to do it. If the fine print doesn't scare you, I'm not sure what will. At the very least, you know what your rights are.

I hate debt. I have tons of educational debt, but that's out of necessity. I would NEVER voluntarily get into credit card debt. Even though I use my credit card all the time, I only spend what I can afford to pay. I see it as writing a check--if you're spending more than you have, you'll get penalized for insufficient funds. Credit cards are especially tempting for college students, since the tables offering free gifts in return for credit card apps are everywhere on campus. If you're a student, resist that urge to get multiple credit cards. They're preying on young impressionable kids who don't have a clue what they're getting into. Kiplinger have a very informative article especially pertaining to young adults, but I think it's informative for everyone at large.

Not only do credit card companies make big money off interest, but they also charge late fees for late payments. With online billpay nowadays, there's almost no excuse. Even if you can't afford to pay that month (I know things happen sometimes), at least make the minimum payment. That way you won't be classified as late.

I've wanted to write about credit cards for a long time, and I thought about saving this topic for days when I have nothing else to write about, but today is a special occasion. Today, Leigh Ann at Save Leigh Ann paid off her $19,000+ credit card debt. It took her about a year to do it, thanks to her hard work and help from people around the world. If you're reading this, Leigh Ann, Congratulations! I wish you all the best.


SDMC said...

I had just finished reading her blog when I came over to check yours out. Lord willing, we will be debt free by March 2007. But we'll be buying another house at that point...financed partially.

Sales Rack Raider said...

I'm dreading my "exit counseling interview" when I graduate in May. That's when they tell you how much you owe. I tried to borrow as little as I can, and I actually underborrowed this year (and suffering for it), but I still owe enough to buy half a house.

Anonymous said...

Good luck on your trial. Sounds like you're overwhelmed, but you have gotten the honor of being called a "shark" by an experienced lawyer. You'll do great :o)

Sales Rack Raider said...

Thanks for your support!

LeighAnn said...

Thank you so much! I am so blessed to have blogger friends like you!

You are doing great too! I am so in awe of you and the work you do. I can imagine how hard it is to go to law school. Very inspiring!

DEBTective said...

Debt and credit cards ARE black holes, baby .. thanks for spreading the word. www.debtective.com