Friday, July 27, 2012

20 Things I Could Be Doing Instead of Shopping on my Credit Card

You'd think I was allergic to money by the way I get rid of it as soon as it hits my grubby little hands. I mean, I'm so bad with money that I took out my first credit card when I had no job and no savings and thusly, no way to pay it off should I ever accrue a balance. And, as I was at the time an unemployed 19 year old with no credit history, I was granted a $3,000 limit, all at the low, low APR of 18.4%! (not kidding)

I told myself that I'd defy my instincts and be a responsible credit card owner. The kind who absolutely only uses their credit card for dire emergencies, and then pays the entire balance off when the statement comes in. And for months, I stuck to this belief. I didn’t use my credit card, and I felt like I was on a path to bigger and better things.

That is, until, I used it—one time—to buy dinner. And I opened Pandora's Box.

Five years, four cards, and almost $14,000 with interest later, I finally had my ludicrous debt paid off and all the cards cancelled—all but one. One, that I for some reason kept open. Possibly for emergencies. But it's amazing how you can convince yourself that getting 10% off a knock off designer dress that you'll likely never wear but maybe one day you will and besides no one has it so you'll be totally cool is totally an emergency situation.

So once again, I opened the Credit Card flood gates, and once again I am struggling between the Guilt and Anxiety of Unresolved Debt and the Exhilaration and Undeserved Smug Satisfaction of Compulsive Shopping. And, as I sit here, only vaguely employed, shopping for a Mac Book Pro on one of 3 computers that I already own, listening to the credit card and its available balance beckoning me from its deep freeze burial pit in the basement freezer, I wonder what better things I could be doing with my money. I could be…

  1. Taking out all my money in $1 increments and setting it on fire, one bill at a time
  2. Transferring the money I would spend shopping to my SEP/IRA
  3. Putting my basset hound on doggy anti-depressants so she'll look happy in pictures of her that I post on Facebook
  4. Getting a gym membership so I can work off my dinner of champagne and cupcakes
  5. Buying my way onto an episode of True Blood
  6. Re-taking my GRE until I get a drop dead sexy score
  7. Printing poster sized pictures of this Nic Cage smile and hanging them on the bathroom mirrors in my friend's houses while they're away:

  1. Taking my car in to find out why the check engine light has been on for the last 6 months
  2. Screw that, just buy a car that won't breakdown three times a year
  3. Putting the money I would spend shopping toward extra payments on my student loans
  1. Taking a wine tasting course to make my drinking habit appear less a problem and more an academic pursuit
  2. Moving to a remote, primitive jungle and fighting and scavenging every day for survival
  3. Donating to worthwhile charities (and not the Help Audrey Shop at Urban Outfitters Fund)
  4. Hosting a Homemade Mac-N-Cheese Cook Off
  5. Taking classes or getting certifications that will help make my English degree seem less arbitrary
  6. Investing in my writing career by stocking up on booze and street drugs
  7. Buying postage for hand written letters of apology to all those people I drunk dialed
  8. Staying current by dying my brown hair 50 shades of grey
  9. Adopting a litter of hairless kittens and naming them after Jurassic Park characters
  10. Going into some kind of Compulsive Shoppers therapy


Kim said...

you and me both!! I took the kids to the card today so that I wouldn't see the total at Costco....

Audrey Turner said...

card? freudian slip?

PetuniaTomcat said...

I can't help with your credit issues (God knows I have my own), but I can say that you can take that car of yours to an AutoZone or Napa or some such similar locale, and they will read the code for you for free. They should explain what it means to you there and you should also write it down so you can Google, for example, P2443 Subaru WRX (my own current code) and find out a. how serious the problem really is, b. the easiest way to fix it/whether you actually need to fix it at all.

PetuniaTomcat said...

Can't help you with your credit issues (God knows I have my own).

Your Check Engine Light, though, that I can help with. Go to an Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts or Napa and ask them to read it. I know Advanced Auto does it for free. Then they'll probably explain it to you. Either way, you should also write it down, then Google it later, i.e. P2443 2002 Ford Focus. This will bring up many results pages (usually forums) where you can a. find out more about the problem, b. find out the easiest way to fix it at all, c. find out if it's the type of thing you can just ignore.

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