Saying Goodbye to an Old College "Friend"

by Marcy on June 12, 2008 · 0 comments

As I have mentioned before, I am currently reading Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover. When I got to the part where he talks about consumer loyalty to the first bank that issues you a credit card, it stopped me in my tracks.

I, like many college students, signed up for my first credit card when I was a sophomore. I was 19 or 20 years old, and had very little income coming in from my on campus job. My shiny plastic card “allowed” me to purchase things I likely would not have been able to purchase had I only used cash. While I don’t remember exactly how much credit card debt I graduated with, I would guess it was at least $1000.

Fortunately, both my husband and I secured good jobs out of college, and we were slowly able to pay off our credit cards. But when I think back now, having that piece of plastic in my pocket made me a more liberal spender for sure.

Currently my husband has a Mastercard, and I have a Mastercard and Visa. We do not carry balances from month to month, but as I have mentioned in previous posts, it is sometimes difficult for me to scrape the money up to pay them off. My main reason for not closing my Mastercard is because it is the first card I was ever issued. I thought that it would look good on my credit report to have the same card for 11 years. I fell into the trap. I was brand loyal. I had an emotional attachment to a piece of plastic. Go figure.

And so today I finally got up the nerve to call and cancel the card. As usual, I was offered everything but the sky to remain with the company. I was offered an extremely low interest rate. An extremely low (as in 2.99%!) FIXED interest rate. But I said no, because it is important to me to start taking the steps needed to become free of using credit. I told them that I was closing my account because I am trying to simplify my life. Because I really do believe that having credit to fall back on is part of what tempts me to overspend. It’s not going to be easy…but my husband and I are going to start taking the steps. Short term sacrifice will hopefully mean long term gain. We shall see where this leads us….

And as for my card, goodbye old “friend”. You won’t be missed.

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