here’s the thing i’m an american. i’m an american without a usable credit card. and to be honest i’m beginning to wonder if maybe that makes me less of an american than the american i was before when i was the proud carrier of multiple low interest high privilege cards of credit. i’m inconvenienced. alot. hotels require credit cards in order to secure a reservation or they ask for one to use for ‘miscellaneous’ holds during your stay. to book an airline flight you generally have to use a credit card. and the same holds true for so many small things in my previous life i generally took for granted because i was fluent in credit. but now in my after life, i don’t have the luxury of credit. i’m a cash and carry kind of girl. so if i don’t have the cash for in the moment purchases i go without. this life without has been inopportune but not unreasonable.
i still vacation.
i clothes shop.
i even go to the movies.
i don’t go or buy as much as i use to but truth be told i don’t really care for shopping and refuse to bring another item into my house that is not absolutely required for my living. enough with the stuff already, i say. never mind that my pants don’t fit. as long as i have pants i’m wearing them, belted or not. so not charging things on my visa hasn’t really bothered me. i’m in a slow climb toward fiscal responsibility. it is a day to day toil. worst really than getting physically fit. seriously, losing 35 pounds was nothing in comparison to putting away the first $8,000 in debt.
but if you want a life that is of your own design you have to do what you have to do to make it happen. so i live without credit cards. and i fight everyday to not turn in those easy breezy credit apps that stuff my mailbox. i pretend i didn’t hear the cashier every time she asks if i want to save 5% by applying for…
that’s how they hooked me in the beginning. i was a lass of 19 the first time i received a credit card in the mail. my ceiling on that first master card was $500. i never reached the limit. i was a nickel and dime consumer. still am. i can’t even remember the last item i purchased that cost more than $200. but twenty years and a marriage later i was the not so proud owner of 60 times that original limit. ouch.
i don’t want to go back to my previous consumer rating status. i want better. for myself and my family. i like enjoying life. credit cards were an illusion. they never really provided what they promised. and on days when i’m not frustrated by the sheer magnitude of the debt i inherited from my divorce, i’m grateful that i’ve woken up from the haze that drew me in in the first place.
in my dreams i am a healthy strong and debt-free woman kayaking down a white river with my son, laughing, sun-baked and wondering where to next. when i wake up i remember the dream; keeping away from the donuts and shiny baubles they sale for 60% off i know i can make it a reality.