A few weeks back I decided to buy a new pair of black pants for work. I found a pair that was on sale ($7), but when I went to another store, I found a different pair that fit better, were also on sale and were just a better deal all around.
On Monday I returned the pair I had decided to return and while the clerk was processing my returned item, I found myself shoulder-to-shoulder with another woman who was taking advantage of a sale that the store was having. (Buy one item, get another for 75% off.) She had a stack of shoes, some jeans, a few shirts – it was a shopping spree of some pretty impressive proportions.
“That will be $161.54,” the clerk told the woman, who promptly whipped out her store credit card for the purchase.
I’ll be honest – there was a part of me that cringed when I saw that. That part of me that also wanted to shriek “nooooooooooooooooooooo!” and warn the lady of the perils of credit card debt.
I did none of those things. I just smiled as the other clerk handed me my old receipt and my bank card after processing my return and then I left the store.
As I walked out of the store and headed to my car, I realized that I was that woman a few years back. I had store credit cards at my favorite shops, I spent many free weekends at the mall scouring for sales and buying clothes in my ever increasing attempt to look more professional, look hotter or frankly to make me feel better about myself – whether it was failed relationships, the five pounds that I gained or lost or grappling with being a workaholic or being so far away from my friends and family.
I don’t know – I know that I’m still pretty crappy managing my money and I know that if I was more of a frugal person I would pay off my existing debt faster, but there’s one part of the money mystery that I have covered – the credit cards were cut up years ago and I probably won’t open one ever again. It’s like being on a diet – I know that if saltine crackers are in my house, I can mindlessly eat a whole tube of them in one sitting. Same thing with Girl Scout shortbread cookies or macaroni and cheese – I know what triggers to avoid. Financially, I think my weakness is credit cards – so I don’t have them. I don’t really miss them.