|by Jason Steele|
Last night, I saw the show “Man Vs. Food”. It is a pretty funny show in which the host visits restaurants that have some kind of food eating challenge.
In the same vein, last week, I challenged readers to share stories of way they have gone from being “revolvers” to “deadbeats”. (Revolvers are people who carry a balance on their credit card, while deadbeats are those who always pay their balance in full.)
The best reply I got was a reader named Jonathan:
I finally converted from carrying thousands in debt to a deadbeat, but it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’ve kept the credit cards, but they are all payed off in full. One thing that helped was getting a charge card which feels like a debit card (and pays for itself with the amount I spend), so I never trap myself in to thinking I’ll pay things off later.
To be honest, I have a hard time seeing where I would ever want to finance something on a credit card again. In many ways I’ve bought in to the whole Dave Ramsey idea, but I keep the cards and practice self discipline. You have to understand your own psychology to be able to keep the cards, but it’s possible for some people who are debt prone. The only reason I keep them at this point is business travel and for my credit score.
The secret is living below your means and saving money month after month. It’s a sad reality if you’ve been living any other way, but to solve your money issues, it’s what you have to come to terms with. After you do, it’s extremely liberating and I could never go back to the stress of being broke and living on credit. Every temptation to get back in to debt is countered by memories of the consequences and the new peace that I’ve found.
Jonathan’s case is instructive on many levels.
He Didn’t Cut Up His Cards
For some people, they will literally have to cut up their credit cards to avoid spending themselves into debt. In this case, he was able to control his spending and reduce his debt, while still having cards on hand for business expenses. While I am not familiar with the works of Dave Ramsey, it seems that he is one who advocates cutting up credit cards. I would only recommend that strategy to those who have no self control whatsoever.
He Now Realizes How Bad Credit Card Debt Is
He is feeling better and can’t imagine going back to the old days of paying interest and living month to month.
He Realized The Key To Staying Out Of Debt
Living within your means and saving money every month are to financial responsibility what diet and exercise is to health. There are a million ways to try to get around it, but never underestimate the fundamentals.
He Has Learned His Lesson
It is difficult for me to imagine Jonathan going back into debt again. The last line of his letter says it all: “Every temptation to get back in to debt is countered by memories of the consequences and the new peace that I’ve found.