- Posted July 16, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The most expensive thing I ever bought
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The most expensive thing I ever bought: credit card debt
When considering the most expensive item ever purchased by this writer, quite a few images come to mind. There was the pair of $124 snakeskin sandals that I wore for years. Then came the love of 100% Malaysian human hair weaves, some of which cost $250 per 4-ounce tube. But when I really think about the priciest thing I’ve ever bought, it doesn’t come down to one specific costly item or even a long list of them. Rather, it focuses on the method I used to buy a good portion of the goods.
Sure, whenever I paid cash or used my debit card to pay for a $25 blouse, at least I knew that was the end of that expense. However, for every small or inconsequential tank of gas or dentist bill that I found easier to plop its $40 cost on my American Express green, gold or Chase Business Ink credit cards ended up costing me much more. How much more? Who knows?
And therein lies the problem: How many of us reading these words can accurately figure out how much a $40 charge placed upon a credit card with minimum payments being made and enjoying a 29.99% APR will actually cost in the end – at least without using complex online calculators, that is. Financial institutions use this confusion to their advantage, and the Kiplinger report says that they plan to do so even more in the future by forcing consumers to understand crazy rules in order to take advantage of the credit card reward points being offered a-plenty these days.
This is why my most expensive purchase is the $37,000-plus credit card balance that I work nearly every day towards paying off. It’s expensive because it dictates my lifestyle and choices to some degree, deciding how much income I must create in order to make the money to meet the monthly payments.
If I knew back in college – in the 1980s when I received my first piece of powerful plastic – what I know now, as a 45-year-old paying back the debt, I probably still would’ve accepted a credit card or two or three, in order to simply build my history and FICO score. But I would’ve treated the credit cards with a lot more respect.
Instead of shopping trips funded by American Express, even if they were to purchase groceries or invest in products to resell on Amazon through their FBA program, I should’ve focused on spending my available cash to hire a back office pro to build the kind of profitable business and lifestyle that reaped no debt.
Alas, experience is the best teacher, as the old saying goes. The best part of knowing what it feels like to owe monies to credit card companies is that I honestly know I never want to be in the position of owing a credit card balance ever again. The borrower is servant to the lender, another true proverb states. Well, it’s time to be free.