Cleaning up my act

two-paddles-axe-and-leatherwork-732435-unsplash

I had a minor balance on my credit cards from last month that I was carrying. Although the amount was minor, it still gave me anxiety. I had planned to clear half of it this month and the rest in the next month.

I started this month by resolving to not use credit card for anything. ANYTHING! No matter what. Every time, I opened my wallet to pay, I decided to use cash or debit cards. Swiping credit card always seemed like buying time towards any payment. But that buying of time came with a price, a fact I conveniently ignored and hence always carried a minor balance. The first week was scary. I constantly worried about running out of money every time I paid for stuff by cash or debit card. By second week, I got slightly better at planning and not feeling anxiety of not using credit card. I am in the middle of third week of going without credit card and I am feeling alright. Next week won’t be any different. I can do this. February will be a successful month of not using credit cards.

Something funny happened on Monday though. I had a bad day at work so I logged in to bank accounts to see my financial health – looking at it helps me feel better and reset my focus on my goals. I saw the credit card balance of last month, checked my cash reserve and swooped it in one go and cleared it all. It set my saving goal a bit behind – I am currently sitting on 48% savings rate against the goal of 50% or more, but I am not bothered.

I never perceived that credit card debt as a problem – the problem was me not using credit cards correctly and my lack of planning. There were months when I would make purchases on my credit card which were more than my income for that month, so I would pay a small sum and carry the rest of the balance in the next month thinking of it as me just buying myself some time to make payments. Then over a period of couple of months I would clear the balance and do it all over again. This was a pattern of bad money management. Since the amount was always small – INR 10,000/- to 30,000/- I never felt the pressure of “debt”, just a minor anxiety. But an argument with boss and the feeling of helplessness triggered something meaningful. I have set myself on the track of being a better planner and learn to only spend and pay for things if I have money in my wallet/account. All my credit cards are paid in full. For the month of February, there are no transactions on my credit card other than the payments made. Simultaneously I also saved 48% of my net income.

February has been a good month. I feel better. I truly do. It feels like I am on the right path. I just need to carry this momentum for the rest of the year.

Photo by Two Paddles Axe and Leatherwork on Unsplash

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