Free at Long Last

Joshua is now completely free from the bonds of credit card debt. I wish this was a story of self discipline where I drafted a plan and stuck to it and after months of dedication I finally paid off my debt. But it is not. Rather, it is a lesson in choosing a growing company to work for and taking advantage of the Employee Stock Purchase Plan. I’m not proud of it. I feel like I took the easy way out, but I’m grateful that I had a way out.

Anyway, I went through all the records I kept of  my credit card bills and entered the data into a spreadsheet. This graph represents time from left to right starting with the ill-fated day I was granted a line of credit and ending at the present. The blue graph shows the amount due on my credit card statement each month while the green graph shows increases in my line of credit. As you can see, creditors know just when to give you an increase. I took the liberty of removing all dates and dollar amounts.

Here are the conclusions I can draw from this: 1) Only one time during the history of this credit card was I able to pay it off completely, and it was very early on. It is so easy to just say you’ll pay it off later. 2) Most of my credit line increases coincided with times when I was increasing spending. I don’t know if that was just a coincidence or if credit card companies do that on purpose. They also seem to be at somewhat regular intervals so maybe it was a coincidence. 3) The steepest debt decreases are usually followed by the steepest debt increases. Maybe I felt like I deserved to spend a little more since I had been so diligent in paying off my debt. Whatever the reason, this shows a clear vice of mine. And 4) Excepting only the last 2 (maybe 3) credit line increases, I always surpassed my previous limit before receiving another increase. In other words, I took full advantage of credit line increases. Just what they want you to do, however, I have no one to blame but myself.

The morale of the story: credit cards are EVIL — Fruits of the the Devil (pronounced froo-its of the dev-eye-il).

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