The Financial Value of Honesty
This might be the scariest post I have written in the almost 2 years I’ve been blogging. I written other things that scared me, like when I revealed my debt total waaay back at the beginning of my blog, but it’s been a while since I’ve written something that scares me.
I’ve certainly gotten more comfortable sharing things about my life, my weight gain, and my finances with the whole world (although the whole world isn’t actually reading this). The only time I really get a bit nervous now is when I hear people “in real life” say they’ve read my blog. Yikes! Now they know things and I can’t keep them a secret.
But that’s the whole point of this post. I’m tired of keeping this a secret and it’s time to be completely honest with myself and with all of you.
I’ve been holding out on you guys about some things, but I’m finally ready to reveal them. I’m ready to take my punishment in the comments (as I’m sure some of you will be upset), and move on. I’m finally ready to put all of myself out there and get this debt paid off once and for all. Here’s my financial honesty:
I Haven’t Shredded My Credit Cards…Until Now
You know when I first revealed my debt total and the fact that I had like 10 open credit cards? Well I’ve never closed any of those accounts after they were paid off, or shredded the cards. Part of that was due to the reasoning that keeping the lines open can help your credit utilization, which is a big factor in determining your credit score, but also because I was using the cards themselves as a security blanket. (Clearly the first reason was just an excuse, as you can certainly keep a credit account open without still having the actual card in your possession anymore.)
Even though I have a (small) emergency fund, and some other savings as well, I always held onto my credit cards “in case”. I’m not really sure why I’d ever need a credit card that’s only good at a furniture store or one that’s only good at a jewelry store, or one that’s only good at a fashionable clothing store. None of those purchases will ever be an emergency. Even if I’m holding on to a Mastercard or Visa “in case”, it makes no sense to hold onto these other kinds of cards as I’ll never be able to use them for any type of real emergency.
So today, in the midst of writing this post, I took a break just to shred 14 pieces of plastic. (It’s more than my original card count because several companies just sent new cards, so I had 2 cards for some of my open credit lines.)
I did decide to keep 3 cards: my Discover card (It has my balance transfer on it. I also use it when travelling before promptly paying off my trip when I get home, and so I can take advantage of that cash back bonus in the form of a statement credit to help pay off my debt balance), my Capital One card (just “in case”), and my GoodYear card which I just opened in September when I had my “car emergency”.
As soon as my GoodYear card is paid off, it’s bye-bye birdie! The only reason I’m keeping it now is that I have to use the card number and security number to access information about my account online and by phone.
I’m also contemplating shredding my CapitalOne card as my Discover should be sufficient for a “just in case” card too since the available credit balance is pretty high. What do you think?
I Bought a New(er) Car
Back in March I finally bought a new(er) car after shopping around for the past couple of years. I was becoming increasingly unhappy with my old car. I was tired of fixing it, fixing it, and fixing it. Every time I turned around it was costing me money and it wasn’t suiting my needs very well anymore.
Granted, my car emergency in September was on this new car, but it was pretty minor. I just needed new tires as one of them was severely damaged when it went flat, and the others weren’t in very good shape either.
Beyond that, I’ve been very happy with my new car. It’s a bit bigger, and thus I can get around better in snowy weather (which we are currently experiencing), I can haul my own stuff without having to ask or beg to borrow a pickup or SUV from my parents, and it still gets decent gas mileage. It also has low miles and makes me feel safe travelling long distances.
I financed my car purchase at a very low interest rate (about 2%) and am making a car payment of $248.84/month. My insurance did go up on a monthly basis, and my tags and taxes were more expensive when I paid them this year.
Part of what made me finally decide to get a new(er) car was that the worth of my old car was quickly going down hill, and I finally found a newer one that was exactly what I wanted at a reasonable price, about $10K less than when I looked last spring.
Love it or hate it, I did it. Overall, I’m happy with my decision even though it is more debt to have to pay off.
It’s Time for Honesty
Part of this post was about being honest with you all. You are my readers and some of you are my friends. It was way over due to come clean about these things. Another portion of this post was about being honest with myself.
Paying off debt is HARD and it makes it even harder if you are trying to do it on willpower alone.
Just yesterday I wrote a post over on Red Debted Stepchild asking why I was struggling so much with paying off debt and keeping my spending under control. A comment came in from Brooke, a former PF blogger, and she recommended a couple of posts to me. (You can find them here and here.)
After reviewing them, they are quite long BTW, I finally realized that it’s time for me to change my mindset and get rid of my terrible spending habits so I can finally make some real progress at getting out of debt.
I’ve had this post topic in my mind for a while, but it didn’t turn out quite like I was expecting. I think it’s way better and I’m glad to have finally come clean with all of you and more importantly, with myself.
I hope these revelations don’t put you off or make you take me less seriously. If they do, then that’s too bad. I’ll miss having you around, but I’m happy to finally be open and honest again. Now it’s time to tackle some debt!
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