I was at my computer buying new business cards, when my 3 year old approached me. He saw my VISA credit card. He points to it and says, “Buy it?” “Yes”, I said. “Toys?” “Yes Bud, you can buy toys.” He then proceeded to tell me all the toys he wanted to buy: tractor, truck, 2 diggers, and a car. He’s in love with vehicles of all shapes and sizes. Motorcycles, cop cars, ambulances, fire trucks, and especially construction equipment.
Thinking of my conversation with him reminded me about the first credit card I ever got. I was 18, in college, and totally naive. My roommate sat me down and said, if you get this Discover card, YOU WILL PAY THIS OFF MONTHLY. She scared me into saying yes. I did really good until I graduated from college and suddenly found myself without a job and access to a $2500 limit on a credit card. I took cash advances to pay my rent, gas for my car, and groceries. I justified that I wasn’t being frivolous. These were things I needed. I found myself in a trap. The feeling of desperation, frantic that I needed to find the money to pay back the loan. I desperately wished I’d taken my roommates advice. Fortunately for me, I had a mom that discovered what I had done. She paid it off and said, very firmly, but lovingly, “Don’t do that again.” I haven’t. This time I knew WHY.
From my son’s desire to buy his precious diggers or tractors, I learned that I need to teach him the importance of only using the credit card if you have cash to pay it off that month. In today’s age, we need credit cards. It allows us to purchase things online, rent hotel rooms, and save up points so you can cash them in and pay for babysitters. (see my post on sub-accounts for that tidbit) Just to name a few. It’s the abuse of credit that gets us in trouble. I need. I want. I can’t live without. I could really use this NOW. Use wisdom with using a credit card or you’ll learn the hard way.