I don’t know what happened. Last year around this time, I had my credit card completely paid off. Zero balance – go me! But now, just one year later, I’ve managed to rack up a little over 6K in credit card debt. How did this happen? How am I failing so badly at maintaining zero balance on my credit card?
Racking up the Credit Card Debt
A lot has happened this past year, and some of it was expensive. Some of the credit card debt was due to repairs and unforeseen circumstances, while most of it was just me failing to say no to wants (yes, personal finance bloggers have weaknesses too!)
A good portion of my credit card debt came from issues with the house. We had a blockage in an air conditioning tube that led to a huge leak in the ceiling, a few plumbing issues, and a landscaping disaster. These unforeseen expenses cost about $1500.
I also had a few car issues this year that cost me. I needed new tires and had a problem with my electrical system. These repairs in total cost about $700.
I know, I know, this is exactly what an emergency fund is for! I should take the money I have in my short- term emergency fund and pay for these unforeseen events. This is where I fail at personal finance. I know the math adds up. I know it’s better to pay off the debt. But I just can’t bring myself to do it. I like having money in my emergency fund. I like knowing it’s there if I need it. I want the fund to be fully funded before I start taking from it. I know that’s a whole basket full of insane, but psychologically that’s where I’m at.
Although I’d love to blame the majority of my credit card debt on unforeseen circumstances and minor emergencies, that just isn’t the case. The majority of this debt came from travel and adventure. I paid $500 for my PADI certification this year, $500 each on trips to Vancouver and Los Angeles, over $1000 on two trips to Orlando (once for Universal, and again for Disney), and a little over $3000 on my trip to Germany. I just can’t seem to say no to experiencing new things. And, although I have a separate account set aside for my traveling expenses, there wasn’t nearly enough in there to cover this year’s adventures.
To be fair (or as an excuse), I only went to Germany because my friend was getting married. I definitely would have put off having an international trip this year if it wasn’t for this once in a lifetime event. I know I shouldn’t be spending money I don’t have on traveling, but my mantra has always been that you only live once, and you have to enjoy the time you have. You have to make exceptions for the important things in life, because if you don’t, what are you living for? Obviously going into debt for this isn’t ideal, but it happens. Saying no to stuff like this isn’t easy.
I feel more comfortable about having the debt knowing that I could pay it off tomorrow if I really wanted to, but like I said above, I feel better having debt and money in savings (I know how wrong that is!!!).
Money Goal – Pay it Off!
So now my number one money goal is to pay off my 6k in credit card debt. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do it in about 6 months without resorting to using my savings accounts. I’m also going to hide my card so I can’t use it. I’ll keep you all updated on how I’m doing!
What is your biggest money fail? We all have money weaknesses, what’s yours? Let’s help each other get through it.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.
7 thoughts on “Money Fail – Racking up the Credit Card Debt”
You are JUST like my wife! She has an extremely hard time taking money out of savings. It is a comfort thing for her. For instance, we have gone on a few vacations this year and we have a vacation fund for that.
She hates to drain the vacation fund so she was secretly using left over money in checking to pay for it. We still have a fully funded vacation fund! It’s a comfort thing for her, she needs a buffer much like you do.
You’re not alone in this, I was just lucky enough to have the extra funds lying around rather than going on credit. You can do it, get rid of that debt!
I’m so glad I’m not the only one!! I just feel so much better having that money in the bank. I do the same thing with my travel account. I do have some money in it, but I can’t bring myself to use it to pay off the credit card. Thats what it’s there for!!! I may have a problem ha ha. But thanks for helping me feel better about it!
Wait, what?! This happened? Really? Did it sneak up on you or were you planning on racking up this debt?
Yes, this really happened. It wasn’t planned, just one thing led to another then BAM! Way too much debt. Everyone makes mistakes, right? Now it’s time to dig my way back out
I can relate to this. I had zero credit card debt up until this year, then I got the job offer in California and spent close to $3k for moving stuff.
It sucks to have to refocus on my credit card, but the plan is to pay it off ASAP. And as you mentioned, I’m putting it away so I don’t rack up anymore!
I once carried some credit card debt for a couple of months because we’d just finally gotten an emergency fund and the $1,500 charge would’ve killed it. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. So I get it up to a point. But when that point reaches $6,000… Yeah I couldn’t bring myself to carry that much just to save my emergency fund. Everything’s an issue of personal preference, though, so you do you.
Glad you got so much traveling in!
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