I like to think that everyone makes mistakes in life, especially with money. The important part is to learn from these mistakes whether they are yours or someone else’s. Read on to find out more about this bloggers mistakes with credit card debt.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Casandra and I am a mother of two young boys and work as an assistant for my husband’s real estate corporation. I also run the Adventure Family Travel Blog Karpiak Caravan. I was born and raised in Toronto and moved to Los Angeles where I attended Santa Monica College while simultaneously working as a model. After college, I moved to Vancouver where I started working as a makeup artist on film sets and after I had children, I stayed home with them and began working for my realtor husband. I love hockey (as a true Canadian would), traveling with my family, and good wine.
People can usually find me at my website, which is karpiakcaravan.com
What was your money mistake and when did you make it?
When I was in college, I let my credit card spending get away from me. With my car loan, car insurance, and credit card spending, I quickly found myself in 13k debt. I was 18 years old when I took on the car loan and two years later I managed to rack up 5k in credit card spending.
What led you to making the mistake?
I was living in a different country, traveling a lot, away from my friends and family, and missing home so I filled the void with shopping. I purchased unnecessary things like snowboard gear for ski trips to Colorado, window tinting and car alarm for my car, and many meals out at expensive restaurants. I was spending money I didn’t have.
How did you recover from it?
I entered into a consolidated debt program to pay off my debt quicker but it did affect my credit rating for 7 years. I was able to pay a lump sum that I could afford every month for two years until it was completely paid off. The program also included education in financial habits to get my spending and credit rating back on track. I learned through this program what I had never been taught; simple money management.
What would you have done differently?
I would have been much more responsible with my money and focused on building up my credit rating not destroying it. Instead of chasing the latest shiny toys or taking expensive weekend vacations, I would have lived within my means and not purchased anything unless I could afford to pay for all of it.
How can others avoid the same money mistake?
If you focus on building your credit you will be less likely to make silly mistakes like spending money you don’t have. If you can’t afford something right now, wait until you can. And pay it off BEFORE interest kicks in to avoid paying more than you need to. I know it’s tempting to go for the credit card with 0% interest because you think it will save money, but if you can’t pay off your purchase by the time that promotional period ends, it may end up costing you more money than you bargained for.
I would say, don’t ever spend more than you make. Live within your means and set a budget and stick to it. And focus on building up your credit rating because if you’re good with money now, it will only get better as you get older.
Most importantly, what did you learn from your money mistake?
I learned just how valuable my credit rating was and spent a decade fixing it. I would’ve saved up for what I wanted instead of using my credit card. Save money to buy those things and wait until you have the cash rather than putting it on your credit card. That way there is no surprise at how much something actually costs. It takes discipline, but if you always pay off the balance before interest is added then it’s really not that hard.
I would’ve just lived within my means and not spent more than I had. My biggest mistake was not accounting for how much I’d actually spend. Don’t buy what you can’t afford, it always comes back to haunt you in the long run.
I’m happy to report that it is now in perfect standing and I do not buy anything unless I can pay for it outright. I am a responsible credit card user now.
Jeff is a fan of all things finance. When he’s not out there changing the world with his blog, you can find him on a run, a Mets game, playing video games, or just playing around with his kids.