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You Went Into Debt For THAT?!?
Good Examples of Bad Charging
There’s a right way to use credit cards: charging only what you can afford to repay in a month or two. There’s a wrong way: occasionally overdoing it and winding up with a debt of burdensome bills.
Then there is nonsensical debt — those baffling, stunningly bad decisions, when people pull out the plastic for all the wrong reasons. And more people than you may think have done it.
There is never a shortage of what people spend money on. The most extraordinary case, was the woman seeking mystic guidance. This client ran up about $30,000 in calls to a 900-number psychic hot line. She felt deeply ashamed about what she had done and had tried to pay off the debt for four years. Yet without the means to do so, bankruptcy was her only option left.
Treating Strange Men to Drinks
Sadly enough, one wowen actually spent a lot of money on credit cards buying men drinks when she would be out at bars to try and get their attention. The result: about $11,000 in debt.
The root of the problem was her broken ego. The more she tried to buy people’s attention and affection, the more empty she felt and broke she became.
She had to get help for the emotional hunger that she was trying to fill with the spending.
Helping The Less Fortunate
A couple out of Colorado who had a special fondness for homeless people. They would pick them up and house them in hotels, buy them food. The problem was that they charged it all. They had enough money for their own expenses, but not enough to support a world of needy people. Their benevolence led to their own financial ruin. They ended up getting in $20,000 in debt, their home went into foreclosure, and they lost their car.
The couple’s intentions to help the less fortunate were pure, but it would have been a better idea to use cash or drive them to community resources instead.
One women said the origin of her debt was that she spend a lot of money on wigs. The woman had charged thousands of dollars on the hair pieces. She had a ton of them. All different lengths, different colors. She wasn’t a young lady, she was older, and she said, ‘Honey, this is what keeps me ticking!’ That habit, though, was impairing her ability to pay for living expenses and she couldn’t keep track of her bills.
Stress and Grief
Sometimes people charge irrationally for painful, emotional reasons. Grief is one. Widows are especially prone to overspending after the death of their husbands. They often remodel their homes because it makes them feel like they have some control over their environment. When they’re in shock, they make bad credit card purchases because they are on their own and just not thinking straight.
What’s Going On and What To Do
Sometimes it’s a compulsion for items that give a sense of power or make you feel unique. Maybe they give meaning or purpose to your life. It’s not rational, it’s emotional. When you’re armed with credit cards, unchecked desires can be lethal to your financial health.
If nonsensical debt becomes problematic, only carry cash. Remember and respect your budget priorities too. Housing, food, utilities, children’s expenses and transportation come first, and if other purchases impair them, get help immediately. Maybe it’s a credit counselor, maybe it’s a therapist. Unfortunately, you may not even see your own reckless charging behavior, so it may take the care and intervention of others to step in.
– April 8, 2013Posted in: Manage Your Money