I’m a freshly minted 28 year old and just received my first credit card in the mail. As credit cards are the source of all financial evil for 40% of the time (the rest goes to bankers and the government), I am thrilled and terrified about my financial future.
I have written before about me being a Scrooge, but hey – as long as you don’t spend, the credit card has nothing on you (this is a lesson I only learned recently). My bank will keep tabs on my making money and spending money and will shut down the card if I’m being wildly irresponsible. AND I put down that whatever payment I put on the card, to be taken out of my bank account at the start of the next month. I even memorized the PIN number and burned those papers, I thought things through! So why still the nerves?
Probably because I never grew up around credit cards. We use debit cards and cash here (mostly). If you have no cash, and no room to
have red in your ledger go broke with your bank, you don’t spend it. Credit cards used to be something exotic, for super rich people. For a time I didn’t even know the precise differences between debit and credit, except for the signature the latter needs.
Later, the card turned out to be a huge joke for naïve people that thought that there’s such a thing as free money. You could get a credit card by a box of cereals! Some people never paid them off, just got new ones! No thank you sir, I never ever want debt in my life, especially not with some big Moloch like a bank (I have yet to buy a house).
But the international traveling started to happen. International car renting and shopping and each sodding one demanded credit cards. In 2010 we had to cancel our drive-through-California plans because my boyfriend had the credit card and I the driver’s license. No can do, the driver needs the card (I was so mad).
After a third time of asking my parents for their credit card (as boyfriend’s is in the USA now), I had it. Enough. If I wasn’t found wanting by my bank (my income yoyos), I would give in.
And now it’s here. Sleek, black, impressive and with a butt load of warnings. It’s a good thing we just returned from a vacation, because using that thing will cost me some time. But at least that’s not what I have to put on credit.