Consumer Credit / Credit Cards
Staying Foolish in a foolish World

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By Layback76
June 18, 2001

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I work for a social service agency in Boston and we received some surprising good news the other day. The agency director told us that we'll each receive a bonus of 5% of our annual salary with our next paycheck. YEA!!! It seems that the agency was very frugal this year so there is some money left over before the end of the fiscal year.

So, of course, everyone was psyched and there was a lot of discussion among the employees about their plans for the money. You know, lots of "I'm taking a vacation" and "I'm going clothes shopping" being thrown around. When someone asked me about my plans, I said that I was going to apply it toward my credit card debt. Whoa! Talk about raining on everyone's parade. You'da thunk that I threw a bucket of cold water in everyone's face.

They jumped all over me. No, lay back, get something fun with it! Why would you "WASTE" it on bills?

There's gotta be something you want? "Yea. I want to pay off my credit cards."

But isn't there something you need? "Yea. I NEED to pay off my credit cards!"

They all walked away, shaking their heads.

Last night, I talked to my sister on the phone and told her the good news. She jumped right in with, "Now you can buy that new couch that you want." I told her that, while I might WANT a new couch, I don't NEED it right now. I'd rather wait until this time next year (at which time my cards will all be paid off--YEAH!!) and then save for a month or two and pay for a couch in cash. She also used that "WASTE" word in reference to my applying this bonus towards my debt!

It's really amazing to truly realize what a consumer society we live in here in America. It's really become ingrained in many, or maybe most, people. And I'm certainly not putting myself above these folks, either. After all, it was my drive to consume that got me in trouble in the first place! Now that I want to be fiscally responsible, it feels like I'm swimming against the tide. But I'll keep going up the creek, now that I've got my paddle back.

Thanks to everyone here at the Fool for helping to keep me on the right track.

Get thee behind me, Credit!!