Music Mondays I Knew You Were Trouble

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I Knew Credit Cards Were Trouble

At 36, I sometimes feel very old in the blogging space. It is amazing how different my college experience was versus someone just 10 years younger than me. When I started college, the Internet was just in its infancy. It was unusual for my friends to have cell phones, let alone phones that take pictures. In fact, most of us had cameras that required rolls of film that you had to get developed, or you used a disposable camera that also needed to be developed. Which meant the concept of a selfie was not one that any of us could imagine. My college began a technology program my freshman year, and our first generation laptops were as big as a biology textbook.

I am sharing this with you because despite the fact that I started college 18 years ago and times were different, I still knew that a credit card could get me into trouble if I used it the wrong way. Reflecting back on this, I am not even sure how I knew this fact since I didn’t get a financial literacy lesson from my parents, but I do remember hearing about a number of friends or older siblings who maxed out credit cards while in school and found themselves in financial trouble at graduation.

So I Protected Myself From The Beginning

Despite the fact that I knew it could be trouble, I still signed up for a Capital One student credit card after receiving an offer in my campus mailbox, and within a few weeks, I received my first card with a $300 credit limit. Because I was so afraid of getting into trouble with my card, I used it, but never used it beyond what I could pay for in cash immediately. I continued to use this card throughout my years in school, and by the time I graduated, Capital One had raised my credit limit to $1,500.

Over the 18 years since I received my first credit card, I have never had credit problems. Yes, there were times that I spent more than I should, but I always paid it off in a timely fashion. I have maintained an excellent credit record because I knew that a credit card could be trouble before I got into a relationship with it, and because of that fact, I was always guarded in my relationship.

Who Doesn’t Know Credit Cards Can Be Trouble?

I don’t understand how people can claim that they don’t know that credit cards can be trouble. If I knew back when there wasn’t an Internet or smart phones, there is just no excuse for people to claim that they don’t know in this day and age. The fact is credit cards can be trouble, but just like any potentially bad relationship, you have to make sure you are protected before, during and after it. It’s not the credit cards fault for being trouble; it’s the users fault for not using it with caution.

In this song, Taylor Swift laments over the fact that she should have known better for getting involved with a known heartbreaker (which I hear was John Mayer IRL), but at least she admits that she was to blame and she has to deal with the consequences. I am one of those people who does not have patience for people who get into credit card trouble and then want to blame it on the credit card and not take responsibility for their own actions.

If You Get Into Trouble – You Can Also Get Out

Credit cards can be trouble, people have been getting into credit card troubles for decades, so there should be no one to blame but you. Please know, though, that if you are in credit card trouble, your are not alone. There are plenty of smart and educated people who get into credit card trouble all the time.

Many of my blogger friends like John at Frugal Rules, Kim at Eyes on the Dollar, Grayson at Debt RoundUp or Laurie at the Frugal Farmer have all had credit card problems. However, they have gotten themselves out or are getting themselves out it, though, by admitting that they were to blame. The only way you can get out of credit card trouble is to admit that you are to blame and then find the solution to fix it.

Know Who to Blame

It’s not the credit card’s fault that you are in trouble; it’s your fault for not realizing that it could be trouble from the beginning and guarding yourself appropriately just like you would in any bad relationship. The good news is, though, that every bad relationship can end, you just have to make a commitment to fix the damage and protect yourself going forward. When you admit that you were to blame, you will move on from your troubles even faster.

If you are in a bad credit card relationship, you need to end it as soon as possible and find a healthier one, it will not only protect your finances, but it will help your emotions. No one likes the stress of seeing high credit card balances every month.

Image Source: Free Digital Photos.Net Adamr

Have you gotten into credit card trouble? Did you know they could be trouble before you got your first one?

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.

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