My mom raised me to not spend money I don't have. Sensible, no? And that sensible philosophy saw me through my twenties with only a student loan on my back. Growing up (and I include my twenties in that!) living the pay-as-you-go maxim imbued me with a deep distrust, even fear, of credit cards.
We all know someone who thought "hey, free money!" when that first credit offer arrived days after their first job started, and later learned how NOT free that money is. They're sneaky, those cards. Blow a thousand bucks in one place, and pay only $25 a month thereafter! How nifty! How keen! Pay that twenty five bucks a month until it stacks up to thrice the purchase price. How evil.
But I want to buy a house someday, and I want that someday to be while I'm still young enough to really enjoy the damn thing. A student loan isn't (alas) enough of a credit history to get a mortgage, and being responsible enough not to get into debt in the first place (double-alas) counts for precisely nothing in today's America.
So. I got a credit card.
And for the last year that credit card has been sitting in my wallet like a ticking time bomb, pulled out gingerly at great intervals and only after the most solemn forethought, only to be paid off with an alacrity most people reserve for pulling their firstborn out of traffic.
But the siren's song of credit finally got me.
My first mistake was browing Amazon.com while, ah, less than flush in the pocket. My second mistake was taking a "quick peek" onto my Wishlist, "just to remind myself" of what I wanted.
(You see where this is going, don't you?)
Lo, upon what did my longing glance alight but a book and a kitchen implement (a bake-your-own taco shells rack), both of which I have been sighing over these many weeks. My thought process at that point went something like this:
If I get the free super-saver shipping, it'd be okay...
But no, I really shouldn't be spending on non-necessities right now. I can wait until I get paid again.
But I REALLY want to read that book. And I loves me some tacos.
It can wait.
I could read the book while eating tacos.
That sounds fabulous. But I'm kind of broke.
I'm only kind of broke because I paid ten times the minimum payment on my Visa last week.
Which means, I have a shitload of room on my Visa now.
And that, friends and neighbors, is how I got seduced on Valentine's Day.
I'm hoping for something a little more traditional next year.