Monday, October 29, 2012

Budgeting Update: Pay Outstanding Balance

I did it. I paid off my high interest credit card. It has a zero balance, and I plan to keep it that way.

I'm not closing the account because I want to keep that available credit for my credit score, but I haven't even activated the new card they sent. And I hope to never activate it.

It was actually anger that finally motivated me to stop making excuses for using that credit card. After being a good loyal customer for years, I went out of town and missed one payment, and they raised my interest rate to the highest legal limit. (Oh, and I was already frustrated because I'd originally gotten the credit card with one bank, and by this time, it had been gobbled up by Chase. And I hate Chase!)

So after that, I said, "that's it. I'm never using this card again." And I didn't.

There were times where it certainly crossed my mind. A large car maintenance bill, a necessary flight, Xmas. But my anger kept me in check and I held my ground.

I probably could've paid it off last week, but I wanted to do it the way I've been doing it; by just paying what I've budgeted every week for hundreds of weeks now.

On payday, I went through my budget, paid the other bills, letting the moment of anticipation build until I got to that line item. I've never been so happy to go to Chase's website because this time, I got to click that button that I think I've only clicked once before in my life "Pay Outstanding Balance."

I made my budget for next month, deleted that line item and carried over the budgeted amount to my low interest credit card. I'll admit, that's gotten too close to the limit lately for my liking, but I try not to beat myself up for it because it is what it is.

I've been bringing my lunch from home approximately 3 days a week now. I'm building the "present" account to help me out this Xmas, and all the present-giving occasions to come. I'm getting through it, even if I still live paycheck-to-paycheck.

I honestly don't know if/when I'll ever be able to pay off my low-interest credit card, but I do believe I can keep the balance at a manageable level if I just keep at it. And now, I know I can do it, because I've done it.

This feels really, really good.