I had a long love affair with credit cards.
For this tale, we have to go all the way back to 2009.
I was a junior in college and had heard that to buy a house (which I knew I wanted to do sometime in the future) you need “credit.” I knew that I had zero credit because I did not have any loans (I was lucky enough to have no student loans and am still very grateful for this) and as of yet I did not have any credit cards. Thus, no credit.
This was my excuse.
I googled “student credit cards” and plenty of ads popped up. I chose citi, who at that time had a “student” specific credit card where I would get to earn extra points for purchases on books, music, and restaurants! Oh! How fun!
And so it began.
I used it on everything. Maxing it out month after month. Sometimes not paying because who cares? I didn’t.
Oh, and that credit I was so interested in attaining? Surely it was headed for a low number. Which I would not learn until much later that a low score is much worse than having no credit.
Fast forward a few years. I started working retail again and of course would go shopping on my lunch breaks. Lucky for me, just about every store offers their own credit card. How great! I can buy whatever I want without actually paying for it.
Pretty soon I had a card for Gap, Ann Taylor, and Nordstrom.
My habits had not changed even years later. I paid the companies when I felt like it and didn’t pay them when I didn’t feel like it. Wasn’t concerned with my credit score. Had not a care in the world.
Until 2014 when I decided I wanted to buy a house and was thousands of dollars in debt to credit card companies and had a credit score of 570.
This was the beginning of my years long journey into learning how not to buy a home.
First step: breaking up with my credit cards.