money and how I am kicking its butt

January 24, 2008

Once upon a time there was a young woman in college who waited until after college to get her first credit card. She had always found them to be slippery beasts and had heard too many statistics about massive debt to be tempted by their flashy reward points and potential spending increases.

But eventually the time came when the young woman moved to the city and decided that along with signing her first lease, getting her first salaried job, owning a cat, buying a cell phone she should also get one of those little plastic cards. So she read lots of fine print and looked at lots of different annoyingly unclear ads and signed herself up for an Amazon credit card. And boy howdy did she like it. Every few months she would earn herself a little $25 certificate to spend at Amazon (her then favorite place in the whole internet world). But she was always careful to pay those pesky bills and checked her account constantly to make sure she never got any dreaded finance charges or unknown bills.

Eventually in the midst of planning a particularly big trip she decided to get one of those cards that let you have 0% interest for one year, because “hey who doesn’t love an essentially free loan.”* So she planned and bought airplane tickets and a backpack and a new love-of-her-life fancy ass camera and life was good. Summer came and she went on the trip and lo it was awesome, but also slightly more expensive than she had anticipated. By the end of the summer her bank account was looking quite sad and lonely.

Fortunately work started and once again the girl had money, but she also had this little thing called credit card debt. And boy howdy did she hate it. Yes, it was still a manageable amount and No it wasn’t earning interest, but still the idea that she might be living beyond her means began to gnaw away at her. Finally the anxiety of getting the card paid off before it began to accumulate nasty credit card interest rates (20% yo!), she dug in and decided enough was enough. So since Jan she has stopped spending money on the following things:

– going to see movies (this one really sucks because she has yet to see Atonement and missing the chance to see James McAvoy on the big screen makes her cry a little inside)
– eating out (except when her friend from Denver visits and they end up eating at Red Lobster)
– buying clothes
– buying fun things from Amazon’s Friday Sale
– buying anything at all really

And so far this girl had done a pretty darn good job and would like to inform the world that she has cut her debt in half, in just the past month. If she keeps this up she might be credit card debt free (don’t even get me started on student loans) in a month or two.

*It should be noted that this particular girl also saved her butt off and managed to pay most of expected costs from that savings account.



  1. Way to go Abby! Keep it up and you might get the label I got once of being a frugal prick.

  2. wow this girl really rocks. If she can blitz the credit card debt then she deserves another holiday.

  3. the eating out thing doesn’t include national.. nay, universal holidays… like the lunar new year/aka my year… does it?

  4. As a VSer, I’ve had to get used to spending less. Sometimes it sucks, but sometimes it’s fun to see how much fun you can have on a shoestring. Good luck!

  5. My story is even sadder. At least you got a cool trip out of it!
    Once there was a girl who went to school for a semester while working part time at minimum wage. Then after a long year and a foolish decision to move to Denver and be unemployed for 3 months, she had more than a managable amount of credit card debt (which eats away at her soul every day) and will probably be paying it off for about a year.
    She is also trying to cut back, and has been living off of Ramen, pasta, Grilled Cheese, and the generosity of others for the past couple weeks. Hey, if a boy wants to buy me dinner, who am I to complain?

  6. thanks for all the good wishes! And Dad, I definitely need to hear that frugal prick story again.

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