Let me tell you the story of how my credit card addiction blew out to be 35K AUD in debt (that’s 1.8 million rupees, 19K pounds and 25K USD for any of my international visitors). And how I’m still struggling with paying it off today.
But would I have done anything different? Probably not.
Learning how to manage money is one of the hardest things to do in life. And I think you learn the most by taking the hard route. Experience it all first hand.
2008 – The Student Credit Card
My first credit card was a $500 one. I got it before I went on exchange in Sweden. It did help when I was at uni, traveling around or had an unexpected expense come up.
2012 – The First Job Credit Card
When I moved to Sydney in 2012/2013 that creditcard was joined with a second one. This new card had a $2000 limit. I used it to buy a new laptop, and a bluetooth speak. I still use that speaker. The laptop really should be recycled through e-waste.
I also got my teeth done the first few years I lived in Sydney.
Getting my teeth fixed cost me $8000 and it was all cycled on the credit card over 2 years. So I never really paid it off. I just constantly cycled money on it.
That 2k credit card soon slowly increased to 7k.
2014 – The half arsed credit card application
Then I thought about consolidating that 7k creditcard. I half applied for a card but didn’t finish the application process. But Citibank were so desperate to issue me credit, they called my employer to check my income.
Nek minnit, I had a freshly minted 15K credit card in my letter box. I should have just canceled the card.
Narrator: She didn’t cancel that credit card
2015 was a bad year for my debt
In 2015 I had around 14k in debt across 3 cards. I had moved in with a partner at the time, used a card to help with the purchasing of household stuff. Had a sciatic nerve problem flair up, decided a decent mattress was in order. It went straight on the credit card. Got a loan for a motorbike, all of the extra gear I bought for it went on the credit card.
I was just about to consolidate it all into one card and cancel all the others, when my dad asked to borrow 2k. I used the credit card to do it. He paid it back but it meant I didn’t cancel that 7k credit card. I kept it open.
There was a holiday (a motorbike road trip to cairns and back) all added to the credit card too.
2016 came weight loss surgery
I applied to pay for the $7000 excess for weight loss surgery out of my super, the application was declined because my doctor didn’t emphasis the life and death nature enough on the referral letter. I ended up using that remaining credit card to pay for it all.
This I wouldn’t change at all. It helped me lose 40kg. The gains in quality of life and earning potential have probably already paid for itself. You can read more here.
2017 – Personal loan 35K
In 2017, I decided I had enough of all of those credit cards. I had 35K in debt across 3-4 cards. I took out a personal loan, cancelled most of the cards. I kept the 2k one. I still couldn’t completely shake off that credit card addiction.
2018 – Had lots of shit happen
I broke my ankle at the end of 2017, which meant I didn’t work as much in 2018 due to recovery, there was 2 job changes and moving houses a few times. It was not a very stable time of my life.
2019 – finally some stability
2019 sees me land a job with Colonial First State, however there was some drama with how I ended up with that role too. Basically I thought I was going to move to Newcastle. but nope, that was cancelled at the last minute.
But my housemate had already found a new roomy to take my room. So I had to move again. That 2k credit card had slowly increased back up to 7k and I used part of it to help me move again. I’m really proud of my new furnishings though, I even got a photoshoot for it. It’s all second hand furniture and now I pay sweet fuck all rent in Sydney:
After a few months working at CFS I transferred my personal loan from westpac to commbank and reconsolidated that 7k credit card into it.
I also had my gall bladder removed at the start of 2020. Only about 2k out of pocket, but it still went on the credit card.
Today – it’s 20k plus 2k in credit cards
Today my total personal loan debt is at 20k and I have a 2k credit card. I finished paying off my motorbike loan last month. Woohoo. It’s the first big debt I’ve acquired since moving to Sydney that I’ve now paid off.
I’ll have that 2k card paid off by October and I’m track to have that personal loan paid off by the end of next year.
I feel on track to domino all of my debts but oh boy, has it been a rollercoaster ride to get there. I don’t think there is much I would change because it’s all a part of how we learn about life and how to manage our money.
If I hadn’t gone on this rollercoaster, when I do become debt free I wouldn’t appreciate it as much if I hadn’t taken the hard way to get there.
This is not personal financial advice, but seriously; paying off credit card debts feels fucking fantastic