Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The $500 Coffee Mug With 12% Interest

I love my bank. It is small, locally owned, has free Atm withdrawals no matter the network, and I have a small beef with them. Whenever I come in to withdrawal cash for my families weekly expenses I am solicited for a new credit card. I must preface that the people that know me in the bank don't offer this because they know my debt assassin stance. But, every now and then I have a new teller help me. Today was one of those days.

"Mr. Williams would you like to open a new credit card today?",  I say no thanks. She immediately responds with, "You get a free coffee mug when you do". I politely tell her I appreciate the offer of a $500 coffee mug with 12% interest but today I will pass. The teller responds to me saying that she can't believe people actually do open the account just to get the free mug.  I have to tell you I was one of those people before becoming a debt assassin.

I would sign up for all kinds of cards just to get free junk. Probably the worst thing I ever got was when I was in college,it was a $500 beach towel with the Visa logo on the towel. My towel eventually cost me about a grand over a five year period. What is the dumbest thing you ever received for signing up for a credit card, and how much did that "free gift" cost you in the long run?  Post in the comments and let me know.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Repentance And Debt (Part 2)

In the first part of this two part post found here, I covered the first 3 parts of repentance and debt.

  1. A deadly stabbing of the inner man.
  2. A pronounced awareness of guilt.
  3. An unashamed admission of ignorance and or inability.

In this last part I will cover the last three parts.

  1. A humble cry for help:
    1. This cry for help was not as loud for me as it should have been.  I should have been shouting to people who loved me and knew would want to help me through this.  Instead my wife and I kept it to ourselves and after we were sure of the direction we were headed we started to talk to others about our plan.  As I said in part 1 the person we asked for help was Dave Ramsey (Affiliate Link), and of course we turned this dilemma over to God through prayer as well.

  1. A timely arrival of self distrust:
    1. Knowing that I could not trust in what I was doing financially Amy and I had to set up controls that held each other accountable.  We set up a budget each month and each of us had an allowance.  This also meant that we used cash for most of our purchases.  Things like gas we still used debit cards.  This really made tracking easy and allowed both of us to know what was in our account and what money would be coming out.  This also eliminated over draft fees which averaged around $200 a month when we were not using this system.

  1. A refreshing absence of excuses:
    1. When we had over draft fees, or missed a bill payment, we often would make excuses on why it would happen.  We would blame a company for not processing a payment in a timely manner, or the bank for allowing us to overdraft our account when there was actually no money in it, but the worst thing of all we would do was to blame each other.  By pointing the finger at each other no one was accountable for our financial mess and this type of thinking led to a lot of fights.  When God switched on the light of repentance over our financial sin the excuses and finger pointing ceased.  This helped Amy and I to really put the pieces of our financial lives back together and renewed our marriage as well.  Instead of making each other the enemy we made debt our enemy.