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I am in credit card debt because I overspent. Not because I started a new business that ultimately failed and not because I was "simply helping someone out." Shockingly, I am just now coming to learn this, even though I am now a year into debt paydown.

Before I elaborate, I will share a story. We recently went on a family outing to Costco. A few minutes after arriving to the store I realized I was talking to myself. I had lost my husband somewhere between the entrance and the produce section. I found him staring at a 70 inch TV. As I approached him, he said "beautiful picture, isn't it." I started to tease him with some comment on materialism and he replied with, "yeah, but I would be using it to watch documentaries, not football games."

His attempt to justify his admiration of bigger than life tv's based on what he would use it for, reminded me of how I would justify a purchase based on altruism or recently, with how it would help the business. And as I read through some of the old post, I realized that I am one and the same as so many of the other post-ers. They weren't spending money on a shoe collection to rival Imelda's or to buy a McMansion. Many of the reasons sounded like things I might have said: "But I needed the car for work", or "I was helping my elderly mother."

Plain and simple, if you only have xxx dollars to spend, it doesn't matter how many good reasons you have to spend yyy dollars. My husband understands this perfectly. He decides how much he wants to spend, and no amount of desire or rationalizing will alter his decision. I used to find this annoying, especially if I thought we could afford more or if I felt he was buying an inferior product to save a little money.

Thanks board for opening my eyes. I feel like being on this board, will help me on my quest to stay true to my handle of "neveragain."
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No. of Recommendations: 7
A friend who fell on hard times once told me, "I now regard stores as museums. It's fun to look at the beautiful things, but I can't take them home with me."
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I am in credit card debt because I overspent. Not because I started a new business that ultimately failed and not because I was "simply helping someone out." Shockingly, I am just now coming to learn this, even though I am now a year into debt paydown.

Learning why you got into the mess is key to getting out and staying out. Congratulations! You've learned an important lesson, and not everyone understands.

The other thing you may have noticed in reading old posts is that many people had no idea how much they actually owed. It isn't until they get here and we ask for the total that they really sit down and start adding. That total can be scary sometimes. The denial that some people go through is amazing. In one case the woman said she wasn't using the credit cards anymore, and later she said she was, so I called her on it.

It turned out she was using the cards for necessities, because by the time she and her husband paid the minimum on all their debts, there was no money left. (Two kids in private day school, one kid getting special art lessons, and on and on. And she didn't want to get a job because who would watch over the younger kids when they got home from school?)

I'm glad you've come to understand what happened. The knowledge will help keep you out of debt when the debt is finally paid. (And I now see what you meant when you said your husband couldn't help).

Hang in there.

Nancy
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Lol, I just took home a 70" TV from Costco. But I got the floor model for almost 1/2 off its original price.

Just tell him this...while you're in debt paydown mode now, one day you'll be finished, and one day you will have enough CASH saved for that 70" TV (if and when you decide you want one).
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I am in credit card debt because I overspent. Not because I started a new business that ultimately failed and not because I was "simply helping someone out." Shockingly, I am just now coming to learn this, even though I am now a year into debt paydown.

Well, at least you have realize it. Some people never seem to, even past the point where they declare BK - some more than once.

What's important is what you do with the realization - and how you figure out how to control your and your family's spending.

AJ
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jeffbrig,

You wrote, Just tell him this...while you're in debt paydown mode now, one day you'll be finished, and one day you will have enough CASH saved for that 70" TV (if and when you decide you want one).

And some get that cash saved up and come to the realization that it might be better to buy a smaller TV and keep some of the cash for a rainy day. Or they might realize that buying assets that produce income might be a better use of the cash than spending it on an over-sized TV that will probably be obsolete in a few years.

And who knows? Some day the cost of a 70" TV might be a drop in your asset bucket. And some day a 70" TV might be considered entry-level ... and priced to reflect it. ;-)

My first TV purchase when I was in my 20s was a 27" standard def CRT. It weighed a ton. And it was almost $500. It was really more than I could afford. Today, Costco's smallest offering is a 24" HD flat panel at $175. In today's dollars, that first TV would be over $1,000 - which could buy something in the 55" to 60" category now.

Of course back then you would also have expected to pay at least $4,000 (typically several months' wages) for a computer and it wouldn't be as capable as a low-end smartphone is today.

- Joel
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