Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Are credit cards really a good idea and a quick fix to get what you want or just a bad idea, especially when they tell have a 6-12 month interest free period. But what happens when that time is up?

"I am never going to shop again!” I shouted when I bought my last item of clothing; a £4.99 pair of tights from New Look that snagged within the first day of wearing them. I was not happy, at all. This has led me to start thinking differently about spending so much money, especially on my credit card! What’s the point in spending fake money on things that are just going to break? Even more so as I now have to pay back 16.9% more because of the rate on my credit card and the interest has kicked in. Using my pay and student loan to slowly pay off all the money I’ve built up.

Last year I decided to apply for my first credit card, for a good reason of course; I could claim staff discount online from the shop I work for. It had a 6 month interest free period, so I thought why not. With a £750 limit I went to town, literally, using it to buy everything from clothes to food. I was out of control with my spending habits, coming home most days with at least one bag of new things. At this time I was in full time work, however at the end of the month instead of having money, I was paying off the bill I had racked up that month. It’s like a vicious circle, which is very difficult to get out of.

I just couldn’t help myself, every time I walked into a shop I couldn’t resist the brand spanking new clothes, my eyes glazed over with soft cottons and beautiful silks. Usually they were from expensive shops that I couldn’t really afford on a student budget. But it was ok because, I’m spending on a credit card that I don’t have to pay back for a whole month. Or so I thought, now the honeymoon period is over, it just feels like I’m paying for things over and over.

I am a strong believer in retail therapy, the amount of times I have been moping around the house, with nothing to do, when my boyfriend decides we are going shopping, and I instantly perk up! Then later on in the trip he will ask: “Do you really need that?” or “Haven’t you already got something similar to that at home?” This makes me feel guilty for shopping for things I like, but he’s right I shouldn’t be spending my money ‘willy nilly’ on things I don’t particularly need, especially when I’m at University and don’t have money growing on trees. I wish I did!

Saying that, I recently bought a Christmas jumper from Topshop, costing £40, it was a sunny day when I bought it and I can’t bring myself to wear it. So a month on it’s still hanging in my wardrobe with the ticket on it, waiting for the day I feel it is finally Christmas time, so I can wear it and not feel or look stupid. In the same week I also bought a dress from Republic for £29, I have yet to wear it as it is more of a summer dress. I don’t know why I bought it so early, I could have waited till the winter sale and spent less money, and then I could wear it a lot sooner after purchasing it. So technically I’ve wasted that £30, which I could have spent on essentials like food and rent, however I didn’t and now I’m paying the price. Not being able to give my parents rent money and hardly being able to get to university without having to borrow money or selling my stuff on Ebay.

I only have 23p left in my overdraft; so this is where Ebay comes into the equation. I started selling my old clothes on the site, seeing as they are just hanging there, when someone else could get joy out of wearing them. Alas, if I hadn’t bought them on my credit card, money wouldn’t be an issue. I wouldn’t be in debt so I could just buy clothes if I wanted them not because I could.

Don’t even get me started on my shoe collection; from the highest heels that I can barely walk in let alone be comfortable in, to the little pumps I like to wear on those summer days walking around town trying to find new shoes, clothes and clutter to go in to my house.

I just love the rush of shopping, finding that outfit that is perfect. The perfect pair of jeans, which fit like a glove or even the softest jumper that doesn’t make your hair go static; which is a rarity with my hair! But for that moment of fulfillment doesn’t last for long, the monthly bill falls through the letter box and you are once again paying money back to the credit card company.

Maybe I should ditch the credit card; whilst I’m ahead so at least I don’t end up paying more money, for the things I bought months ago. This will then spare me the hassle of taking things back to shops or selling things on Ebay.

Spending money should always be about spending your own money and not the fake money these companies are giving you, to purposefully get you in to debt. Especially for people like me, who don’t have any concept of money or how to budget?

When it comes to never shopping again, I don’t know if I can uphold that statement, however I will stop spending money on my credit card and then I can finally cut it up and be done with it! Seeing as when I finally wear my Topshop jumper it will actually be costing me £46.76 instead of £40 because of all the bloody interest!

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