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Why did I break my lifetime rule and apply for credit cards?

Upto June 2014 I had never even been tempted by credit cards as I was of the opinion that it could only lead to financial trouble and I was right. 21 months later, between my wife and I we have nearly $15,000 in credit card debt, $16,000 car loan and $21,000 in student loans for a grand total of $52,000.

What disturbs me more is that my wife is unconcerned by this debt, she just says everyone has debt, it’s just part of American life. I don’t accept that argument, we are spending between $1100 and $1200 a month on debt payments alone, which equates to roughly 30% of our total income after deductions.

I will be 40 years old in October and it deeply concerns me that we have so much debt that we can not even think about savings or putting money back for our retirement. My wife wants to start her own business, I would like to purchase a few rental homes to create income for our retirement, but this will not happen when we have over $50,000 in debt and we have not even started paying the student loan!

I try to live as frugally as possible, I hardly ever spend anything on myself. The last thing I bought for myself was a Surface Pro 3 tablet for $1,000 almost 12 months ago, which is now $50 away from being paid. This will leave $450 on the Best Buy credit card to be paid by June to avoid additional interest.

Meanwhile my wife continues to spend as she always has regardless of our current financial situation. Back in November she signed up for her own Discover Card as I wouldn’t let her continue to spend on mine, then went to her friends wedding and spent over $3,500. Since that time, she has increased that balance by $2,300, $800 of that in the last 30 days. Suffice to say my frustration level is in the red!

At this point, between us we have eight store cards, six of which are carrying balances, four credit cards, all carrying balances, a car loan and student loan. My wife added two more store cards in the last 3 months, one carrying a balance. When I confront my wife about our debts, she responds with “I’m used to getting want I want” referring to how she was raised in regard to money management.

I, on the other hand, grew up in a poor family, we rarely had any money to spend on anything other than essentials, which makes me much more cautious in money management. I am willing to go without a lot of creature comforts to be able to get back on an even keel, I can create over $200 of monthly savings by cutting a few internet services such as WWE Network, Spotify etc and cancelling our $140/mo cable TV.

Back to my original point, credit cards do nothing but allow for spending beyond what people can reasonably afford to pay. All this debt started from applying for a credit card through my bank for emergency use after a rent check bounced due to an unauthorized debit from our bank account.

We can pay down all these debts over time, but when more is added to the balance than we can afford to pay, it will never happen, clearly we are living beyond our means, it’s time to cut back and live within our means. If that means we have to do without cable TV and streaming internet services, then so be it. Something needs to change, my health is suffering due to the stress caused by our spirally debt issues.

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