A surprise came for me in the mail last week. It was strange lifting the heavy envelope my bank had sent me, mostly because my bank never sends me anything anymore now that I’ve subscribed to e-statements. I opened the envelope and discovered that my bank had sent me a credit card. Earlier this year I sent in an application, but with my current employment situation I was almost positive they wouldn’t grant me such a nifty tool. Although I didn’t believe it to be possible, one fatal error happened when I opened that envelope: I felt proud. Not proud that I could now spend $1,500 on anything of my choice, but proud because I actually had some sort of token of my adulthood. Not having a drivers licence, I cannot purchase lottery tickets or alcohol (or pornography, god forbid I see enough of that everywhere else), and I haven’t voted yet so it sort of feels like I haven’t done anything a person my age has the right to do. Of course, once you feel proud of something you feel the need to tell those around you about it. This is where the problem began.
Normally when you tell someone you’re proud of a particular item or event in your life they congratulate you. If this particular thing is a credit card however, forget it. All you get is a bombardment of warnings. “Be careful!”, “Don’t spend more than you have.”, “Stay out of debt.” It leaves me clawing at the heels of my friends and family, begging them to cease their useless and boring speeches about how one day I’ll be living on the streets because I bought a Mac and couldn’t pay it off. Okay, maybe, um, settle down, please, thanks? I get it. I’m not stupid. I understand how a credit card works.
Credit is not money. Credit is credit. If you purchase an item with credit and wait for the monthly statement to arrive it accumulates fees, such as interest. You must pay interest. Interest can (and will) accumulate and your fees will grow. You will end up paying more money for the item you thought was $1,500. I so very much appreciate the fact my friends and family are concerned about my well being, but a little “credit” for being moderately intelligent would be okay once in a while too. The only person who did actually congratulate me was my boss at work. Very happy to hear those words.