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Smithee Update: January 2009

This article was written by in Credit. 14 comments.


Every Tuesday, Smithee presents an article about his own experiences with credit cards and observations about the credit card industry.

So, nobody’s perfect.

After my recent embarrassing splurge that included a digital camcorder, an audio mixer, three microphones and a new Apple MacBook Pro, I was feeling pretty down on myself.

My credit card debt had gone from about $4,500 last July up to about $8,200 in October. Most of that was the computer, which I felt compelled to purchase mostly because I didn’t want to be using a hand-me-down when I started my new job. That sounds like rationalizing, of course, and it probably is. But because of the new job, I can afford to make even larger payments to my credit card. Each of those payments is now $548, and they happen twice a month, as soon as I get paid. I think of each dollar as a bullet that I’m shooting into the armor of my credit card debt. Blam blam blam!

So now, my credit card debt is back around $6,000, just about the same level as last June. I’m about six months away, and I can almost taste the freedom. The freedom to start saving in earnest, I mean.

But it occurred to me that the difference between the post-splurge amount in October and today’s amount is about $2,200, slightly less than the cost of the computer. I paid off the cost of a new computer in less than three months. An overpriced Apple computer, even. Hopefully I will soon be proud of more reasonable things, like owning assets which contribute a cash flow, but for now this small solace will have to do.

Six more months. I can do this.

Published or updated January 6, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Smithee formerly lived primarily on credit cards and the good will of his friends. He is a newbie to personal finance but quickly learning from his past mistakes. You can follow him on Twitter, where his user name is @SmitheeConsumer. View all articles by .

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar KC

Well, we all have setbacks. It makes us human. I’d say you definitely splurged. Personally I’d get that credit card balance down to about $2250 (that’s half of the previous $4500 it was down too) before I splurged on anything else (including a decent meal). Just stay home with your new laptop and camcorder equipment and let it entertain you until you get the card down to $2250. Then maybe have a decent meal and a night out and then get back to paying it completely off.

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avatar thomas

you should think about cutting that card up!

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avatar Mr.ArfArf

I can understand that you may not want a “hand me down” computer. But have you thought of using it anyway while SAVING for a computer? that way you are not charged interest for your $8000+ over at least 4 or more months? This is of course up to you. But, it’s still up to you to go in debt.

If you do need or still want to buy something, Its good to use, ebates, cash back cards, and even buy the computer you want via the “refurbished” page at apple.com (several friends have purchased laptops via that section and all have had great experiences for $100-$300 less). All these things help save quite a bit over time. I’ve found it’s most important to WANT to save.

A friend at work recently decided to do just what you did and buy a computer and some electronics. I mentioned a coupon to save 30% off their dell purchase, they said it wasn’t worth their time(!) (to write down the 6 letter code and enter it at checkout.). They would rather work however many hours more at their job to make pay off that much more of their credit card purchase. This is why it’s important to “WANT” to save.

Anyway, I honestly hope you like your new stuff and are able to pay off your card quick. Thanks for posting.

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avatar Writer's Coin

You were right: you were rationalizing the whole time.

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