As 2015 draws to a close, I am yet again in the shackles of credit card debt. How did I get here…again?
It’s confession time…
After I paid off my credit card debt earlier this year, three things happened that landed me back into the grasp of Evil Credit Card Company.
ONE – I fell ill with a health condition that required major surgery. I had an emergency room visit, many expensive tests and specialist visits. When all was done, I spent over $6,500 in out of pocket expenses relating to diagnosis. I thus more than maxed out my out of pocket limit for my high deductible health plan. I also spent an additional $3,500 flying my mom out here and housing us near the hospital for two weeks (long story) during and after my surgery. That totaled about $10k that all went on my credit card between March and October.
The good news is that once my insurance finally kicked in, it did its job. I got the courage to look at my medical bills once they came in. The actual surgery and hospital stay cost over $70,000! And I didn’t pay a penny of it. I had a top notch surgeon and state of the art hospital. I don’t know what I would have done if the insurance company had rejected any claims. Plus I got full paid leave from work for the entire time (6 weeks) that I was out. I know that some employers and insurance plans are not as generous. I’m aware that I’ve complained in the past about feeling underpaid at my job, but this is one example of just how valuable benefits are.
TWO – I spent $5,000 on plastic surgery. I know! I know! Put down your pitchforks, please. I wanted to get something fixed that had been bothering me for decades. Of course I’m only 50% happy with the results. I’m considering get a corrective procedure done in the future. Don’t worry, I’m not going to turn into the next Joan Rivers.
THREE – Overspending. I’m not proud of this. My food budget got out of control in the last few months. I tallied up my debt card transactions and I’ve been spending over $800 /month on food, takeout, junk food snacks, etc. One month, I spent over $1000! WTH!? I could so relate to Amanda @ Dream Beyond Debt:
Well, I knew my spending was out of control over the last couple of months. I reviewed my budget to get a better sense of what I need for baseline spending. Then, I printed off my bank statements for June and July. I combed through them and highlighted the superfluous spending.
Oh. My. God.
Over two months, I managed to spend $852 on coffee shops, restaurants, clothes, books, impromptu stops at the grocery store…
Let’s look at that number again: $852.
… I justified each purchase as I was making it. …
But as I enter a new phase of my life (which includes turning 40, taking a full-time position, experiencing the empowerment of paying off my loans) I’ve got to take a good, hard look at mindless spending. It doesn’t serve me. It doesn’t serve my dreams. When I saw that number ($852!!!) I immediately applied it to each dream on my list. That money could have really fueled momentum on any one of those dreams.
Yes, I need to regain control over my spending for 2016, kill this credit card debt AGAIN, and finally start focusing on my student loan debt which seems like a mirage in the distance that I never get to.
So, in total I have accumulated roughly $15,000 of credit card debt this year that I’ve been paying down. Thus, my credit card debt has been sticking around all this time. I now still have a $4,206.93 balance to pay off. I’m not happy about ending 2015 still in credit card debt but things could have gone even worse.
I’ll be making some plans for the new year to get back on track. Stay tuned.