When I used to pay for long-distance phone calls, it was always a source of stress for me when the bill came. I justified it by saying that I got ‘something’ from the call, but still there was nothing tangible, except for the bill before me that I had to pay. It was tough but necessary, so I continued with it while utilizing all options I was aware of to cut the cost of those calls.
There was also a time I carried credit card balances, and though I had some unsettled feelings about the whole idea, I also rationalized the whole arrangement to give myself peace. But that peace ended the year I realized that part of the balance I was carrying was from a gift I bought someone years ago that they no longer had. This gave me the familiar feeling as with the expensive long-distance phone call, except it was much worse; not only was there nothing tangible left but the balance I was looking at was a lot bigger than the phone bill. At that point I felt the urgency to eliminate the arrangement and so I immediately pulled the money from savings to pay off the balances. From then on, I have made it a point to avoid carrying a balance.
On one hand, I was lucky because I had already been implementing the savings habits I mentioned, so I actually had money aside to cover the debt. But on the other hand, I grieved over just how much money I threw away in interest to the credit card companies. I have made peace by not continually torturing myself by guessing how much money I threw away, but I know that it is something I will not be doing again. I should have never carried credit card balances.
If I were not so fortunate to have had the cash set aside in savings, I would have sought a balance between paying off the debt while still saving. However, the majority of the money would have been directed towards paying off the credit card debt.
Credit card use can be powerful and rewarding and is something I take advantage of, but will cover that in another topic. But as a heads-up, it still involves NEVER carrying a balance on the card.