Tag Archives: Credit Cards

How I Got Here From There (Beth’s Story)

I’m in my early thirties and have been out of college for 10 years. Wow, just writing that makes me realize how fast time flies. I grew up in a home where we were always on a pretty tight budget.

I didn’t know much about my parents’ finances as it wasn’t an open topic in my family, but I did gather that it was pretty tight for most of my childhood. I never lacked but also didn’t get everything I wanted either (which is probably why I turned out so good!). Finances were pretty hush hush so I grew up with the mindset of its better not to talk about them.

I remember opening my first checking account and receiving a checkbook in high school (wow…they didn’t even have debit cards back then) and the excitement that came with this newfound freedom. Quickly I realized that even with all my hard work, for some reason my checkbook would never balance at the end of every month. I honestly think I only got it to balance one time, which is what brought a lot of discouragement and fear of keeping track of my finances.

I continued on this path of worthless checkbook balancing until college, where I got a debit card instead. Having a debt card meant I didn’t have to keep track of my purchases, right? At least, that’s what it felt like. As long as I ‘felt’ like I was not overspending, it would work out ok. But, too bad your ‘feelings’ don’t keep you from over drafting. Over drafting was a word I became very familiar with as I nervously would check my bank statement to see how many I had each month. This is more than a word, it comes with interest behind it. I had more overdrafts than I would have liked. Mostly because the fear of knowing how much was in my checking account gripped me and I would rather live in the unknown, than the known. Somehow pushing off the reality felt better than living up to it, which usually meant giving up something I wanted.

I never went crazy; I wasn’t one of those people that would spend thousands at a time, or even hundreds. But what I did, was constantly live in a place where I was spending more than what I was making, where each month just a small amount (eating out or a new pair of shoes) had to go on the credit card. Those small, constant charges added up over time to create more than a larger debt, but a larger fear, a feeling of loss of control and no idea how to get out of it. Looking back, I see how it all started, and how I got to where I am today.

The home we grow up in and how our parents view finances has an effect on us. From there, we go through a life that creates either positive or negative experiences with our finances and therefore forms how we think, believe and act. I needed to be re-wired and have a fresh, new look on finances, and it has changed my life.

How have your experiences affected how you deal with and view money? We want to know – please leave us a comment below!

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