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Visiting My Credit Card Past

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I’ve been on a big “Get Rid of Stuff and Organize Our Life” kick lately. One benefit of this kick is that I have located many of our past credit card statements. It has been very interesting because I’ve realized a few things:

1.) My credit card didn’t increase my credit limit as quickly as I thought they did. I always thought they were quick to increase the limits when I was near the limit. In fact, in the beginning it took them a while before my very first credit limit increase. Once I get all the data assembled, I’ll have more on that.

2.) We spent a decent amount of money after we purchased our house. I knew we spent some to buy carpet and some furnishings. But my memory was fuzzy and I didn’t realize exactly how much we put on credit.

3.) I’ve had a few “binge and purge” shopping trips. I almost flipped when I saw a $900 charge to Walmart and then I felt a little better when I saw that money come back with a refund. I couldn’t remember what it was, but my husband did. I bought a laptop and then returned it. Yikes!

4.) I went a little charge crazy when we lived a few months in a bigger city. Target and Meijer were my favorite stores. I remember finding some great deals in those stores, but I didn’t remember the two page long credit card statements. If we move to a bigger city with more stores, I will have to be very careful not to go deal crazy.

My memory can be fuzzy at times, and it turns out that it was pretty fuzzy when it came to our past credit card spending. I’m glad that I am taking some time and reviewing old statements. Now it’s fresh in my mind how we got into the situation we are in and I can work to make sure it doesn’t happen again once our credit card debt is paid off.


10 Comments

  • Reply Beth |

    The irony with #2 is that you didn’t really “spend money” after you purchased your house. You bought things, but the things you put on credit you didn’t actually “spend money” on. NOW is when you are spending the REAL money to pay those things off from your credit card debt. The mindset that is very easy to get into with credit cards (and very dangerous) is that you/we’re “buying” things and “spending money” when you/we’re not.

  • Reply Tricia |

    DebtKid – Yeah, it’s pretty bad that I didn’t remember. Maybe I was blocking it from my mind.

    Beth – Good point. We are paying for those purchases now…and some (finance charges)!

  • Reply Colleen in MA |

    I can relate! I too have saved old credit card statements and it is a great reality check to look at them from time to time. I have my very first statement from my first semester away at college and it’s full of “stuff” – sweaters, earrings, etc and … gas. That gas wouldn’t have been on that if I hasn’t bought so much junk! My Mom ended up seeing the statement and she said “have fun – we all go thru this.” NO, NO, NO I wish hadn’t gotten that message back in my twenties.

  • Reply jay |

    One of the interesting things I do once a year (should be more often) is go into my Quicken records and look where we spent money, by Payee, Category, and Date. It doesn’t list individual items purchased, but has been quite a shocker as to the number of visits to Orchard or Home Depot for “misc” home improvement items, our personal black hole!!
    I am trying to hang on to receipts now, so that I can actually track WHAT those “misc” items are. ‘Course luckily we have no receipts yet–YEAH!

  • Reply Wes |

    We keep our cc statements, in a file drawer, kinda organized. A good thing too. With the class action settlement on finance charges for foreign transactions we are looking at a nice little return for our organization. We sent them a nice little detailed accounting for what we spent overseas while working. We haven’t seen the check yet and are curious what it will be.

  • Reply CanadianKate |

    Jay: you can improve the reports from Quicken by expanding your categories. Instead of misc, make it Home improvements with subcategories for repairs (screws, wall board, etc), redecorating (paint, wall paper, decorations), landscaping (garden plants, ponds, lawn ornaments), furniture, yard care (lawn service, fertilizer, grass seed, lawn mower gas).

    You can also write what each chit was in the memo field if you don’t want extremely detailed categories. Then, when you are reviewing your expenses you can see if you need to add a category for regular spending.

    Tricia: as usual, I love your credit card posts. Keep them coming!

  • Reply Matt |

    I’ve done similar things in the past to find that my memory was more than a little fuzzy as well. Regardless of how the debt got there its there and it takes a long time to get rid of.

So, what do you think ?