Tonight I made a leap forward. No, I didn’t “go under the knife” as the title of this post might imply; instead I made a leap forward in my quest for financial freedom – I cut up 2 credit cards.
It might not seem like much, especially since both cards already had zero balances, but for me it’s the mental switch that’s important here. I know I’m mostly prudent when it comes to my finances, but I also don’t want to have credit cards sitting available. The temptation of having them is a big factor as to why I, like so many people, continue to be in debt. Credit is easy, too easy in fact.
You don’t give an alcoholic a drink, you don’t leave knives on the kitchen counter when children are around, so why would you have credit just sitting there if your goal is to get OUT of debt?
And I still have 1 other credit card (currently with a balance near $4K), so it’s not like I’m going “cold turkey” when it comes to credit. This change also gives me the opportunity to focus my efforts at paying that card off. Sure, many folks (including Dave Ramsey) would argue that the best way to dealing with credit cards is to cut ALL of them up IMMEDIATELY, and never look back. I’m sure this approach is much like ripping off a Band-Aid; if you do it quickly, the pain won’t linger as long. And there is some value in that approach, but I’m not into inflicting pain by any method, so I’ll quietly avoid it whenever possible.
My wife made the classic argument that if I left the cards open (with a zero balance) then it would help improve my credit score. She has a point, that is, if I wanted to try to improve my credit score. Your credit score is a measurement of how well you manage debt. I’m trying to get OUT of debt and I already know that my credit score will actually go *down* because of my efforts, and that’s OK.
It’s been a long time since I could taste the freedom of financial independence, but dammit, I want it back!