Success is measured in the little things

This morning I sat down to pay a few bills after breakfast. I’d gotten my credit card into a small mess last June when I decided to treat myself to a trip to Texas and tickets to “A Few Good Men.” Not a big mess, but I’d kind of over-extended myself. (“Over-extended for me does not mean having maxed out my card. It means the bill was over $2000. [Which reminds me of a story I’ll relate in a minute.]) This month’s bill was for nearly $2000, but I was determined to pay it off in full, thus starting the New Year clean. I made out the check, then realized I’d sent in last months bill late. I went back over my account and was able to subtract over half the amount due. Yay! I feel so “clean.” 😉

While I was at it, I decided to pay off my line of credit. Now, I’m pretty good with understanding personal finances and loans, things like principle and interest. But lines of credit just confuse the heck out of me. I know they’re a good deal (or at least mine is), but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to pay them off properly. Or perhaps I set up my account wrong. I think that’s as good a reason as any to close out the account.

And now for the credit story. Many years ago, I bought a very unusual, one of a kind ring in Amsterdam. (I’ll tell that story some other time.) However, a few years later, I lost it. Eventually I decided to have a ring made to “replace” it (even though nothing could replace the sentimental value of the ring). I went to a jeweler to discuss what I wanted. I decided to apply for a store credit card to pay for the ring. While the salesman was in the back verifying my credit, I overheard another salesman telling a family they were over their credit limit and couldn’t purchase whatever it was they wanted. I thought to myself how credit has allowed so many people to live beyond their means. When my salesman returned, he whispered in my ear, “I’m sorry to tell you… your credit limit is only $10,000.” And yes, he was joking.

I guess that’s one of the ironies of life. The people with the highest credit limits are the ones who never come near it.

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