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Why Credit Cards Are Like One Night Stands

by J. Money on Tuesday, November 8, 2011

crazy credit card statement

(Guest Post by Martin of Studenomics)

Have you ever woken up feeling like complete $hit after a shopping spree? You realize that you spent so much money that you simply didn’t have. You have a room full of crap with no way of figuring out how you’re going to pay for all of this stuff. You try not to think about it too much until you finally get that credit card statement in the mail. Then you begin to panic. You have no strategy for how to deal with this. You don’t know what to do. What does this remind you of?

This reminds me of how credit card purchases are like one night stands.

Both satisfy you in the short-term.

Who doesn’t love a spontaneous encounter with a complete stranger? You have fun and then you move on with your life. No attachments, no arguments, no headaches. The same goes for that new iPad that you bought on your credit card. You walked right into the Apple store and picked up that brand spanking new iPad. It’s all yours (until you get the bill). The short term satisfaction is there with a frivolous credit card purchase just like it is with a one night stand.

You can only enjoy both for so long.

Eventually you’ll get sick and tired of spending money that you don’t have AND one night stands. You’re going to want to find more. This is how many of us find great blogs like Budgets Are Sexy and Studenomics (cheap plug!). We realize that our current situation sucks and we want more. We eventually want to start thinking about the long term. We realize that having the perfect credit card doesn’t help us when we’re in debt.

The consequences can be severe.

Yes both a steep credit card bill and a one night stand can have severe consequences that we don’t think about in the heat of the moment. We get lost in the moment and don’t realize what can happen to us. That nice young lady with the pretty smile can have a jealous ex-boyfriend. That jealous ex-boyfriend can have a mean streak. That credit card statement can put you over the top and prevent you from getting that home mortgage that you were going to apply for with your wife.

Credit card debt has the ability to totally screw you over. Your options are limited, you have less cash flow, you have to spend your future income on paying off past purchases, and you won’t be able to quit your job. You’re pretty much stuck. A one night stand can have severe consequences because you can get yourself into trouble, possibly catch something, and miss out on meeting your dream partner.

I don’t want to see you guys be negatively impacted by your credit card OR a one night stand. You’re much better than that.

Neither involve much thought.

A relationship takes work. Saving up and delaying gratification isn’t all that appealing either. Buying whatever you want regardless if you have the money or not can be fun. Trying to rely on only hooking up with strangers can also be fun. Very little thought is involved with both decisions, and both can come back to haunt you if you don’t know what you’re doing. Since you’re reading this I’m pretty confident that you want more out of life. You’re willing to put more thought into your decisions.

Now that I’ve compared credit cards to one night stands, it’s your turn to compare them to something else. Drop some good ones in the comments below, and let’s have some fun with this!

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Guest Post from Martin of Studenomics, who believes you can’t live life on your own terms until you’ve crushed your credit card debt and are ahead of the game.

(Photo by xJasonRogersx)


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 cashflowmantra November 8, 2011 at 7:46 am

Great post and funny. Right now I am feeling like credit cards are like swimming with my clothes and shoes on. It is possible to do so without drowning but it takes a lot of work and forward progress is very slow.

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2 Martin November 8, 2011 at 8:03 am

@CFM Lol alright that’s another great analogy. Thanks for reading my guest piece.

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3 SmartAssetTeam November 8, 2011 at 8:30 am

Making a credit card purchase that you don’t think through is like making a promise you may not be able to keep. You have to pay for it not only with money, but there is an emotional cost as well. It is so important to take impulse out of your finances; it doesn’t get you anywhere easily except into trouble. Very good post!

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4 PKamp3 November 8, 2011 at 8:55 am

I know you said “compare them to something else”, but I’m trying to extend the metaphor. To what would you compare the walk of shame? Perhaps only paying the minimum payment?

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5 MySavingSytle November 8, 2011 at 9:01 am

That post reminded me of my ex. His credit card statement was full of things that he didn’t even remember purchasing! I totally felt cheated on.

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6 Stephanie November 8, 2011 at 10:36 am

I’d actually expand that metaphor and compare credit cards to sex in general. If you don’t use them responsibly, if you go on a big spending binge without thinking about the consequences, they can make you feel like crap afterwards, and even have a long-lasting negative impact on your life… but if you DO use them responsibly, you get to reap all kinds of rewards! You can boost your credit score, get cash back or gift cards or a free flight somewhere… Or in the case of sex, you can end up with a stronger, more intimate relationship with someone you love. In both cases – credit cards and sex – you’re not dealing with something that is inherently moral or immoral. It’s all about how you use it. It can mess up your life, or it can improve your life – it’s all about whether you have the good judgment and self-discipline to make sure it’s the latter. :-)

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7 Well Heeled Blog November 8, 2011 at 10:40 am

Stephanie said it better than I can! I always think of my credit card relationships as meaningful and mutually advantageous (and forgiving of small mistakes). I pay off my balances every month and the credit card companies reward my usage with points and miles. When I do slip up and pay the bill a day or two late because of forgetfulness, I call and they remove the charges. It’s not a PERFECT relationship, but I think it’s a very beneficial one – for both sides. That’s because we both understand how we want the relationship to proceed and we both upload our end of the bargain.

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8 Martin November 8, 2011 at 11:21 am

@SAT So true. You need to keep your promises or nobody will trust you.
@PKamp3 LOL! The walk of shame is like the minimum payment. Good one.
@MSS That’s the worst when people don’t remember where their money went. Who’s supposed to remember?
@Stephanie No more sex talk! My gf has been sending me naughty messages all day lol.
@ WHB Yes the goal is to have a mutually beneficial relationship. Very few of us get to accomplish this with our credit cards.

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9 Darcy November 8, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Great comparison!

I’m pretty sure I heard credit cards can cause Syphilis and sadly there is no Credit Card Condom.

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10 Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager November 8, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Thanks for the insightful comparison.

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11 J. Money November 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Hahahaha…. these are great, guys! Freakin’ crack me up :)

Thanks so much Martin for guest posting for me – you saved me some good time and sanity while I was away at BlogWorld this week. Good lookin’ out!

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12 Martin November 8, 2011 at 11:30 pm

@Darcy we need a credit card condom!
@Jenna thanks for the insightful comment…
@ J$ anytime my friend. Next year my goal is to hit up as many blogging events as possible. I need to be more social like you.

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13 StackingCash November 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Credit cards are like crack cocaine. People use crack to get a high, just like people use shopping to get a high. Most people lack the discipline to pay off a credit card monthly to avoid interest charges.

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14 J. Money November 10, 2011 at 12:01 am

Haha, it’s also like Diet Coke :)

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