I am over 1 year Clean!!

I am over 1 year Clean!!

(Originally published on 03/23/14)

So back on March of 2013, I went cold turkey but it wasn’t drugs, alcohol or my cigars that I quit!  If you know me at all, you know that I will never quit smoking cigars.  No, I quit using credit cards and collecting debt and now I am over 1 year Clean!

In 1994, when I entered college, I had become a credit card user, instructed by my parents that I was only to use it for emergencies.  But that never holds true and thus began my typical American abuse of credit cards.  I would use them for anything and everything and most often nothing of importance.  However, I didn’t see anything wrong with it cause everyone was doing it!  Apparently, everyone was brain washed by Wimpy of the Popeye Cartoons and felt that it was ok to rack up tabs that would never be paid off!

So if this is the American way, why was I deciding to buck the system?  Well for several reasons:

First, I had met two self made men.  These men had come from poverty to become financially quite successful in their own ways.  But what did these two men have in common?  Well, they took advantage situations that came to them to help them get ahead; they both worked hard to get ahead; and they both had little or no debt at all!  It was always amazing when I would go out to dinner with them and their families and they would pay the entire bill with cash.  One even refused to get a debit card cause he said that he didn’t want to develop a habit of relying on plastic. These were two self made men who worked for themselves.

There is a thing that Andrew Jackson once said that I think is relevant here: “When you get in debt, you become a slave. Therefore I say to you never involve yourself in debt, and become no man’s surety.”  These 2 men I had met refused to be slaves to debt.

Second, I would get paid on a Friday and by Saturday most of my paycheck would be gone to the credit card companies but the debt never went down!  Can you believe it?  I mean, I would dump $600 in payments to the various cards and my overall debt would only go down $100.  Ok so that may be a fake example but it definitely felt like that every month and it wasn’t that far off from the truth.

Thirdly, I stopped using 2 of my 4 credit cards entirely in 2006 but didn’t finish paying them off until 2012?  WHAT THE HELL WAS I PAYING EACH MONTH FOR 6 YEARS????  I have no idea?  Can you imagine paying off dinner at PF Changs for 6 years?  Man they make good food but it isn’t that good!  It was like I was being punished for 6 years for a crime!  I didn’t like paying those bills every month at all.

So when I created my Bucket list, I decided that I need to get rid of these pieces of plastic that enslave me to years of debt.  It took a lot of focus & a little bit of sacrifice, but in March of 2013, I paid off my last two credit cards once and for all.  Then I closed all cards but one card that is locked away somewhere and committed myself to be 100% Cash & Carry only!

Getting Rid of All my Credit Card Debt is Definitely on my Bucket List! #Debtfree #NoCreditCards Click To Tweet

Now it’s 1 year later and how has it gone?  Am I living like a poor person only eating Ramen Noodles and smoking 1 Swisher Sweet cigar a month?  Is my credit Score in the dump?  Am I living alone in a cave somewhere never hanging out with my friends and never visiting the world?

HELL NO!  I would NEVER EVER smoke a Swisher Sweet ever, no matter how desperate..haha, but seriously.  Any of you that knows me and my adventures of last year, know I live life to the fullest!  Since March of 2013, I have taken 2 international trips for nearly 14 days each, ate like a king, hung out socially with my best of friends and family, taken some crazy active adventures around the US, and smoked some of the best cigars available on the market today!  Plus according to Credit Karma, my Fico Score has gone up!  And I do all of this with Cash Only!  Not a single thing has been bought with a credit and I am not deprived!

So why am I sharing this, to prove that it can be done.  I am no financial expert at all…but if I can do it, anyone can!  That is the whole reason for my bucket list, not only to inspire myself to live each day as much as possible, but also to help others be inspired!  I truly believe that if I can do something, then anyone and everyone can!

So join me in taking your freedom back from debt!

~Eric

Don’t forget to Pin this to your Bucket List Board!

16 thoughts on “I am over 1 year Clean!!

  1. Good post. I agree about feeling a sense of freedom when you have no credit card debt. We use credit cards but always pay off our balance each month. We flew to Hawaii for free with airline points! Havnt paid interest in many years! Discipline!

    1. That’s awesome Joanne, I wish I had your discipline to be able to pay them off at the end of every month but it would be too tempting. I used to have an American Express charge card, you know the old plastic American Express and I loved it because you had to pay it off at the end of every month. But I got rid of that unfortunately I have to get one again but to me running with cash currently is the best way for me to stay disciplined

  2. Congratulations! That’s a huge effort and one not many people decide to take on. I haven’t had a credit card in about a decade. My partner has one and collects travel points etc. But for the most part, people we know are killed financially by keeping credit cards.

    1. I agree, it drives me nuts when I hear people say they can’t do stuff because they can’t afford it and then I watch them use their credit card like it’s going out of style

  3. Congratulations on acheiving your goals. There is nothing sweeter than succeeding at what you set out to do–and proving to yourself that you didn’t have to live miserably to do it.
    It’s always about choice and clearly knowing what you value most.
    We are tightening our belts this month and need to cut back on all unnecessary spending. When my daughter and I had to be out over the lunch hour, we planned on packing a lunch. We “suffered” eating my homemade beef stew rather than forking over cash at a restaurant. (We even shared some of our homemade cookies.) Rather than deprived, I felt smart and rich…and generous. I call that living large.

    1. I love hearing this story Cheryl! The fact that you and your daughter were able to spend quality time together over home cooked meals and fun homemade cookies makes life even better in my personal opinion! Some of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had my life with friends and family didn’t cost money but just took some creativity and thought. Just like you and your daughter did for each other. Thank you for the kind words also

    1. That’s awesome to hear Beth. I’ve only been doing this for 3 or 4 years, but never felt more free and to hear that other people like yourself and your husband have been successful for 25 years like that just proves that it is possible. Thank you for sharing

  4. Well done Eric! I must be not easy for you to get rid of the credit card but you did it! It made me thinking of quitting using credit card too. I dont have debt currently as I always overpay first as I hate the idea of being indebt to the bank, but that is equally being using cash. I am now trying to get rid of my phone bills. Thanks for this candid article!

    1. Yeah if I can get rid of all of my bills I would be a Superman! Haha no I did figure out a way to get rid of my cable bill or at least reduce it. I used to be paying like $200 on that shenanigans and very rarely used it and now I lowered it down to 50 bucks by using a Roku and very basic cable that comes with my Wi-Fi package. If I could cut the cord entirely I would

  5. Can we discuss the irony of the adsense ad at the bottom of this post being for a Discover card 😀 It really made me LOL.

    Seriously though, credit cards can be a huge temptation to spend beyond your means. I got one last year that was supposed to be my little emergency fund…then they raised the limit…now it has waaaaay too much crap on it. They become so easy to use, feels like free money.

    1. Haha, yeah I have no control over Google AdSense! I do find it ironic that they would post on my debt free no credit card post. I agree with you having a credit card can be very misleading and dangerous especially for someone like me

  6. I Love this!! We have been on the same journey and are working on our house to finish off all our debt. We also love to travel and typically have everything paid before we go.

    Good job and keep it up!!

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more Tania. I was lucky that I really wanted it bad enough to take care of it as soon as possible along with my law school loans. Now I’m addicted to the freedom of cash and carry. Thank you for your kind words

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