Have you ever been having a wonderful dream and then abruptly wake up because you realize that you overslept? You missed your alarm and are now going to be late for an appointment or work? Do you remember how it made your heart race and your mind quail?
Let’s say you need to be someplace by eight. The drive is 30 minutes and you normally take 30 minutes to get ready. So you set your alarm to wake up at 7:00 but instead, you wake up at 7:30. You know that you are going to be late no matter how much you hurry. But you still try to hurry because now it's a question of not “am I going to be late” but “how close to ‘not being late’ can I be?”
So, maybe you cut your getting ready time to ten minutes - splash some water on your face, put on some deodorant, comb your hair, quickly pick out an outfit and grab a Cliff bar and Diet Pepsi for the road. Maybe you drive a little faster than usual and arrive only five minutes late. You might even feel a little exhilarated from the rush of adrenaline and not feel upset after your arrival, after all, you made it!
I think that pattern fits in with credit card usage and our attitudes towards paying them off. We go through phases where we might have an idea of how much we should spend (set the alarm for 7:00) but swipe our card to have drinks with friends, buy a new shirt, get some gas and some groceries, and take the kids for ice cream or to Disneyland (wonderful dream) and then get the bill and realize that we don’t have the money in our bank account to make the payment (abruptly wake up).
We might juggle some bills and cut back on paying the full amounts to just pay the minimum due. Sometimes we even pay extra and feel pretty good about that! It starts to be normal to be a few minutes late, or to have an outstanding balance on a few cards.
Let’s stop this! If that is normal, then let’s be un-normal!