free annual fee! where is the harm in that?

when we dragged zsolt’s huge backpacker bag inside the apartment to kill time there before he check in for his flight, the first thing i noticed were the number of mails lying on the center table. there used to be a time i hated receiving bill statements. i don’t do now; by tracking my expenses, i rarely get surprised looking through the billing statement.

true enough. most were billing statements. but there was one mail that caught me by surprise.

one of the banks i keep my savings in just gave me a credit card without me applying for one. i have finally come into terms of being happy with just having my Diner’s Club and a back-up Mastercard which i used when the establishments don’t accept the former. besides, i have a Visa Debit Card which i really find convenient. zsolt was surprised when he saw all the cards in my wallet.

hah. he should have been here when i had seven active credit cards and drowning in credit card bills.

or on second thought, that would have been a disaster.

“i don’t like it when they do this.” i murmured.

“get a scissor and cut it in half, baby.” he told me as he stretched on the sofa. “it’s gonna be trouble.”

i gave him a quick kiss. “its quite tempting.”

“they gave you a nice credit limit?”

“ah-humnnn…”

“buy a ticket to sydney.” he grinned.

free annual fee for the first year. i have seen so many people collect credit cards because they were given free annual fee for the first year. argument was, you can always get rid of it after the first year to avoid the service charges. besides, they are good for emergencies, aren’t they?

that was my line of thinking, too. so before i knew it, i was drowning in credit card debts. dinner tab here, shopping charges there. it was bad enough that my credit limits were enormous then. i learned my lesson now.

vision in hindsight is always 20/20, the bad news is that it is always in a hindsight. you can learn from your mistakes, yes, but the damage (which you could have avoid by being cautious and financially responsible) is already done.

i’ve learned my lessons well. never again will i let myself be a victim of my own careless credit card usage habits. i have made it a principle to:

1. use my credit card for shopping and food only within my cash allowance limit
2. ensure that i pay the entire amount in full when due to avoid any charges
3. use it to pay some of my utility bills and grocery shopping to accumulate enough points to cover for my next year’s annual fee.

so what will i do with three credit cards now? i have to give up one of them. i really do not need three. and although i am more confident that i have more control on my finances now, it is always wise to eradicate unnecessary temptations.

it’s bye-bye for BPI, i guess. i always hate it that i can’t pay my bills for that credit card online.

oh well, i guess i should start reviewing their rewards catalogue. those points have to be redeemed. what just sucks a little is that, they were nowhere enough to get me to Sydney.

zsolt would have been so pleased.

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