Yelling, “Charge!” before a battle commenced was once the signal for soldiers to move forward quickly to engage their enemies. When Jessie Martin would emphatically reply, “Charge!” to cashiers at the mall, on the other hand, she was basically telling her formidable enemy – credit card debt – to give her another month.
Jessie, a married mother of two, used to have an addiction to shopping. Jessie’s typical day consisted of making several purchases, most of which were completely unnecessary. Her local mall was across the street from where she worked, so it was common for her to spend her lunch break buying clothes, shoes, hats – the works.
The mall wasn’t her only problem, either. Jessie would also spend hours a day shopping online for the latest fashions, wardrobes, jewelry . . . once again, you get the idea.
With all of these daily purchases, Jessie must have been making great money, right?
Wrong. Jessie charged everything to three separate credit cards, none of which her husband Mitch knew about. Jessie was racking up thousands of dollars in secret credit card debt, with no regard or thought as to how she would ever pay it off.
It didn’t take long before Jessie started getting behind on her credit card bills, all while the minimum monthly payments continued to rise. Soon Jessie was making payments late, then missing payments altogether, and eventually getting calls from creditors demanding payments, lest they turn her over to a collection agency.
And when Jessie’s husband found a bill on the kitchen counter detailing one card’s $13,000 debt, her marriage almost fell apart.
Unfortunately, Jessie’s story is an all-too-familiar one: according to federalreserve.gov, every American currently carries about $3,300 in credit card debt, with no sign of those numbers dropping anytime soon.
Jessie’s situation is also a prime example of why couples need to work together to pay down credit card debt, as well as address the issues that lead to such detrimental spending habits in the first place.