Credit Revelation

A Woman's Spending Habits Nearly Cost Her Everything

How Jessie finally solved her credit card debt

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.

Working Together to Pay Down Debt

Unfortunately, Jessie’s story is an all-too-familiar one: according to, 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.

  • Why are you spending? Jessie’s shopping habits were a result of an underlying issue. “I was pretty depressed at that point in my life, and shopping made me feel better,” Jessie told us. Jessie’s cause was depression, and the effect was heavy spending. Find out what is causing your or your spouse’s excessive spending and address it before moving forward.

  • Practice financial clarity. Now that you’ve addressed the need to stop extreme spending, it’s time for both parties to work toward a solution together. This means that every credit card bill, payday loan, and IOU must be accounted for every single month. Then organize your expenses and evaluate where you can trim some fat. Freddie Mac has an excellent monthly budget worksheet, and you can find it by clicking here.

  • Form a plan and stick to it. Creating a monthly strategy to alleviate your spouse’s credit card debt will not only give your partner the support that he or she needs, but will also bring you closer together. “My husband Mitch and I sat down at the kitchen table every Sunday night to discuss the week ahead,” said Jessie. “It’s ironic that the very thing [credit card debt] that almost cost us our marriage was the same thing that ended up bringing us closer together.”

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