A Funeral for My Target Card

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How cutting up a credit card started the path to paying off debt.

I said goodbye to a few old frenemies today. My Target RedCard, Southwest Visa and American Express credit cards.

We have a lot of credit card debt accounts but these three all had a special place in my wallet, which is why I needed to have a proper burial for them.

The Target RedCard

Oh how Target has been a sanctuary for my tired, broken heart over the years. I think so many of us can relate to this, but maybe it isn’t Target for you. Maybe it’s Amazon with his quick ease and endless suggestions. Or maybe one of the Maxx family of stores; TJ himself, Marshalls or HomeGoods with their slashed prices and mile-long checkout lines of “obviously I NEED that candle, water bottle and roll of pretty dog poop bags”. These companies, and thousands others like it, have on-staff psychologists that their only job is to manipulate our generation of women in to thinking we NEED to have this stuff to soothe the yearnings for fitting in and keeping up.

That was Target for me and my RedCard made it possible.

  • He had a relatively low credit limit ($3k) so I never felt overwhelmed by a $300+ debt purchase on a particularly sad/happy/bored/celebratory/angry day.
  • My daughter and I bonded at Target over Starbucks lattes and cake pops and all those cute baby, toddler and now Tween girl clothes.
  • Offices, bedrooms, kitchens and businesses have been outfitted on that Red[Debt]Card.
  • Christmas presents were bought in one fell swoop on December 23rd every single year since our first baby was born. (If that doesn’t suck the romance and tradition out of Christmas, I don’t know what does.)
  • I justified candles and picture frames and rugs and coffee mugs and water bottles and baskets and luggage and dumbbells and sports bras all in the name of self-care.

The Southwest Airlines Visa

This cutting was less of a ceremony but I still had to mourn what it stood for: VACATION. When our kids were little we visited my dad in Florida yearly so it only made sense to have a credit card that gave us points to pay for said airline tickets. If only that’s what it did 🤦‍♀️ . While we put a pretty hefty balance on him, he never really delivered. MAYBE we got one free ticket in the 15 years we’ve had it.

The card itself represented permission to escape for me. Every few months my life would get so overwhelming, mainly because I was hungover and sick, that I would look for any way to escape my life. Pretty places around the globe via Instagram would scratch the itch and an airline ticket and hotel would go right on to the debt balance. Now that I no longer need to escape my life, I have no need for a card that ‘helped’ me do that.

Oh, American Express. You lied.

The approval from the American Express company told me I had made it in the business world. The only thing I really got approved for was a 30% interest rate and a shame spiral when I couldn’t pay the balance in full one month. I thought the AMEX police would come knocking at my door demanding payment because ‘you have to pay it off every month.’ Not true. He likes his interest money just like the rest of them. He just likes to make you feel REAL bad for it.

The only real grief I hold on to here is false. I see him for what he is now, just the dick from high school that now dresses up real nice and tells you how cool he is and how uncool you are. Barf.

I won’t say good riddance; they all taught me something about my limiting beliefs, how easily and foolishly we can be manipulated in to thinking these cards represent something more than what they do: a locked cell of debt that we actually hold the key to.

To be totally honest I held that RedCard in my hand for almost a full five minutes while my head and heart flip-flopped between cutting it and keeping it. The arguments for keeping it kept popping up like a dirty whack-a-mole game at ShowBiz:

  • But what about Christmas?
  • What if we need something from Target?
  • Can we never go to Target again?

    I whacked those bastards in to submission every time:
  • Christmas will still come. It’s time for a new tradition anyway.
  • If we need something from Target, I will go and pay for it with cash or on my debit card. My guess is we won’t.
  • Of course we can still go to Target, just not to soothe my soul.

Financial freedom is the way I care for myself now.

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Hi, I'm Katy.
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Writing is my way of unwinding and letting my thoughts roam free. Every so often, in the midst of this creative chaos, something clicks, and I'm like, "Hmm, maybe someone else will dig this too." So, I toss it out into the world, hoping it lands with someone who gets it.
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