Dear Past Self,
I have gone back and forth about whether I should send you this letter, because you know, if someone knows too much about their future it can mess with the space-time continuum and all that stuff. But things are kinda bad right now and I figured it was worth the risk.
I am writing to tell you to stop using those credit cards. This is not a joke. Seriously. Put. Down. The. Credit. Cards.
I know you’re having a lot of carefree fun right now and the bills seem manageable, but eventually things spiral out of control to the point of no return. Yes, future you is a bit dramatic. And broke. And depressed. And about to get evicted.
In particular, there are specific events that I’d like to warn you about, in hopes that you’ll recognize when they’re happening and avoid them completely:
You don’t have to accept every credit card offer you receive in the mail
I know you feel special every time a letter comes that says you’ve been selected to take advantage of a particular credit card program, and that being pre-approved means you simply can’t let the opportunity slip you by. But stop. Right now, you have two credit cards, and that’s an acceptable number. Future you has 27 of them.
Ban yourself from shopping online
It ends up getting way too easy to spend a lot of money in such a short time. You end up getting several packages on a daily basis over the next few years. You don’t even remember what you order anymore. You had a spare key made for the mailman. Your garage is literally filled with cardboard boxes and you can’t park your car in it. You’re sick, truly.
You really don’t need that Hawaiian t-shirt in every available color
They’re insanely overpriced, stupid looking, and we never end up wearing any of them. It’s kind of embarrassing how much we end up paying for them over the years when you factor in the interest charges. Now, there a ton of dumb purchases you’ve made throughout the years, but I really felt the need to bring this one to your attention. Please, just don’t.
Make bigger payments
I contemplated sending this letter to a point in time when you never even had a credit card yet, but when used responsibly, they are great tools for building your credit. But the keywords here are used responsibly. Those minimum payments are just barely covering the finance charges. Literally, our balances haven’t changed in the future by much. Make bigger payments! I know we have some extra cash to make it happen every month, and every little bit helps.
Don’t ignore your bills
If you’re stupid enough to ignore everything I’ve said in this letter so far, do us a favor and don’t end up ignoring your bills when things start to get overwhelming. Because it happens, and we end up getting awfully creative with those pesky bills that arrive every month. Campfire starters, birdcage liners, emergency toilet paper—you name it, we’ve done it. Definitely not good decisions. Open them up, make the payments, and repeat. Do what you can to work out payment plans with the creditors—don’t ignore their phone calls.
Contact J.G. Wentworth
I know times are tough and you’ve been using credit cards to catch up on other bills, but seriously, why? You’re receiving structured settlement payments and J.G. Wentworth can help get you that money sooner. Just call them and they’ll help you out!
That’s really all I can say, but I hope this letter reaches you and that you take it seriously, especially that last part.
Here’s to a less depressing future,
Your Future Self