Saturday, May 22, 2010

Predator and Prey

Ah, the thrill of the hunt.  The predator stalks its prey, waiting for the ideal moment to strike.  Sometimes it is necessary to use a little bait, lure the unsuspecting victim into the clutches of the hunter.  And once that poor, innocent soul has let their guard up just the tiniest little bit.....

It's amazing how you look at credit card offers differently when you're undergoing a Total Money Makeover.  I used to open every envelope that came my way, especially if there was an enticing offer displayed on the front. 
I would often transfer my balances around from one credit card to another, feeling pretty smug that I had beaten the system and moved my money from a 10.99% APR account to one with.....wait for it...0.00%!  Sure, the offer only lasted 6 months before the APR would leap up to 12.99%, but I was so good I was going to have it totally paid off by then anyway, so what did it matter? 

We haven't started the Total Money Makeover because we beat the system.  I inevitably would run out of time on the promotion without making too much of a major dent in the balance or charge something to the account at the much higher purchase APR.  Of course, what always killed me was the lurking balance transfer fee.  Varying from 3-5%, I would end up charging an additional $60 and up just to move my debt from one card to another.  Once I think it even cost me $130!!  But I was still winning at this game, right? 

Wrong.  All I ended up doing was sending more of our money to the likes of Citibank, Bank of America, and Capital One.  Just one more past mistake I won't be repeating any more.  Now I am looking forward to being able to call each and every one of them in turn and close my account.  And no bait, no lure, no deal is going to tempt me to do otherwise this time.

Tell me I'm not alone here.  What credit card offers have you fallen victim to?  Have you ever convinced yourself you were beating them at their own game? 

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