Having done this a few times now, I’ve learned that it’s not so much about how large a balance you’re carrying but how able you are to make constant and consistent payments while keeping the credit cards in your wallet.
Here are the three puzzle pieces that determine success or failure: Payments Made, Interest Charged, and Purchases Made.
The total balance doesn’t matter one bit. $20 in the hole or $200k in the red, it doesn’t matter.
In hockey terms, it’s a lot like a player’s plus/minus rating.
For those that don’t follow ice hockey, the +/- is a statistic that doesn’t take into account how many goals a player has scored. If you’re on the ice when your team scores a goal, whether or not you’ve influenced the play at all, you get a plus one. If you happen to be on the ice when the opponent scores a goal, you get a minus one. Pretty simple, huh?
Well, sometimes the most valuable player on a team is the guy with the fewest points. Some players are just “good luck charms” for those around them and the +/- rating is what showcases an otherwise un-noticed talent.
Brad McCrimmon, who sadly died in that hockey team plane crash a few months ago, has always been the “stud” of this statistic.
He was a defenseman who never once scored more than 13 goals in an entire season. Thirteen goals isn’t very many.
Casual fans thought of him as a, well, just a generic and totally replaceable player. I know I was never “excited” to see him on the ice — really, just a boring player among the likes of an offensive lineman in football or the guy who bats eighth in baseball.
Simply put, no one was chanting his name.
But when you took into account the +/- statistic, well, he was second to none. It became crystal clear that his team scored often and the opponent pretty much never scored while he was on the ice.
So, even though he wasn’t on the score sheet very often, he was, in a technical sort of way, the best player on the team. By far.
Back to finances…
So, first and foremost, my payments for the month (goals for) must exceed the sum of my expenses and the finance charges (goals against).
It’s really that easy.
I don’t even need to address the total balance — as long as the above holds true, I’ll always be headed in the right direction.
I know, this isn’t rocket science but so many people somehow manage to lose track of how simple it all is…
So far, in January, I’ve charged $399.06 and I’ve submitted $1473.95 worth of payments. There have been no finance charges as of yet.
That means that my plus/minus rating is plus $1074.89.
And we’re less than halfway through the month…
(I know, I know, I’m 6 months late with the Charlie Sheen references…)