I almost broke my own first rule of debt elimination last weekend. It happened at the Apple Store. A shiny new MacBook was just screaming "Buy Me!"

I went through all of my usual excuses:

  • "I'm getting a raise soon that will cover the increased payment." ... maybe.
  • "I'll be using it to make money." ... like I'm doing with my current computer.
  • "I'll sell my old computer to cover some of the cost." ... but not all of it.

I was actually there for new speakers. I could afford to pay cash for the speakers, but obviously not the MacBook. But it was just so shiny and the screen was so wide, I couldn't resist.

I kept looking at the MacBooks while the store employee was getting my speakers from the back. Just as they were bringing out the speakers, I convinced myself to get the MacBook. I walked up to the employee and said: "I've changed my mind. I want the MacBook."

He smiled and said: "Oh, we're out of MacBooks right now. We should get more in sometime this week. Would you like me to put your name on the list?"

Thankfully that was the jolt that I needed to get my brain to start working again. I declined his list, paid cash for my speakers, and left the store.

Once you decide to never charge again, you need to be very careful about placing yourself in dangerous situations. Everything is perfect in the Apple Store -- the lighting, the music, the atmosphere. Everything is designed to make you buy a new computer.

I'm sure I would've loved the computer, but every month when I looked at my credit card statement I would've been disappointed with myself for buying it. It's so much better to save up the money and buy things guilt free.

I will buy a MacBook, but it won't be on a credit card. If you're willing to live with an increased monthly credit card payment, why not just put that much extra in a savings account every month instead? Then when you've saved enough, buy the item guilt free.

Beware of places where you are likely to charge. If you have to go to one of these places, make sure you leave your credit card at home. Better yet, don't take your credit card anywhere. "Don't leave home without it" is for suckers.