Artist $24k In Debt Drew Every Item Purchased To Become More Conscious Of Her Spending Habits

"In a way, drawing the statements was like writing, 'I will not be stupid with money' over and over and over again."

When Kate Bingaman-Burt realized she had accumulated a $24,000 credit card debt, she knew she needed to change her spending habits. So, in an effort to be more conscious about her purchases, the Oregon-based graphic designer decided to put pen to paper, and draw out everything on her credit card statements. 

"I created this rule for myself, mostly because I didn't feel comfortable drawing. And I was very ashamed about my debt. Plus, my shaky hand was the total opposite of the machine-generated statements I received every month," she told GOOD"In a way, drawing the statements was like writing, I will not be stupid with money over and over and over again." 

The drawings helped Bingaman-Burt realize how small purchases, such as coffees and notebooks, could add up. They also physically helped her pay off some of her debt. She sold her drawings on her website which helped to subsidize her credit card payments. 

"About two years into that project, in 2006, I decided that I wanted to draw something else other than my dumb credit card statements—I wanted to draw my purchases," she said. 

Sharing her project gave other people comfort in knowing they weren't alone and many reached out to Bingaman-Burt to share their experiences with debt. 

"I was drawing in a pretty public way, and I wasn't sure how people were going to react. Some folks were like, 'That's so dumb, why would you want to do that?' But a lot more people would tell me about their stressful credit card debt. I ended up being a credit card priest, basically. I was suddenly the confessional outlet. It was very emotional," she said. "They didn't feel like they could tell their friends because they were worried about being judged. And I was this person who had no right to judge because I was screwed up, too." 

Bingaman-Burt feels fortunate that she has since been able to pay off her debt and had time to create the drawings. She hopes her project will help to bring more transparency to the taboo subjects of money and debt. 

You can check out some of her drawings below.

(H/T: GOOD

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