Our revolving line of credit was through a company called Cetelem. That might not mean anything to anyone outside of France, but it’s a big lending company. I believe they offer all sorts of loans except for mortgages. Most of their money, I’m sure, is made through revolving or open lines of credit, like a credit card, except that instead of whipping out a handy piece of plastic that’s in your wallet, you go on line or contact them by telephone, and they transfer X sum of money to your bank account.
At one time we owed them up to â‚¬6000 that we were slowly paying off in monthly payments of â‚¬133.97. At 20.32% that’s very slowly! Every time we got some extra money we would send them another check, but then the refrigerator would need to be replaced, or we would be overdrawn by so much money the bank would start making threatening noises again, so we would start the cycle all over from the beginning.
Eventually I started getting my budget in hand, and I began learning about snowflaking and snowballing. We were throwing all our available money at this debt, and slowly but surely it started to come down. There was a balance of â‚¬2289.36 when my in-laws unexpectedly gave us a large sum of money and we were able to pay it off entirely.
Yesterday, I received a letter from this company, the sort of letter that I would normally throw away without opening. But open it I did, and inside was details about their points program, including the information that we had enough points to receive a â‚¬30 gift card from them. At first I was suspicious and looked for the small print, but in fact it seems that we were accumulating points automatically all along, without knowing it, just by making monthly payments.
Then I went online and looked at the retailers who accept the card. When I saw that Ikea was one of them the die was cast! This morning I went online and ordered our ‘free’ gift card- pay only â‚¬133.96 per month for more than six years and you too can receive the same.