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It was right before the holidays; she had plans to visit friends and family across the country, and she needed something to wear.
Since she'd had a baby earlier that year, some of her old clothes no longer fit; plus, she felt like she never did anything for herself anymore.
"You're taught you should take good care of your money and make smart decisions, but we all get tired of being so practical and adult all the time," says credit-card expert Beverly Harzog, author of Confessions of a Credit Junkie.
"You've got this part of your psyche that just needs some adventure." Could it be that racking up crazy credit-card debt and then working insanely hard to pay it down is a way to cultivate a bit of excitement?
But eventually, her wild-child side took over again.
"It can be numbing." For women who are particularly driven, building up credit-card debt can provide a more intense version of the excited fear we feel when riding a roller coaster or watching a horror movie.
Plus, unlike other forms of transgression, like getting a tattoo or drinking too much, credit-card debt is easy to hide.
Maria Stephens, a 27-year-old software engineer making six figures in Atlanta, racked up ,000 in debt over years of charging meals out with friends and buying things like the 0 designer laptop bag that cost almost as much as her new computer.
At the height of her spending, she had seven credit cards, which she used to amass over 30 pairs of shoes and more than 50 handbags.