Every time I do a post and mention credit cards, I hear the same comments over and over again “You can get paid to use them” or “I never carry a balance” or “We pay it off every month.”
I will never forget one comment that was made by someone. She said that people do not use credit cards because they are not disciplined shoppers. She tried to tell me that only disciplined shoppers can really use credit. I completely disagree with this comment in every context.
Having not used a credit card for years, I find that it requires much more discipline to live a life without credit cards. If I have $100, I can’t overspend and I really think twice before making the purchase. No way to overspend that way!
In the years since we’ve gotten out of debt, we did not use a credit card – until about 6 months ago. I actually got one just to better understand readers who say they use only their credit card (for the record, I did not like it). We used it for that period of time and then just paid it off. It is now in our safe.
I think back to when we had the credit card though and the days when we were deeply in debt. For some reason, I did not really look at the credit card charges in the right way. For me, it was the instant gratification or a way to put food on the table when money was tight. I totally missed the lesson on the fact that credit card balances are debt. Even if charged for 2 weeks….it is debt.
Here is the definition of debt:
Did you read that? If you owe any money to anyone, it is debt. Even credit card balances are debt. It does not matter if you pay it off each month. Yes, it is revolving debt, but it is debt nonetheless.
“I don’t want debt.”
CREDIT CARD BALANCES ARE DEBT
Credit card balances are debt. Yes, we can pay it off every month. But it is debt. I don’t want debt. We have worked too hard to get to the point in our life where we have one remaining debt: our mortgage. It is something we don’t want any more of. Ever. Not even a short term debt that we will pay off in 3 weeks. It just doesn’t work for us.
The thing is, when you are trying to get out of debt, you really have to change the way you look at credit cards. Like I said, it is debt. There are perks, however, is it worth debt just to earn them?For us, it wasn’t.
I know many people who use credit because they hate to spend cash. Try to change your way of thinking. I challenge you to use cash for everything (which includes tracking and using envelopes). One you do, you will begin to look at cash in a different light.It is empowering to pay for something with cash. I won’t forget the large TV we bought with cash — not debit – but cold. hard. cash. In that moment, I felt strong and empowered. It were as if I were doing something no one else could.
OUR LIFESTYLE CHOICE
My husband and I have made a lifestyle choice. We don’t need credit cards. It is a financial decision we have made and that we own 100%. This has nothing to do with our ability to pay it off every month. It is simply because we don’t need one. Our emergency fund and savings are there when we need them. We don’t need debt in order to live.
Discipline comes from within and for any one to judge another person to say why they live the way they do financially is wrong. I don’t judge the mom at the grocery store paying with credit. First of all, how do that she isn’t using her debit card? Even if it is credit card, how do I know if her husband didn’t lose his job or they have a sick child and have no savings left? I don’t know their financial situation. That means it is wrong for me to judge.
The same goes for someone who doesn’t have a credit card. It is often that they choose not to own one and has nothing to do with spending habits or credit-worthiness. Just like so many other topics, it is a lifestyle choice and one that should not be judged by others.