The single most over-rated “benefit” of credit is that it allows you to have what you want, right when you want it. We live in an “instant” society. We have instant oatmeal, instant pudding, microwave popcorn, always-on internet, universal cellular coverage. We demand, as a society and as individuals, that our wants be met on time, or even better, early. There is a tragic downside to this mentality. Stop, for just one minute, and try to remember the last 5 meals you ate, the last 5 conversations you had, the last 5 emails you answered, the last 5 people you hugged. SEE. We have so much going on, and we demand that so many of the things in our lives be NOW NOW NOW, that we rush through our lives. Knowing that we have this desire for instant gratification, credit companies make borrowing extremely easy. Walk into a store, see what you want, swipe a card, sign your name, and out you go. Bing-Bang-Boom. But, there is a sinister downside to the “convenience.” People are credit-spending themselves into deeper, and deeper financial holes. It’s so EASY to use a credit card. It is painless. I liken using credit cards to eating cotton candy. The next time you are at a state fair, buy a big bundle of cotton candy, and eat it as fast as you can. Trust me, an adult can eat an entire bag of the stuff in less that 15 minutes. Why? Because it FEELS light and airy, easy to swallow. Then, go ride a few rides, wait awhile, walk around a bit. That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? That my friends is the cotton candy doing its work. That sicky, sweet, nauseous feeling. It comes from eating too much, too fast, because it was too easy to consume. The same is true with credit. It will make you sick if you do not realize, QUICKLY, that it is extremely easy to over-endulge in its “sweetness.” So, the next time you want to use your credit card…STOP…Put your card back in your pocket, go home, read a book, watch some t.v., wait 24 hours, take a cold shower, take a walk…Now, do you really NEED what you were about to purchase, or did you just WANT it? Huh, huh, huh….well, if you NEED it, go out and earn the money for it. Stop the insanity of feeding your credit card obsessed financial sweet-tooth. Comments welcome…ncnblog
Found this neat site: Visa Extras where you earn reward points for using your DEBIT card. The key is to use your debit card LIKE a credit card when you buy something. In other words, use it and sign a paper receipt instead of entering your pin number. Visa has deals with various banks, so check your bank. My current bank, SouthTrust, was purchased by Wachovia, and they both offer this service. It should be FREE. If your bank charges anything for this service, then I would not sign-up.
Do you do much shopping online? Of course you do! We’ll here are a few awesome sights that can help you find great deals on great stuff. Try to go to the forums and post deals that you find, in order to help the bargain community out.