It’s been several days since I last posted an article here at No Credit Needed. I could easily blame my life, which has been hectic and filled with much to do, but I won’t. I could also blame writer’s block, but I don’t have it. Instead, just like every other article I’ve ever written, I’m going to be honest. I haven’t written an article because I can’t get over a self-created (is that a phrase?) issue with the direction of No Credit Needed. I’ll try to explain.
Way back, more than four years ago now, when I started this site, I had one goal. I wanted to be debt free. Well, it “only” took me ten months to get out of debt – and then I was faced with a (pleasant) dilemma. What do you do with a debt reduction blog, after you have achieved your debt reduction goal? Do you keep blogging? Do you stop blogging? Do you change the name? Do you change the focus? Remember, when I started this site, I knew next-to-nothing about blogging, blog promotion, social media, Internet marketing, online advertising, etc. I was (and in many ways still am) just a guy with a computer and a goal of financial security.
So, instead of just celebrating my debt-free status, I continued to blog. Over time, No Credit Needed became (I hope for some) more than just a debt reduction blog. I connected with a lot of other bloggers, authors, writers, and readers. In fact, No Credit Needed opened up a world of new friends, new contacts, and new ideas.
Throughout the history of the site, I’ve written (primarily) about my own financial ups and downs. Included in our plan for financial prosperity, I’ve written several articles about how we live without using credit cards. For us, this is a personal decision, simply because my wife and I really don’t like the hassle associated with credit card use. Somehow, those articles about how we live without credit cards really caught on – and that idea – of not using credit cards – became a (the?) focal point of No Credit Needed.
Here’s the rub. While I don’t use credit cards, I never intended for that to be the primary focus of this site. The reality is, however, that much of the media attention that No Credit Needed has received has come from media outlets interested in how we live without credit cards. Of course, as people asked questions about our lives without credit cards, and as those articles gained popularity, I was motivated to write even more articles about our lives without credit cards. And, at first, I had absolutely no problem with this, because we really have thrived without them.
When I started No Credit Needed, one of my goals was to break my reliance on credit cards. For me, I was able to achieve this by simply putting my credit cards in my wallet, and refraining from using them. When I first started, I needed to break my credit card dependence. However, I have come to realize that this lifestyle choice may or may not be the best for everyone. I have no desire to try to convince others to abandon (permanently) their credit cards. Instead, I’d love to encourage folks to get out of debt, manage their finances wisely, and refrain from useless borrowing.
The time has come, and I feel that I must stop focusing on this specific topic. While we will continue to live without credit cards, writing about this topic is keeping me from writing about a broader range of financial topics. I feel boxed-in, unable to write about “how to manage credit card payments” or “how to use a credit card an remain debt free” for fear of alienating my current readers or coming off as hypocritical.
I take this site very, very seriously. Writing here has radically changed my life, both financially and personally. I love the personal finance blogging community, and I plan to continue to support my fellow bloggers. At this time, in an effort to broaden the reach of No Credit Needed, and in an effort to broaden its subject matter, I feel the need to shift the focus away from articles about life without credit cards and towards articles about life without debt.
I have a few ideas about the types of responses this article will receive. I hope that most will understand my motives, and forgive me for giving up the “credit cards are evil, and here’s why” battle-cry. I fear that some may stop visiting the site. Hopefully, after noting that it’s been almost two weeks since I last wrote an article, you can see that this “step” has been weighing heavy on my mind. I simply do not want to waste valuable time and energy defending our decision not to use a credit card. Instead, I want to write about the power of a sound budget, the importance of planning for the future, and the goals one can achieve with solid planning.
I will continue to write about the debt free life. I will also write about our goals, and how we plan to achieve them without borrowing money. I will also write about debt reduction, how to pay of credit cards, and I will continue to celebrate the debt reduction success of other bloggers. As for writing about credit cards, I may mention that we do not use them, but I will no longer focus on this aspect of our financial plan.
I have proven, to myself, that I can live without a credit card. I have no current plans to use one, nor do I foresee a reason to use on in the future. However, should I choose, at some point in the future, to pay my cell phone bill with a credit card, and then pay that bill off at the end of the month, I will let you all know. And, for those who do use them – and those who don’t – I hope you will continue to read No Credit Needed.
A word about this blog’s title – No Credit Needed. When I first started the site, I wanted something catchy, something that would be memorable. I remember seeing a sign, at a local store, about how you could finance a purchase “no credit needed”. I thought it would be awesome, if somehow, instead of that phrase being used to convince people to borrow money, it could be turned on it’s head, and represent a family that was living debt free, without borrowing money. Only after a few articles did the name start to “mean” something. It does not mean that I don’t think credit (or the ability to borrow) is important – it simply means that I don’t want to live a life where I am beholden to creditors. Only later, after choosing the name, did I realize the impact of a credit-less life and that, perhaps, the site should have been named “No Debt Needed”. Perhaps I should state it thus – I don’t mind having credit, I do mind needing credit.
I invite you to leave comments with questions or concerns. In choosing to move away from this singular topic, I can now focus on an array of important topics. Concerning myself with the defense of the “no credit cards lifestyle”, I really felt dragged-down and alienated from the original purposes of this site. Now, I feel that I will be able to really focus on other things that are important, and move forward.