33 Days

Day 8 of 33 Days And 33 Ways To Save Money And Reduce Debt: Stop Using Your Credit Cards

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Day 8: Stop Using Your Credit Cards

If you really want to get out of debt, you have to change your money management habits. Primary among these is the use of credit cards. I realize that credit cards are convenient and easy-to-use. I further realize that you, like most people, plan to pay your balance, in full, at the end of the month. But, I also know, from more than 2 years of writing about the subject, credit cards can be very, very dangerous.

So, instead of balking at the idea of not using your credit card, how about giving it a try? Try to go one week, or one month, or three months without using your credit card. Monitor your spending. Use cash, checks, or debit cards. I dare you to give it a try.

If you stop using your credit card, I believe that the following will happen:

  • You will be forced to stay “on budget” and live below your means.
  • You will have to plan for future expenses.
  • You will spend less than you make.
  • You will NOT increase the amount of debt that you have.
  • You will be more “connected” to your money, living with what you have and not what you plan to have.
  • You will analyze your grocery and restaurant bills. No more sign-and-go!
  • You will actually feel the pain of a$4 cup of coffee.
  • You will have to deal with your money

Imagine trying to fill in a hole. Now, imagine that after every three shovelfuls of dirt that you put INTO the hole, I scooped a shovelful out of the hole. So, you put in three, I scoop out one. Over and over, you have to work hard, not only to fill the hole in once, but twice, even three times.

I could go into the technical details about how credit card companies work, tacking on new balances to old balances, putting payments towards balances with lower rates first, or changing billing cycles, mid-contract – but I’m not here to convince you that credit cards are “evil”. I’m here to suggest that you put your credit card in your wallet and ‘forget that it’s there’. Try if for a few months, and I bet you’ll grow accustomed to the idea of not worrying about credit card debt.

Have you stopped using your credit cards?. Leave a comment and let us know. If you are a blogger, write a post about life without credit cards and contact me. I’ll be more than happy to link to your post.Click here to read all of the 33 Days And 33 Ways To Save Money And Reduce Debt posts

18 thoughts on “Day 8 of 33 Days And 33 Ways To Save Money And Reduce Debt: Stop Using Your Credit Cards

  1. My family and I stopped using credit cards about one year ago. It is hard to put into words the freedom it gives you (sounds weird I know). Don’t get me wrong, it was hard at first and felt very strange. I’ll NEVER go back… they have all been cut up and the accounts have been canceled for several months now.

    BTW — I no longer have any credit card payments and as a result I have lots of money in the bank… coincidence?? You Bet!

  2. I am not using my credit card for the last 6 months. I realized that I have saved during this period as much as I would normally save in 2 years. After trying for 2 month it became a habit, so now I dont even know why do I need the credit card at first place (apart from situations like business trip).

  3. I plan to clear the balance on my credit card before Christmas this year and then I’m never using them again (apart from business expenses). I’ve started practising this month, using your envelope system for my grocery money. Will let you know how I get on.

  4. We tried. We had a bad month (a bunch of medical stuff, etc that was budgeted for across the year all showed up in one month), and next thing you know, we’re back in the hole. I’m extremely frustrated. It was ok while we were using the card and paying it off at the end of the month, but in a few short months we filled it up again (thankfully it’s a low max balance card). DH refuses to use cash, period. Debit card is the closest I can get him.

    The current project is to get him to *gasp* turn in receipts for all his expenditures so I can record them. If he gets into that habit, I might be able to talk him into cash for those instead. But he’s a huge convience over cost type of person.

  5. Well,
    I used credit cards recently where in which my debt is totally out of pale,and what I gleaned is either resist or
    cancel credit card

  6. I recently paid off my charge card and my new philosophy is “newer-shinier-better-bigger-brighter-fancier-and-designer” isn’t worth it if 1) you don’t have an emergency fund in place 2) to buy it you have to use some of your emergency fund and 3) if you have to put it on a charge card. Nothing new is worth those 3 things — been there, done that — won’t allow myself to accrue charge debt again. When you are in debt w/a credit card, you feel like a horse’s ass — when you are out of debt, you gain self-respect and carry yourself differently, more erect with your head held up high. And you can Breathe! My recommendation for someone who has to use a charge for an airline ticket would be to write a check in the charged amount that same day and send it to your charge card. If you don’t know the address where to send a payment, just call and ask them. Put a stamp on the envelope and mail it. Good Luck to everyone. The money I was sending to a charge card company every month, I am now sending to a high interest earning savings account. I no longer feel like a fool and wish everyone well.

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  8. I would rather pay higher interest to get a mortgage etc., than be burdened with paying a credit card company endless fees to make their business survive. Why should I support a credit card firm? They have you right where they want you, when it comes to blackmail. “Either you have a credit card, or you can be a nobody and have no credit history!” What??? Don’t tell me what to do with my money. If I prefer to pay cash for things, that’s none of your business. I don’t want the responsibity of making sure I make my payments by a certain date. I don’t need that pressure. If everyone stopped applying for credit cards, they would go out of business and we would all have cash in our wallets!

  9. Stop using your credit cards and debit cards and make the banks work for their money. If they have to process checks and not make a penny instead of the debit cards that they make interest off of lets see how many of them stay in business. I’m thinking of cashing my checks and putting the cash in the mattress.

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