Credit, NCN News

No Longer Focusing On Credit Cards

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.

22 thoughts on “No Longer Focusing On Credit Cards

  1. I think you should do what you think is right. Sounds like your main goal was to break away from the need to borrow money on an ongoing basis. As it turns out, your method was to drop credit cards altogether, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to talk about credit cards, how to use them, how not to abuse them, etc.

  2. I’m looking forward to more posts from you! On your blog, you are certainly free to write about whatever topics you like!

  3. Although I do not believe you NEEDED to explain yourself to this degree…I appreciate the fact that you did.

    I think it is important for each of us to write about our passions. If we fail to do so we run the risk of “boxing ourselves in” to limiting circumstances.

    I say BRAVO… follow your passions & you will never go wrong man!

  4. A change in direction doesn’t invalidate all of the previous information you’ve dispensed. You may lose a few readers here and there, but not as many as you would lose if you were forcing out less-than-inspired posts to fit them into a niche. Why take something you love doing and turn into drudgery? Your blog, write what you want.

  5. Thank you for this detailed post. I believe you should write only about what you wish, however, I can understand how doing so would lead to some backlash. Now that you’ve stated your intentions, I hope those who are interested keep reading because I, for one, have missed seeing your posts on my reader.

    TCOY! (take care of you)

  6. Since I first came across your blog, I have read it, even though I do use one credit card on occasion. Why? because, even though, I was using credit, I found lot of useful information and what you write and what you behavior seemed to be matching.

    If you want to write about other thing, regardless of blog name is fine with me and I believe most of readers. but all of sudden if you start recommending CC, then It would be not right.

    I have stopped reading simple dollar for same reason the blog writing and behavior does not match.

    However, sometimes in get rich slowly has writing that may seem like get rich quick, I continue to read that blog as blogger behavior and writing are in sync.

    Go ahead, make changes, write occasionally, frequently what works for you. So far, I am still going to continue reading.

  7. Well, FWIW, I never have chosen your path on this particular issue and never intended to but am a long time reader. I absolutely agree that it is your blog and should post what you want on it and I personally will look forward to a wider range of subjects. Good luck!


  8. “I don’t mind having credit, I do mind needing credit.” – very well said! I think you are inspiring no matter how you define your blog. Just keep writing and we will keep reading. Thank you!

  9. NCN,

    For what it is worth, as a long time reader, I never realized that your site was focused solely on living without credit cards. I can’t even think of a no credit needed type article, but I can recall some of your get out of debt articles.

    I have always considered you one of the top debt reduction blogs and looked forward to reading, because of it. IMO, I don’t think enough people blog about the benefits and living without debt. I look forward to seeing what you write now that you have given yourself permission to write more freely.

  10. Kudos to you! I have to say this post was so refreshing to read. So many people (bloggers) who have made the decision to live w/out credit cards have taken the absolute hard line that EVERYONE should make that choice and that no one ever is capable of using credit responsibly. I have unsubscribed from a number of blogs whose authors have been inflexible on this subject.

    It’s really nice to see that someone who makes that choice for himself, still recognizes that there are valid uses for credit and that others may choose a different path that is equally valid.

    Good luck on the new direction of the blog … I’ll be reading to see where it goes! 🙂

  11. I’m with you, kiddo. I was always glad to read about someone who did not use credit cards. I, too, put away the credit cards (in a file drawer), and lived on a cash only basis. CC debt got paid off. Now what? There is no shame in getting those credit card rewards, but I sure don’t want to gather more debt. I’d like to buy a vehicle in the future, but I don’t want to finance it. I’d like to see my grown children become better stewards of their money, but I’m not sure they want Mom to “help”. Retirement is getting closer, and boy did I get started late. There are all these topics out there. And I’m gonna read what you have to say about them all…

  12. Interesting. I always took the name of the blog to mean credit in general, not just credit cards. But it’s your blog, write about what you want. If people want to keep reading, they will. If they don’t, they don’t. This blog is about YOUR journey, and where it takes you. Sure, the pro bloggers out there will tell you that you’ve got to stay focused to the “theme” of your blog, but in the case of something like this, the journey changes the longer you’re on it. So tell us about where you’re at in your journey NOW, and about where you’d like to BE. That’s what’ll keep people reading.

    Well done NCN, keep writing! I know I’ll keep reading. 🙂

  13. I want to thank all of your for the positive comments. I can now put this (what appears, in hindsight, to be a minor) issue behind me, and get on with my writing. Thanks!

  14. NCN – Remember that your site is a constant reminder and cheerleader for folks like myself who are still struggling to get out of consumer debt. (38% down!)

    Don’t let journalists try to polarize you into extreme positions you don’t have. You’re not a hypocrite at all. Throughout your writing on this site, I never got the impression that you thought credit was bad to have. The message is more that it’s better not to use credit if you can, and the ‘If You Can’ is self-driven by wise financial management.

    I’ll always keep reading! 🙂

  15. I like your blog and dont care whether or not you use credit cards. Write what you like. I have continued to read your work because I like what you say and will continue to read this blog as long as it pertains to personal finance.

  16. Keep up the great posts! Following your heart will keep things rolling. You are “graduating” to the next level in your life and your readers will follow. Besides, you have the old stuff archived for reference! Thanks for sharing!

  17. I am glad that you are changing focus and direction. You have Bern a great source of information and encouragement. Keep up the good work!

  18. I enjoy your blog, and will continue to read it.

    Personally, I use credit cards for just about everything. However, I always Always ALWAYS pay the bill in full every month. For my effort, I get a few hundred dollars in “rewards” each year. Other than this “float”, my family lives debt-free. We do this for the convenience and the rewards.

    Maybe you can re-brand as “No Debt Needed”?

  19. I can understand feeling the need to clarify your feelings on the issue. I however don’t see it as an issue. I love the title of your blog because I think it’s catchy and covers more than just credit cards. I like your fresh writing style and your honesty. Keep up the good work.

    Oh, and wanted to share this with you, we are still in the midst of paying off CC dept. We have a card we got a great rate on which we moved debt over onto. The rate is good until we pay it off. However, CC company just sent out new updates, payment went from 2% to 5%! What a jump and there are also new rules on how and why they can now close your account. Pretty much carte blanche.

  20. I’ve been reading your blog for the last few months, and I’ve always thought you were against debt, not just credit cards. I love the site: it’s a great inspiration and full of practical tips to those of us just starting out. Please keep up the good work!

  21. What DO you do after you’re debt free? ‘New’ credit is the same as ‘no’ . So what do you do?


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