Cash or Credit?

When I moved out of my parents house at the tender age of 19 and into an apartment of my own, the reality of being on my own hit me in the fact that all the basic ‘comforts’ you were used to, you now had to buy for yourself.  My first weekend in my new apartment was an eye opener, as I took for granted that a simple thing like taking a shower would be interesting – without a shower curtain. 

Of course I had to immediately go shopping to purchase things like – you guessed it, a shower curtain – and bath towels, and other necessary sundries.

Being that I was now responsible for monthly rent and utilities and all the lovely expenses attributed to having a place of my own, budgeting became a priority.  As did the need for for emergencies.  You know, like Nordstrom and JC Penneys.  I discovered the hard way how easy it is to rack up the – but oh so difficult to pay them off.

I managed.  Somehow.

But at 19, it’s hard not to spend money when you have it – learning to discern between want and need was a daunting task.  Some months I’d have to stretch my grocery budget extra thin – but rent, car payment and utilities were priority, since they represented a roof over my head, transportation to my job, and necessary electricity and heat.  Prioritizing had prominence.

Except when it came to those frivolous credit cards.  In my 19-year old mind, it was like free money.

Ahem.

Years passed and I became adept at paying off my credit cards.  It was a cycle – rack ’em up and pay ’em off.  But it seemed to get more difficult for the ‘paying off’ part of the deal.  And don’t get me started on – that’s what eventually did me in on my enthusiasm for credit cards.

Frivolous Finance Charges.

I didn’t like having to pay a fee for the privilege of having a card – whether I used it or not.  So I did away with my credit cards.  All of them.  And never looked back.  If I want something and I don’t have the cash to pay for it, I don’t buy it.  Plain and simple.  Well maybe not so ‘simple’ because I had to learn to save in case of emergency. Or for the things that are needed. 

Of course when the hubby and I were buying our house 9 years ago this summer, we were encouraged by our realtor to open up a couple of credit cards because when you don’t have credit cards (like the two of us who are anti-credit card people) you can’t sufficiently build up your credit.  It’s a vicious cycle – and ridiculous if you ask me.  Reluctantly the hubby opened up a couple of low-limit cards just to use them and pay them off.

Over the years the limits kept getting raised – whether he wanted them to or not – since he was being responsible with them.  A few months ago he paid them off and stopped using them, keeping them only in case of emergency. 

Then he got a rude awakening yesterday with a statement from one of the two cards – after having a zero balance, suddenly he owed more than $70.  Excuse me?  For what?  Apparently they were charging him a monthly charge for the existence of the card – something he was completely unaware of.

One of the cards started charging him a minimum finance charge of $15 per month – which basically means that if he doesn’t use the card, it would cost him $180 per year just for the privilege of having said card.  And, if he were to charge something piddly for $8, he’d still have to pay $15 at the time the bill was due – to make that minimum charge.

He got on the phone with them immediately ready to cancel the cards altogether.  Naturally they offered to waive the fees and he can continue to keep the cards and use them when needed, with no monthly or annual fees.  You can bet he’ll be watching them like a hawk to make sure they don’t start charging him a privilege fee to have them.

As for me, I’m still sticking with my cash-only policy.  My debit card linked to my bank account works perfectly fine for me, thankyouverymuch.

Which brings me to this week’s question:

Are you a Cash or Credit Card person?

Have a great weekend!

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Happy !

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From Kailani at An Island Life:
In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So on Fridays let’s take it easy on posting, too. Ask a simple question…nothing that requires a lengthy response. It’s a great way to make new blogging friends!

 

More Fun:

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Oh So SAvvy MomfriendandfollowChubby Cheeks Thinks

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About Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)

After 20+ years in the Corporate World and years of infertility, Princess Nagger made her miraculous appearance and I chose to become a SAHM and WAHM - I love every minute of it. We added Little Dude through adoption, adding a whole new dimension to our family. We have an eclectic mix of pets: dogs, cats, birds and fish. I love to cook and try new techniques to turn ordinary into extraordinary. Crafty by nature, I take on a lot of unique projects and enjoy seeing the end result. My favorite, of course, is making my own wine out of fruits and grapes. Experiments with water currently underway. I blog about the joys of parenting, family, friends, life, love and anything else that strikes my fancy. I do enjoy doing reviews and giveaways for products I use, believe in and can stand behind.
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27 thoughts on “Cash or Credit?

  1. Cash all the way! I try not to use my debit card for anything but gas. I take out cash from my account and when it’s gone, I’m done. It’s save a lot of headaches. You really have to watch those sneaky credit card companies!

  2. Such a difference here.
    In my country, we pay cash for EVERYTHING, so if you don’t have cash, you aint getting anything!

    Then I come to America and I totally freak out because dh was using money that didn’t belong to him. (credit card) He then explained it. I still didn’t get it.

    Now I understand but I’m still very uncomfortable with it.

    I prefer cash.

  3. I agree with you completely. Credit cards are dangerous, tricky things. For a very long time I was cash only all the time. Now, MacGyver and I have a few open cards we never use (for the credit report rediculousness) – though a couple were recently unilaterally cancelled “for inactivity.” But we pay for everything on one credit card with excellent rewards, then pay it all off every month.

  4. For a long time, I was cash only. I began to acquire credit cards about 10 years ago, but my debt is not bad. Beloved, on the other hand, acquired a great deal of debt during his divorce, then again when he acquired his business. I’ve now become “cash only” again and am paying off all the credit card debt, slowly but surely. I’m with you – if I don’t have the money in savings to pay for something, I don’t buy it!

    • Well said! Only for an emergency. Sometimes I feel that your adults are being taken for a ride with some of those credit card deals they send out. Same kind of problems are apparent with student loans as well.

  5. I am a type of the Credit Card people, I’ve always preferred to use my card instead of having always enough cash in my pocket.

  6. I learned from early life credit card failures too, and I’m a debit card girl. I really want to switch to the cash in envelope system to be even more budgetted, but it hasn’t happened yet.

  7. Well, I’ll tell ya my dad never owned a credit card because he said if he didn’t have the money to buy it he didn’t deserve to own it. Well, that might have worked back in the day, but that doesn’t work in this day & age I’ll tell ya. You have to build up that credit score or you go no where. Hubby is one for paying off cards cuz he hates paying interest. Love dat man o’ mine! BUT me I was the kind keep charging pay the minimal and come tax time pay it off every year when I was single and it crept over when I got married & Dave let me do all the paperwork until he found out about our credit card. Well I have one and he has his own, which is always paid off. I use mine for house stuff and he knows it & when he found out how I do it he had a stroke. Honey, take the money out of the bank and pay it off and if it ever gets more than 300 let me know we’ll pay it off again. Oh yes, luvs my hubby lots. hehehehehehe I am so spoiled! Have a great weekend girlfriend!

  8. I only use my debit card, it has the little MC logo that gets whatever I need. I do a lot of online shopping so it works. Before I got out of the Air Force I got a Star card which I use for gas, because of the discount, and sometimes at the BX, especially if I’m buying a gift for DH. But other than that I try to stay away. I had similar experiences with credit cards when I was 19 and moved out and I’d rather not repeat them! I do get really frustrated sometimes here in Hawaii because a lot of places are cash only. We went to pay our car registration at City Hall a couple weeks ago and they’re cash only! Registering a car in Hawaii costs hundreds of dollars, and they’re cash only, I don’t get it.

  9. I am proud to say that I am a recovered credit card abuser and have no debt. It is such a great feeling too. If I do need a card for items such as plane tickets, I’ll use it and pay it off immediately.

    Have a great weekend!!!!!

  10. I try to use my debit card as much as possible. However, most of my online shopping is done through my credit card.

  11. Mostly credit so I can collect the air miles. I still use cash sometimes though. And I ALWAYS pay the balance at the end of the month. I hate interest charges and do not pay them EVER. And if some card company was so arrogant as to charge me for carrying their card around in my purse, I’d cancel them so fast, it would make their heads spin Lol!

    Have a great weekend!

  12. I’m a cash only girl for sure. We don’t have any credit cards, and I think you are a very wise girl!

  13. I’m currently a credit card person, but for a very specific reason: I have a credit card that’s linked to my upromise account which gives me a certain percentage back on everything I buy that gets directly transferred to my student loans. When I’m done paying my loans, I’ll have to rethink my strategy, but for now, I just charge and pay off right away.

    Stopping by from the Friday blog hop!

  14. Cash only. We used to live in the credit world and then we laid out all our debt in front of us and almost had a hernia. Now, we’re cash all the way. If I can’t afford it, I don’t get it.

  15. My husband prefers we use credit cards for everything because it’s so easy for him to keep track of expences that way. He checks the bank accounts and credit cards online every single day. Works for us! 😉

  16. I am definitely a credit card person. I can’t stand to carry cash because when I have it, I spend it. I don’t like to use my debit card because I am afraid of it being cloned.

  17. Banks tend to charge their clients with stupid fees. A few years ago I was charged because I didn’t use my card the whole month. How crazy is that?

  18. I’m cash only as in through my debit card (I rarely have actual cash on me and I refuse to use ATMs that aren’t my bank b/c I’m not paying you to get my own damn money). I have zero credit cards but not necessarily by choice. Abused them, paid them off, abused them, paid them off. But then I went so long without a card, bought a house, bought a car, finished school…debt to income ratio is high and now and I can’t get one even though my credit rating isn’t bad. I take it as a sign. It really only gets to me when I need to do something that requires a card like rent a car.

    If it’s one thing I hope to impart upon my children, it’s that nothing in life is free. It is beyond senseless to me to pay an annual fee for a card and why would anyone willingly agree to pay 25% on purchases? It took a while and it was borne more out of frustration and I don’t need your money that’s not free money anyway so kiss my ass, but I am cash all the way. It also trains the mind to realize what is needed vs wanted. We save as much as possible so that when we need something we can get it. If we want something, though, it takes the same process: save for it and get it. I don’t want to owe anybody. It’s just not a good feeling, especially when you get into a position where you can’t pay for it. I tell my husband I’m open to most positions he comes up with…that, however, is not one I want to revisit.

  19. For me I would go to cash, I am afraid to use my credit card because I when I go shopping you just swipe and swipe and swipe you haven’t think of how much have you been used for that day. When you use cash, you saw how much you can spend and how much will be left to you.