It has been several years since I have used a credit card. It started after a long period of unemployment for my husband when we were just maxed out and I could not use them. As time went on and our situation loosened, I never really saw the need to begin using them again. If I wanted something, I used cash, (or a debit card), and never relied on money I didn’t have to buy anything.
When I traveled to Los Angelos from GA last summer, I thought I was going to use credit to survive on my trip. I took one credit card out of my drawer and actually never had to use it. Because I paid for my hotel in full in advance, they did not require a credit card. They could have put a block hold on my debit card, which I was prepared for, but they did not. I also paid for my rental car with a debit card, using Enterprise car rental, and they did not need to use my credit card either. I did show it to them but said, I preferred not to use it and they were OK with that.
The longer I go without using credit cards, the longer I want to go without using credit cards. With the whole economy in distress, I almost wish that credit cards could be abolished. After all, they are a huge part of the problem. I feel like unsecured credit is a big part of our countries credit issues. I think it led to the greed that caused the housing crisis.
So, how in the world do I live without credit? Well, if I want something, I save for it. For example, right now I am saving for a trip, and to make it happen I am working more. (Fortunately I am a freelancer) I am also spending less. A bit of hard work and delayed gratification will make my trip even sweeter than it would have been if I put it on credit and had to worry about paying the card off after the trip.
By using cash instead of credit, I am also naturally more frugal about how I spend money and so it goes a lot further than it used to. Our income has still not reached what it was before the layoff, which was followed closely by the depressing recession, but interestingly enough, I am not using any credit right now when I wouldn’t have been able to survive without a credit card then.
There are several websites that give information and tips for living without credit cards.
The get rich slowly blog talks about life without credit cards talks about living on a cash-only system. While I have been without a credit card for about 3 years, this blogger has gone nine. “You might believe that credit cards are a necessary part of modern life, but it’s just not true. During my nine years without one, I never noticed the absence. Millions of other people live financially prosperous lives without them. ”
The CNN Money article Life without plastic tells of all of the mistakes credit card users make.
They spend more money per purchase when using credit.
Credit card users are more willing to tolerate higher prices. While spending cash makes you more likely to haggle, and purchase the lower priced item.
My favorite part of not using credit is that I don’t pay more than the listed price on an item (in interest rates and fees).
Look at it this way, do you want to pay interest today on gas you purchased three years ago? I know I don’t… and I refuse to from now on.
Read about how The Tollivers broke the cycle and are now living on cash only.