November 20, 2014

Family Finances: Cut Up Your Credit Cards

Mar17

dave ramsey
Pay Cash: the Building Block of Financial Security

Since I’m often asked asked for advise and tips on dealing with the  family budget, my biggest concern hands down is the use of credit cards. I am about cause controversy, and play devil’s advocate a bit, so my apologies in advance, but the dangerous repercussions from credit card debt, the bondage that it holds over millions of families, and the fact that 69% of all bankruptcies filed state credit card debt as the #1 cause of bankruptcy gives me boldness to recommend CUTTING THEM UP.

If you are dealing with credit card debt, especially with consumer debt in your spending habits, that’s my suggestion.

Whoa, you are probably wondering where in the world this hard ball approach has come from? When I was writing my 30 days to More with Less, I had a whole bunch of blog posts started on Family Finances that never got finished (surprise, surprise). I shared about the Dreaded “B” word (Budget), and how to get started. Then I recommended assigning every dollar a job. Dollars are told what to do, and every dollar in our budget needs to have a task. There’s such freedom in understanding and figuring out what that means for your family.

As you know, I write a lot about the frugal lifestyle. My desire is to encourage you to be good stewards of your money and stretch them as far as they will go, so you can give generously and enjoy that hard earned money.  I am an expert in frugal living, but more than ever I am convinced that one can live a completely frugal lifestyle by thrifting, Grocery Guru couponing, repurposing etc, but if this ONE area of consumer spending isn’t under control, all the stock piling and Extreme couponing in the world will still be in vain. No one builds wealth with credit card debt. (Although I am sure one of you will be obliged to give me that “one exception,” but for all intents and purposes, you know what I mean. ;))

To live like no one else and be on that road to debt free living and out of consumer debt, getting rid of the credit cards is a mandatory step. This kind of discipline is HUGE, but as Dave Ramsey reminds us, “If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, you are willing to pay the price for greatness.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out, but since personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior, the items that stand in the way of true life changing behavior modification needs to be removed.

When we use credit cards, it’s not personal; it’s free cash without immediate consequence. Using cash for everything is SO personal and real. We are holding it in our hands one minute, and the next minute it’s gone. Visually, we see the cash leave our hands for that small soda that we sip in two minutes, and it’s painful. We work really hard for those dollars and personally, I re-evaluate how I spend them when they are in my grip.

I know many of you can attest to the fact that a huge problem with using credit cards is those “little” purchases. It’s a coffee drink here, a little snack there, a quick run through the drive through, all which cost next to nothing. When we receive the credit card statements at the end of the month those seemingly innocent expenses add up to hundreds of dollars.

A fixed amount of cash separated into budget items for the month instantly gets rid of that temptation. Now, we know changing our entire financial future isn’t as easy as that one “quick fix to-do” list, but it’s the biggest start because it’s immediate.

McDonald’s researched the use of credit cards, and they reported that people spent 47% more when using their credit card. It’s no longer digging to the bottom of the purse for a few extra quarters to spend on the dollar menu, it’s now, “Order what you want, honey, I can just charge it.” YIKES! That’s scary. (And our family has helped that statistic at some point.) Considering that 60% of people do NOT pay off their credit card each month, you don’t even want to do the math on how expensive that $1 burger ends up costing you.

So how many of you are at the point of being “sick and tired” financially?Are you ready to do something drastic to make a change in your family’s future?

Is cutting up or burning your cards (as this Financial Peace group did so well below) something you have considered as a starting point?

P.S. This post is not intended to cause condemnation or guilt for those in a life/job situation completely out of their control. If we’re in debt, we put enough of that on ourselves, and I’ve been there.  I’ve shared very openly about some of our difficult financial situations. In this unemployment post, I shared a time over ten years ago when we had to charge our groceries. A business situation occurred that was completely out of our control. That’s a completely different story, and we were just trying to stay a float. But with that circumstance, we learned some hard lessons, and put steps into place that allowed us to avoid that situation when life experience repeated itself last year.  It’s easy to make excuses and state all the reasons one should be ABLE to use a credit card, or excuses for why you have to use one, but if you are in consumer debt and still using credit cards to buy “stuff,” this post is for you to consider. In my opinion, with the state of our economy, it’s just not worth it.

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Comments

  1. Since I think it’s important to build a good credit rating with credit cards, and I absolutely never pay a finance charge on them, I have an alternate solution. All 3 of my cards (Kolh’s, JCP, Target Visa) are payable online. Keep the receipts for what you are buying that day and when you have time that same evening, PAY IT OFF online. No surprises. If you overdid some buying, you have time to return. Target gives you 5% off everything with their card. JCP sends you tons of coupons (I just spent only $3 and saved $37 on sale stuff yesterday). The Kohl’s return policy is fabulous. Plus, with all three, I don’t need a receipt to return anything, just the store credit card. I think all these huge pluses outweigh the inconvenience of logging in online several times a week and making extra payments. It takes some discipline, but it is very worth it for all the extra deals and the credit rating you build. This is what works for me. No credit card at all scares me. I like knowing that if I have a major emergency, I can charge it in the short term. I guess I look at them like medication. They can help you a great deal, but if you abuse them, they can ruin your life.

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    Lisa Stice Reply:

    You can do one better, make your purchase at the store and then many of those stores use coupons that are only good for those that hold their credit cards. Use that coupon that day, pay with the credit card then pay your THAT register bill with your cash right then. No interest plus take advantage of the coupon deals. Win for you.

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  2. One’s FICO score (credit rating) is the “I Love Debt” score. There is no such thing as a safe and “worth it” credit card purchase. This mentality laughs in the face of what we think tomorrow will bring, when in reality, life’s circumstances may hit you so hard and so quickly (yes, even that day) that the little 5% one saves or whatever incentive they offer us to use their card turns into something that could drastically change our lives for a long time. I have found that if you are paying in cash and you negotiate with alot of stores (say, “Can I get 5% because you are getting your money now, as opposed to later”) they are happy to oblige. Amazing what happens when we try that. Also, I might add that if your FICO score said “zero” then we’d all still be able to buy a house/car. That is a misstatement I’ve heard in the past.

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  3. i like the idea of credit cards for emergencies…the car breaks down…the dog needs an operation…the plumbing needs overhauled…and when i was working at one store i kept their store card to get the savings they offered…great savings…maybe that’s what ran the store into bankruptcy…too bad…in the onset we had great credit…helped in a majoy way when we applied for the loans to buy the house…now we are at a place in life that we have no cards…still trying to pay on the ones we used…piling late fees upon interest and such to the total…it’s a huge black hole we are trying to get out of…like digging your way out of the bottom of the ocean using a sand shovel…but we will come to the surface one day…oh…and i just wanted to make a comment on christen’s comment…paying off the cards each month doesn’t show a good credit rating…it shows you can afford to pay for what you buy…a good credit rating is made by making the payments on the card on time and they track that you can do that…it’s based on consequitive payments…oops..i can’t spell that word…sorry…thanks for letting me ramble…>^,,^<

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    Renee Reply:

    The first step in Dave Ramsey’s “program” is a $1000 emergency fund to cover a lot of those little things that you mentioned. Once you are debt free, step #3 is a 3-6 month emergency fund which is likely more than most people have available on a credit card. It hurts to part with it, but it’s nice to have the cushion. A credit limit will only take you so far with life’s emergencies, and ends up costing you 18-29% (from what I gather talking to other people – we no longer have a CC) in the process (b/c likely you won’t be paying those big “emergencies” in full the next month).

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  4. Hi, would the moderator please remove my initial comment? I’d appreciate it. Thanks.

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  5. I agree with a lot of what you are saying and I think if someone is in credit card debt then cutting them up may be the best idea. I have one credit card and hardly ever use it. My one hesitation though to having everyone cut up their credit cards is for larger purchases like travel. My debit card has a limit on it of $1000 per transaction, which normally isn’t a problem but if I am booking flights for my family of 5 and they are more than $200 a person I either have to split it into multiple transactions and now have multiple confirmation numbers to keep track of etc or I can use the credit card then immediately pay it off online. It may be a good idea to just keep the card in a drawer at home or something if it is a temptation but I am a little wary of cutting them up altogether.

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  6. I’d also like to mention that the “Manage your subscriptions” link below this comment box doesn’t seem to be working.

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  7. I do not agree with you at all. I have only a house payment and no other bills. I have done it both ways with credit card and no cards. I save more money get more coupons, discounts with credit cards. I closed my cards years ago and paid full price for things. So I started opening up cards again. Now I want to open up about two more for future savings. When I do use them it gives me 30 days to pay them off which I always do. Last one I used it took off $60 of my total bill of $300. I believe less is more. I only buy what we need not what we always want. When your kids are grown and you get older you eat, and shop differently. I love seeing what I saved !!!

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    Jen Reply:

    It’s great to see differing opinions, and I welcome it. If you read through this post, it’s directed towards people dealing with consumer debt, not people living debt free, although it’s wonderful for that as well. It’s great that you don’t struggle with any consumer debt, nor the “spend to save” mentality. Statistically, most Americans do, and the cause of it is credit cards because the discipline hasn’t been developed financially to not charge on things they don’t need. So, for those who are in the 1% who haven’t spent more with credit, they are blessed….sounds like you are, but it’s VERY rare.

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  8. Sue Klingseis says:

    How do you suggest we pay for online purchases?

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    Jen Reply:

    I’ll do a post with that, but it would be to use debit cards, but run as credit, so there’s no need to add your PIN number. Honestly, I do have paypal set up for online payments and a credit card that we use for online, but again, if people are carrying any kind of balance on their credit cards, it’s wisely adviced to get rid of them till it’s under control and pay only using debit cards where the cash is in the bank.

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  9. I totally respect each persons right to do whatever works for them, but we must realize that Dave Ramsey says that 80% of it is behaivor. Its not the credit cards fault that people use it like water running down the drain.. its behaivor modification of the individual that needs attended to. Add in that other 20% bit of knowledge and you’ve got a great thing going.
    If you absolutely have no self control, then of course.. get rid of them, but in the meantime, you probably have self control issues elsewhere that need attending to. They’ll pop up elsewhere eventually, one way or another.
    As they say in some of the 12 Step Programs- Geographic cures never work cuz you always take yourself with you wherever you go. ;)

    I’ve been creditcard-less & debt free and I’ve had way too much credit card debt too but I personally find that having a credit card makes some things in life just a little easier to navigate. And btw.. I definitely have looked at myself and my self control issues..spending & otherwise so Im definitely speaking from experience.

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    Jen Reply:

    FYI – I totally 100% agree with you, even though Dave wouldn’t agree with us. He sure is a stickler in his opinion of credit cards, but I guess he has seen too many people that think they aren’t overspending, until they get to the nitty gritty. :)

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    Julia Reply:

    I believe the reason why Dave Ramsey would disagree with us is because he always says “Murphy will come calling”. That’s the point I was trying to make in my earlier reply. Sure, you can pay off your balance right now, but if you have a medical emergency or lose your job all of a sudden and can’t pay it off in time, then you are sucked back into the fray…nothing is guaranteed.

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    KimH Reply:

    Well if you’re a Dave Ramsey follower then you will have been socking away money like there is no tomorrow and you’ll be fine. :D
    I like Dave Ramsey very much.. have read his books and watched his videos online.. I’d love to see him in person sometime or another.
    There are definitely some people who just cant touch a credit card, but it has nothing to do with the card.. its all about self control and impulse spending of the holder.

    To me, credit cards are a convenience, nothing more. Kinda like electric washing machines.. We dont NEED them.. but they sure are nice to have. ;)

  10. Sue Klingseis says:

    I’m a little nervous about that. It is like it makes it easier for someone to access my bank account. I do, however, use bill pay and pay off my credit card as soon as I use it. I also use paypal when I can. Same thing. Thanks.

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  11. I agree that you spend much much more with credit cards. Those little purchases always add up to so much more than you think. However, I don’t like cash so I always use my debit card. I balance the account about every 2 days so I always know how much I have in there. I think checking the balance so often helps keep me in line. I pay all the bills when the paycheck comes in and then the extra needs to last until the next paycheck period for food/gas and extras. It becomes a game to see how far we can stretch the leftover money.

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  12. When we got married, we owed $140,000. About half in student loans and about half in cars/credit cards/furniture and other insanity. $40,000 was straight credit card debt (I lived off the cards for 2 years in grad school).

    Whoa! That’s a lot of debt.

    We had to absolutely, positively, just stop. Stop the insanity. So, we did. No credit cards at all, for any reason. We’ve paid back all that consumer debt, we’re working on our student loans, and we now use CASH. I just can’t see that 10% here or there (or even more) is worth the feelings that I had laying in my bed at night when we were that far in debt. It was awful, and I never, NEVER, never want to go back there.

    If I have to be a freak and not get my 20% off, then so be it. I obviously don’t have the self control to not get in trouble with my cards, and I’m not willing to trade peaceful sleep for a discount. I’d rather buy it at Goodwill anyway. :)

    **disclaimer**we do use one card for gas purchases. We don’t carry the debit card with us (because it’s too tempting to spend “just a hair more” than the budget–told you we have to work hard with self control), so we keep the one card so I can pay at the pump with three littles. That’s worth it.

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    Vicki Reply:

    There are things you just cannot buy at Goodwill. Skin care is one of them. I will not skimp on. I use Clinique. Getting older your skin changes !

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    Betsy Reply:

    I love my Clinique, too. I’m just saying FOR ME, it’s better to pay the full price than have the temptation of credit card debt. It’s taken a long time to own up to my lack of self-control in this department. Going to cash only really helped us, both in our marriage to both 100% be on the same page, and as a person, to no longer have the option of any excuses.

    Trust me. This is just about me. That $40,000 of credit card debt? Every single dollar was spent on a good deal. Every. single. dollar. So, for me, learning to say “enough” took going to cash.

    I just share because there are other people out there like me, who want self control, but just don’t have it. Cash helps me have it. And having that self-control (and the accompanying lack of debt) is worth missing out on some good deals here and there. Deals I love. But, if I don’t have the cash, it’s not a great deal. It just took me a while to figure that out.

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  13. Sue @ House Pretty says:

    I think this is a fabulous post! I just heard about Dave Ramsey about 6-8 months ago. When the course was offered at our church, I jumped on it, and my husband went with me willingly.

    It cost $100, and paid for itself in the first week, with me finding out my husband didn’t know how to do a budget or balance a checkbook. I had NO IDEA! I always assumed that since he was really good with numbers, he was really good with money. So wrong. Again I say, so wrong! His saving grace had been that he started off with a good job that saved his bottom. He is also more of a spender than I am.

    And, wait now, it gets better…since we built a house in the country and I was working several evenings a week, he paid all the bills and managed the money, since he was in town for banking hours. That is the equivalent of giving an alcoholic the keys to the liquor cabinet. Stupid!! My husband has always been sensible with money, but poor guy was never taught how to manage it. His parents never taught him, they figured that was the schools’ responsibility. And the schools never taught him.

    For the first time since we got married (15 yrs. ago) we are both on the same page, and working through things. We see a bright future. Thank God! And I thank God for Dave Ramsey’s Program, and yet, the more times I am reading through Proverbs (I do a chapter a day, following the days of the month), it is all in there.

    Sorry I wrote a novel on this. I just feel this subject is SO important to our peace of mind, our family, our life. And our 3 1/2 year old will be taught this through the years. We are indeed changing our family tree.

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    Jen Reply:

    You’ll be happy to know I am giving away a BIG, HUGE bundle of wonder things from Dave Ramsey. The post will go up on Monday. :)

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  14. Gracemomma says:

    Let’s take it a step further. Shopping can be an idol. Credit cards only support the idolatrous worship of things for those who are bound. You are either free from the unexplainable pull to shop / spend / have more than you can really afford / need, or you are bound (and hopefully praying and working toward getting free). I have been there. I used to HAVE to buy something if I went to a store. Shopping was fun, therapy, etc. I am realizing that I still have to watch myself even now. SO, if you are free, then please feel free to wisely use your credit card as a *tool* in personal finance. IF you are bound, then you need to ask yourself, no excuses, do I want to leave this door open to what is not God’s best for me, or am I willing to pull down any possible idols, and do whatever it takes to be free? Discounts, “nice” new things, etc are all fine…in their proper place. However, if you are not truly free, then it is all just adding to or aiding the bondage. What is more important? Your freedom or that new whatever? Just my two cents. FWIW, My hubby is responsible, we have a budget, and use a credit card as a bank account and pay it in full every month. BUT there is a time I could not do that. God is so much more worthy and He is able to deliver to the uttermost. Thanks for the post! I am going to be examining my heart on this issue some more. I want to be and stay free in Him. Blessings to you all!

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    Jen Reply:

    Thanks for sharing your wise words and insight. So very true. My $1 yard sale find can be that as well…it’s such a heart attitude.
    And it’s interesting that right now that I have the song, “I’m coming back to the heart of Worship…I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it…it’s all about you. :)”

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  15. Thanks for posting this! We nickled and dimed ourselves into a decent chunk of CC debt early in our marriage (at one point it was around $5K I think??). I didn’t understand budgeting, and didn’t think we needed it. At the end of the month I would see the bank acct dwindling so I would charge a couple things to get us through the rest of the week. Boy did it add up fast! We started with Dave Ramsey, but didn’t cut them up like he said to which was a big mistake. I would get them almost paid off, and a few months later have another $500+ hill to tackle. It’s a vicious cycle. We finally got serious when we realized our current home was borderline unlivable due to mold (we have two young children, another on the way any day now) and we needed to do something ASAP. God was looking out for us and really helped us out financially in unexpected ways. We got on a budget (youneedabudget.com – great program!) and moved into our newly built home July 2010 (and it’s well within our means, which is less than what the banks said we could afford). We couldn’t have done it the way we were living our life just a couple years ago. We didn’t cut up the credit cards right away b/c we were going through the mortgage process, but literally the day we closed on the house, I was on the phone closing out our accounts. They were a vice that needed to be gone, like any other addiction. Cut the chains… it’s tough, but it’s doable! It’s a life style and a mindset change… our society has convinced us that debt is normal, a fact of life, a “necessity,” but it doesn’t have to be. A huge weight has been lifted, and I wish everyone could experience that feeling! We have two paid for vehicles, 50% of our 3-6 month EF, money going into retirement and a plan to pay off the house, send out kids through college, and retire as millionaires – did I mention we are only 26 and 28 years old?

    I am thankful for Dave Ramsey and his no nonsense, common sense approach to finances, and for people like Jen who are out there spreading the word so that more people can experience that freedom. Thank you! Many people might dismiss this post as impossible, but keep it up and don’t get discouraged. You never know how many other lives will be changed because of it. We hand out DR’s books to anyone who is interested and for many you can tell they haven’t read them, but there are those one or two who take it to heart and make the changes needed.

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  16. Dawnette says:

    We are on year 10 without credit cards! We have been blessed to buy new furniture, travel out-of-country, rent cars and fly without having to use a “credit card”. You can do all of these with a debit card if your debit card has a credit company logo on it; ie. Visa or Mastercard.
    In today’s world, there is NO need for a a credit card. CUT THEM UP!

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  17. Adrienne S. says:

    My husband and I paid off almost $12,000 in credit card debt in 2009, but we did not cancel our credit card accounts… we cut up our current card, but when they sent us the renewal card after our current card expired, we kept it… we just didn’t activate it. We kept the card in our house but didn’t use it… we didn’t even peel the sticker off of the front. We had put aside the $1,000 emergency fund according to Dave Ramsey and that covered us on a few unexpected expenses, but earlier this month, our dog went in because of diarrhea problems and while there the Doctor discovered a large mass in her chest. Thank God we had that card… we were able to call the bank, activate it, and have it ready to pay for her $4,000 surgery. We don’t have children and our dogs are so precious to us… putting her down just wasn’t an option, especially since she’s not that old. I’ve already applied our emergency fund $1,000 toward the bill, and my hubby plans to pull $1,000 from his business account … then we’ll be selling our second car to help cover the rest so that we don’t incur more than a few months worth of interest. As painful as it was to see a balance go back on the card, we’re still so happy we set it to the side as part of our emergency plan… so that might be an option for some of you who are too nervous to cancel your accounts altogether. We found it relatively easy to live with cash or debit cards for the last two years, as long as our credit card was in a place where it couldn’t be easily accessed and it actually took a phone call to the bank to activate it.

    BTW: The 4 lb mass was removed from our Cocker Spaniel’s abdomen in a 4 hour surgery, but she was well enough to come home the next day… and everything came back benign… she’s expected to live her full life expectancy with no complications. :)

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  18. Great post! We’re a “weird” family and loving it. Living like no one else so we can soon live like no one else. To those of you that use your credit cards as your emergency fund, I would suggest increasing what you have in savings. Our furnace quit this winter, we knew it was getting close to the end, and it was so nice to just pull out the checkbook and pay for it. (Even got a discount for paying in full at time of installation.)

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  19. Great post! I have FINALLY figured it all out and am finally making a dent in my credit card debt. I’m so mad that it got so bad for so long! I am so EXCITED that I can SEE a goal that WILL happen and we will be debt free. I will keep one for emergencies but the rest are getting cancelled and cut up!

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  20. I love seeing posts like this. There are so many people my age, in the mid-late 20′s who are sinking farther and farther in debt. Honestly, when my husband and I got married we had approximatley 22 credit cards between the two of us! Yikes! We were both full time students and worked full time but expenses from school and life in general caused us to rely on credit cards more than we would like. We did the snowball method starting with the highest balance and interest rate and 6 years and one child later are down to about 5 cards we are working on. It stinks, but I admt that it’s much better thank our previous situation. One of the problems we have run into is that once we pay off some of our cards even if we are not using them the actual company will close the account for inactivity which in turn hurts our credit scores. Or, once the company see’s that we are only paying off the card and not using it to make purchases they will decrease the credit limit so that we are only a mere $100 or less from the credit limit which messes up our debt to credit ratio. It’s been a battle to keep out scores in decent ranges the past couple of years because all of our hard work is negated by the companies actions. It can be really frustrating but I guess all we can do is keep trucking along.

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  21. Maggie Thompson says:

    I JUST wrote an blog very similar to yours – not in so much detail, but I LOVED reading this! Here is my take on it – which is very similar to yours. I wish that everyone I knew would listen/read Dave Ramsey and change their lives, like it did for my husband and I.
    http://healthylivingbymaggie.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/healthy-debt-free-living/

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  22. This has probably already been said but I didn’t have time to read all the comments. We have two credit cards, an American Express through Costco, and a MasterCard that racks up air miles. The only way we use these cards is if we have the cash to pay for them. We never pay the finance charges. We keep the reciept, wrap the cash in the receipt and keep it handy for when the bill comes. We use it for business purchases and get reimbursed to help build up miles or cash credit through costco. If we don’t have the cash to pay for it by the time the bill comes, we don’t purchase it…bottom line.

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  23. I LOVE Dave. I was wishy washy about cutting up my credit card, but one day while listening to him, I just had an out of body experience. I cut it and haven’t looked back. Now I just need a good FPU because my envelopes are already empty with 3 weeks to go :o

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  24. Amen! I could not agree more, this has Dave Ramsey written all over it. Paying beyond your means with credit cards is wrong and gets you to that place of debt. Save yourself some trouble and don’t allow the card in the door!

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  25. I’ve been following Dave Ramsey’s methods of getting out of debt. I’m completely out of credit card debt ($6000 in 6 months) and I only have $3,800 left on my car loan which I have been throwing almost $600 a month at. I will never cut up my credit cards, because I do not want to destroy my credit score. That is the only thing I don’t agree with Dave about. Most of us are not a millionaires like he is. We depend on our credit score. I can’t pay for a house with cash and I don’t need my car insurance premium to skyrocket, if my credit score is garbage. My score is currently at 797.

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    Jen Reply:

    Rich – While I always recommend people that are dealing with consumer debt to cut up their credit card, we too still have one that we use. It is different for each situation but for those that just don’t have a handle on it, best bet is to get rid of it until they do. You seem like you are doing UNBELIEVABLE!! Great job!! High five – you are almost there.

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  26. I am very interested in many of your blog posts, however, my husband, a salesman in the finance world and I, struggle with this one. We have a strict budget and a cash household in all but one area. Our gas and food go onto a credit card. We believe and have never failed to pay our ENTIRE balance in full monthly. We have a card with points that earn us miles. Since my family lives out of state, it is so helpful in getting us free tickets. We have been able to take 6 round trip flights since joining the program 2 years ago. The question I have is, are credit cards irresponsible for people who are paying the balance, including them in their family budget, and live an otherwise debt free lifestyle? Your blog seems very negative towards them and I understand, my parents have had their fair share of financial pain and regret due to those choices. Does this have to be the answer for everyone? We would like to be good stewards of the money God has given us and we feel like saving money through miles is the best way.

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    Jen Reply:

    I’ve actually written a number of posts mentioning how we do actually use a credit card as you do, but my very negative aspect comes from the bottom line that the large majority of people are in deep credit card debt and the only option for them to get a handle on it all is to completely stop using them. I completely emphasize those in consumer debt should not use them or those who struggle with that temptation. Even though we pay ours off, the statistics show it’s still easier to spend more when cash isn’t the primary means of using it. That being said, there are a few that can use it well, but for the majority, I believe cutting them up is the best option. Thanks for being so responsible and setting that rare example.

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