Usage of Credit

@dorannmwin (36698)
United States
April 15, 2010 12:41pm CST
Something truly amazing is happening in the United States right now. For the first time in many years, Americans are spending less money than they are earning and this is a great thing for our own individual economic health. This brings me to the question, is your family still using credit cards? If you are, would you say you are using them for lifestyle or for necessity? If you aren't using credit cards any longer, how long has it been since you gave them up? How do you feel about your decision to give up using credit cards? My husband and I gave up our credit cards seven months ago and though it was a struggle at first to learn to live in a different way than we'd done in the past, now that we are used to it, it is a great thing for us. We are able to make ends meet and still come ahead a little bit. We've got less than three years left on our debt management plan and then we will be out of debt except for our mortgage and knowing that makes me feel great.
4 people like this
18 responses
@cher913 (25893)
• Canada
16 Apr 10
this really surprises me because everyone i know (almost anyways) has their credit maxed out but as for my hubby and i, we dont use one and when we tell people we dont have one they are shocked!
1 person likes this
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
16 Apr 10
What really shocks me is when I say that I don't have the money to do something and they suggest that I use my credit card. Uhh, I don't use credit cards, people will look at me like I'm some kind of an alien.
1 person likes this
@sk66rc (4261)
• United States
16 Apr 10
I still use credit card. But I use it like a debit card. I over pay my credit card so I have some money left over in it. I don't have checking account & I don't carry that much cash on me so credit card is easier for me. I have few bills automatically withdrawn from my credit card. 2 weeks ago, I went on vacation. I paid $3,500 into my credit card. When I came back from vacation some of the bills were paid off, I still have little over $300 credit on it.
1 person likes this
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
16 Apr 10
That is a great way to do it. I've thought about doing the same thing going forward as well, but I don't know if that will happen or not.
1 person likes this
@Cutie18f (9564)
• Philippines
16 Apr 10
That is truly inspiring to hear. I think the best way to live within our means and to finally live a better life free from the bondage of debt is by getting rid of credits and credit cards. I think I am trying to do that too. I notice that as I try to give up credits and credit cards, I am able to save now and not have to worry much about where to get the next money or how to settle my monthly bills. I think life is a lot better now without debts.
1 person likes this
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
16 Apr 10
I definitely agree that life is much better without debt. I only hope that in the future we are able to get out of all debt, including our mortgage (which really isn't a debt after all).
1 person likes this
@hvedra (1623)
16 Apr 10
We have a credit card that still has some outstanding debt on it but we are paying that down and nothing else has gone on the card for many months. We had a loan that was squeezing us until the end of last year but that has gone now and we've managed to get our expenditure down to comfortably less than our income. Hopefully we will be rid of the credit card by the end of this year. We pay the car off in three years and the mortgage (hopefully) in less than ten.
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
16 Apr 10
For us, the only debts that we have right now are our credit cards that we are working on paying off and also our mortgage. The credit cards have less than three years to go and the mortgage technically has 28 years to go, but we are hoping to pay it off in less than 10.
1 person likes this
• Boston, Massachusetts
16 Apr 10
Hi Dorann, I never use credit here in the Philippines. i hate credit cards. Lots of my friends are having problems with their credit cards. so i spared myself from such headache. i only tried credit cards when i worked in the US. i am so strict in its usage. i am scared to abuse its use. so it's use only for emergencies.
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
16 Apr 10
I know that feeling, after having the experiences that I've had with my credit cards in the past, I am absolutely terrified of using them ever again.
1 person likes this
• Boston, Massachusetts
17 Apr 10
you know what? my husband even literally cut his credit card-- after he fully paid his bill. and threw it in the bin. right now we are free from any bills from credit card. we learned from that experience.
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
19 Apr 10
We are much the same way. Save for one credit card which we will maintain in case of emergency (and not carry on our person) we are going to be cutting all of them up.
1 person likes this
@goldeneagle (6775)
• United States
4 May 10
I stopped using credit cards a while ago, and I have been working to pay them all off. I am keeping one of them, but I am not using it at this time. I am working to pay the balance on it down as well. I am thinking about trying to use the credit card to pay from things from day to day, then sending a payment to the credit card through my free online bill-pay every few days to pay for the things I have bought. Then, I would not have to worry about forgetting to write things down in my checking register. I have had a problem in the past with using my debit card, then either forgetting to deduct the purchase from my register, or losing the receipt from the purchase. This has resulted in overdraft charges on my checking account, and I need to find a way to eliminate this problem, so I am planning to try to use my credit card more like a debit card. This way, I can just keep up with an estimate of how much I spend every couple of days, then send a payments to the credit card every few days online. This way I don't have to worry about losing receipts or forgetting to write it down...
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
4 May 10
That sounds like a great way to try to use your credit card. One thing that you might want to check though is to find out if there is a limit on how many payments that you can make a month. I know that I'm only allowed to make three online payments a month on the credit card that I am keeping.
• United States
5 May 10
well I will be doing my payments through my online bill pay at my bank...it is free and it is unlimited...
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
5 May 10
That is cool. When I do our payments we have to do it through the individual companies and they do limit how many payments that you are able to make in a month. For example, I just scheduled a payment on one of my cards today and for that card you are only allowed to make 5 payments per month.
@worldview (105)
• India
10 May 10
Credit cards are at their convenient when it comes to travel, however. In fact, credit cards have become a necessity for any traveler. Many airlines no longer allow a person to book a flight without using their credit card. Most nicer hotels also require a person to give their credit card in order to hold a reservation.
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
10 May 10
You are exactly right with this statement. That is the reason that my husband and I have decided that we are keeping just one credit card. We do like to travel and because of our love for travelling we know that we need to have one credit card.
• United States
26 Apr 10
The only time I would use my credit card now is for the extra protection I would get from Visa on the item I purchased. If I'm using my credit card (I am now down to only 1 )our rule is that we have the money in advance for the purchase. I rarely use my credit card anymore and the balance has been cut in half over the last 6 months. I should have it paid down in 3 or 4 months, and then the only time I'll buy something on "credit" will be for an emergency only. I'm happy that we are spending less than we make, and we are stocking up on sale items. We've noticed the food prices have climbed higher by 15%-20% over the last 6 months, and several economists are stating that they expect food prices to climb a little over 2% every month for the next 12-18 months! So when the items we use go on sale, we are buying as many as we can afford, so we don't have to pay higher prices in the future...well, at least for a while.
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
27 Apr 10
It is an excellent idea to keep things on hand by buying them when they are on sale. This is something that I've been trying to do some of that myself, the main thing that is holding me back on that one is that I really don't have room to keep a lot of stuff stored.
@tigeraunt (6331)
• Philippines
18 Apr 10
dear dora, i have surrendered my credit card nearing two years now. without it i am forced to stay on my budget. and its a great thing. thank you for this discussion. ann
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
19 Apr 10
It is difficult at first to stay on a budget, but in the long run I think that it is a beautiful thing. I'm thankful that we discovered our solution when we did and though we do slightly struggle, there is a light at the end of the tunnel where we won't ever have to feel like we struggle again.
@Hatley (164670)
• Garden Grove, California
16 Apr 10
dorannmwin when I had a Sears card I just got into debt over my head, and finally its been written off. but I now just use my debit card and this way I have it paid always no monthly payments to worry abou t a nd I actually can keep a little money in my bahttp://www.mylot.com/images/emotes/thumbdown.gifnk account because I cannot charge anything. I had finally got Mervyns and JC Pennys paid off but Sears refused to lower their interest so I finally had to give up as the payments I could afford to make were just lost they never touched the principal at all.
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
19 Apr 10
I think that it is terrible that some of the credit card companies won't work with you when you want to be an honorable person and pay off the debt that you've accrued. This in and of itself is one of the main reasons that we've decided that we aren't going to be using credit any further. It doesn't seem fair that they get rich while we have to struggle more and more.
@airakumar (1555)
• India
16 Apr 10
Yes, you are right credit card is really a problem. Because of credit card, people avoid shopping with cash and thinks to pay it later which makes the life hell. I also use credit card but for booking something and when I didn't have cash and when I know I can pay it in installment. Big budget things can be used but it should be repay timely otherwise one will have to pay more for interest.
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
16 Apr 10
The only reason that I will ever maintain a credit card going forward is for those things that you have to do with a credit card, like book travel, and then I will pay it off immediately following the purchase.
@much2say (38813)
• United States
15 Apr 10
No more plastic here . . . yay! Well, that's not exactly true. We do have a back up account . . . just in case of an emergency, but we never use it. I personally stopped using it when I started the DMP about 10 or so years go. If I wanted to be on the DMP, that was the deal . . . no more cards period. In fact, I added to my DMP rep's collection of cut up cards in the jar (she had big, clear jars filled with them - it actually made for cool decoration in that office). My husband never got in debt with his cards . . . so he just made it a point to stop using them a couple years after me. It feels GREAT to not to be tied to credit card debt on my head . . . and yes, I've learned my lesson. When the cashier at the mall asks if I have a credit card with them, I tell them no, and not to ask me if I want to open up an account . . . because I am DONE with plastic . . . DONE!!
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
16 Apr 10
Just a couple more years and I will be completely in the same boat as you are in. I'm very happy to know that we are done with plastic except for the fact that we are paying the stupid tax now. I can't wait to go in with our cut up credit cards to put in Kevin's bowl as well.
@rajaiv0810 (1013)
• Philippines
15 Apr 10
Hi dorannmwin! We gave up credit cards years ago. Although, here in the Philippines we have a different rules with regard to that. But my husband and I have noticed that we are more in control without a credit card. Do you know that very few Europeans use credit cards? What they have been using are debit cards. Though they still call it credit cards . In this way they don't tend to over spend more than they earn. Cutting out the usage of plastic is really good for the people. They would learn the value of money and discipline better. I guess in the long run it will do better in the country. This time however, I think USA is suffering from the decrease of it's GNP. Well it's a struggle at this time but it's better that way than to be under credit all the time.
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
16 Apr 10
I actually think that it is great for our family to not spend a dime more than we are able to spend. One of the things that I think needs to be changed in the United States is that I think people need to have some economic classes while they are still in school so that they can learn to better deal with money.
• United States
15 Apr 10
I have noticed that also that Americans are spending less money. I think a lot of it has to do with the economy. My husband and I have stopped using credit cards a few months ago. We still have one to pay off. We are looking for ways to get out of debt and to save money. Currently, I just finished school and will be applying for grad school. I know that financial aid will help us out a little. I am also looking for ways to make a little extra money.
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
16 Apr 10
As sad as this economic crisis has been, I really do think that there have been many valuable lessons that the American people have learned from it.
@Triper (71)
• Portugal
15 Apr 10
From my point of view - One Word: Obama Obama made it happen and it's wonderful seeing that lots of people are learning that. Spending less, try to use only what they have and start from there, being better as an one, try to stay together and work as one big nation. It would be awesome if more people could learn with that too. I see lots of countries use what they have and don't have to make the country look "cool" and "awesome" and in the backstage we know that they're not showing the true face of the country and I was seeing USA as another one with Bush in the command. There was only wars and I need power and I'm from Texas YADDA YADDA YADDA, USA is the #1 in the world. At least now USA is coming to what was before and being an even better country and that started with free health care to all. Dollar is also catching Euro even if still stronger then dollar making stuff even better to all people: having 2 strong coins in the world to have balance. Srs, I wouldn't surprise if Obama after being out of their job, would be at ONU or even "teaching" economy to lots of 3rd world countries with some crazy name organization.
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
16 Apr 10
You are right that it is good to see that the dollar is gaining some of it's leveridge back. It was really getting tough for us all when the dollar was extremely weak.
@newtalent (1114)
• United States
15 Apr 10
No we are not using credit cards. We are trying to pay any and all debts by the end of this year. Get rid of any junk we have to do it. They can have them. If we take away their tools that can get us in trouble and eventually end up paying more, the banking will lose their leverage on us and they will need us instead of them having the upper hand. Take care.
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
16 Apr 10
I wish that I could say that we could be rid of all our debt by the end of this calendar year, but that can't happen for us unless we were to hit the lottery (which also won't happen since we don't play). However, I like knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
@Shar19 (8236)
• United States
15 Apr 10
I think it is true that we are being more careful with our money. Too many people were being very frivalous before with money. I really don't like using a credit card unless I really have too. I only have one credit card which I have been using a lot because we haven't had much cash to spend. But now that my husband's business is starting to pickup then I will have some money to keep in my purse. Then I won't have to use the credit card.
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
16 Apr 10
That is kind of where we got in trouble with our credit cards as well. My husband's hours at work had been cut and that caused us t not always have enough money to meet the basic essentials that we needed to have.
@katsmeow1213 (29047)
• United States
15 Apr 10
I've never fallen into the trap of using a credit card. The only credit card I own is the one issued by my bank which is more or less a debit card, as I can only use what's in my bank account at that moment. That's the only credit card I've ever owned. That's not to say that I'm debt free... I have other debts. I don't expect to ever own a credit card, I know it would get me into trouble as I love to spend!
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
16 Apr 10
I've learned that reteaching my lifestyle isn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I actually now cringe when I have to spend money (even the money that I spend at the grocery store).