Living Without a Credit Card
It is possible to live a perfectly normal life with no credit card and no checking account. Years ago, my wise grandmother commented on credit cards. She said,”If I don’t have the money this month, what makes anyone think I will have it next month? Why would I want a credit card?” I took that statement to heart and vowed to never get a credit card. It may seem impossible in today’s society. The credit card company marketing has done a good job of convincing many that they simply cannot get by without a credit card. You can, I do. Here is how:
- Get a pre-paid debit card for hotels and the like. There is a fee but if you shop around, you can find one with reasonable fees. Use the pre-paid debit card only when cash is not accepted. If I absolutely must pay a bill over the phone (I usually don’t need to) I can use my pre-paid debit card for that too.
- Bills can still be paid with money orders. Money orders can be sent to cover bills and the funds are guaranteed. You will not be hit with an overdraft fee because it is pre-paid.
- Pay the bills in cash. You will need to make sure that you have a file for receipts because that will be the only way to prove you paid if there is a dispute later.
- I have a savings account where my paychecks are direct deposited. It is easy for me not to spend more than I intended to spend when I only withdraw from savings what I had budgeted. For example, If I am going to the grocery store and have budgeted $200, I will only withdraw $200. I will not go over my budget with impulse buys because I can’t buy what I don’t have the cash for. The rest of my money stays in my savings account earning interest. The easiest way to avoid overspending is to only have available the amount you have budgeted to spend.
- You will have to learn to wait for things. Paying with cash does not provide the instant gratification that buying on credit does. I may have to save up for a while in order to get the new computer that I wanted. I cannot put it on a credit card. However, I do not pay interest on the price of my new computer once I have the cash for it.
There are people who think that I am crazy for not wanting or needing a credit card. It is true that I must sometimes be inconvenienced. I have go someplace to load money onto my pre-paid debit card to pay a bill over the phone (If I am going someplace anyway, I may as well just go pay the bill in cash). I have to wait and “save up” for luxuries that I want. I have to leave my house to buy a money order. However, I see these things as an advantage. When spending money is less convenient, I am forced to think about what I am spending and reduces the mindless spending and purchasing that will blow my budget.
The question has been posed to me, “what if someone steals your purse? Now they have all of your money?” My response to that question is simple. They get the money that I had with me. They do not have my credit card numbers or checking account numbers. They cannot steal the money that I have in the bank, money I have not earned yet, or cause me over limit or overdraft fees. I at one time had a checking account. The numbers were compromised and the bank did not make it easy for me to recover my money (I never did recover a large portion of it) nor did they offer much help in stopping the unauthorized debits. Changing the account number did not even help. It was then that I realized that the bank was not working in my best interest. The charges were making money for the bank whether authorized or not. After the first couple unauthorized charges, the bank accused me of lying about the theft. Now, in order for someone to steal my money, they have to actually take it from my purse, they cannot “hack” it or otherwise steal it. Additionally, they can only get what is there. My future earnings are secure.