I used to love credit cards: it seems so magical that, if I only spent what I could pay off each month, a credit card would give me a perk that was totally free – cash back, points for a rewards program, or other positives. Even signing up for the cards gave me bonuses, and because I didn’t carry a balance and I avoided cards with annual fees, I got something for what I saw as nothing.
My husband felt differently though. In our dating time together, we discussed extensively what he saw as the downsides of credit cards. He knew people who had been seduced into over-spending by having that card available to them, and he told me that credit card companies charge businesses a higher fee than debit card businesses do. I countered with points I had heard about fraud prevention being easier with a credit card than a debit card, and having a credit card was a great idea for short-term large purchases so that you could move money around and pay it off quickly.
When things settled out, I had two options. My husband didn’t mind me having a credit card, but it was a matter of principle for him to not have one himself. I decided, however, that if he wanted to take a stand against deceptive marketing that traps people with a lot of debt, I was okay with joining him! I waved to my 2% cash back as it went away, but I also noticed something: my cash back promise had made me more willing, even just a little, to spend money. Not having it actually made me avoid certain purchases, and even just one of those purchases was more value than all the cash back I’d ever received.
I also liked the idea of daring to be a little different in a monetary system that has caused so much stress, pressure, and pain for people. I have no problem with credit cards personally, and they are really useful, especially at times of life when unexpected expenses come up all of a sudden. However, for me and for my husband, it made sense to try something else, and so far… it’s really working for us.
Is there any money or finance choice you’ve made that you know is unpopular or uncommon, but which has turned out well for you? I’d love to hear your success stories, even if they are successes that are specifically about having credit cards and loving them!