“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. In our mad rush for progress and modern improvements let's be sure we take along with us all the old-fashioned things worth while.” Laura Ingalls Wilder

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Credit Card Debt ... A Nation of Debtors

I have no accumulated credit card or car payment debt.  The past decade or so Mr. Mac and I have always used cards sparingly and ALWAYS paid them off each month.  With that said, I have played along with the 'use' of credit to get bonus points or monetary refunds at the end of the year.  Today, I'm going to talk with Mr. Mac about cutting up the cards and going back to using only cash or our Visa Debit(Credit) ATM cards.  It will be a good cathartic effort towards being completely debt free in just a few years when our mortgage is paid off.  Gone will be my bonus mileage points that seem to disappear before I'm ready to use them ... or figure out HOW to use them.  Gone will be my Costco/American Express card that lures me into the giant arena to buy a pathetic box of organic butter or bananas each week.  It's time to examine exactly where the grocery savings is going now that we have cut that expense by 1/3 to 1/2 each month.  Too many gimmicks.   Too many games.  I want to live as though each dollar hubby brings home is well divided:  Giving/Savings/Spending.  And all the extra will go to getting rid of the last of our mortgage debt ... and continue teaching our grown kids about being/becoming financially fit to weather the hard economic times that are still ahead.  I'll report back on Mr. Mac's thoughts;)

Graphic credit here


FlowerLady said...

We are not in credit card debt either and don't plan on going that route. When we charge we pay the bill off. Not to say that we haven't made payments before either, because we have on certain things, and we paid more than the little monthly payment they want you to make, to get the bill paid off soon. Our mortgage is paid off, we have no car payments, and we watch what we spend. I agree that there are hard times coming.

Hugs ~ FlowerLady

LynnS said...

Mrs. Mac, I really admire your frugal ways and your commitment to become completely debt-free. You have surely figured out those marketing gimmicks! Likewise, you also know that shopping the 'bargains' is not what it is cut out to be. I'm working on a similar blog post because, like you, I look at the earned income my husband brings home and want to use that money as wisely as possible. He is sacrificing quite a bit to be the sole wage-earner and those wages aren't to be wasted!

I really enjoy reading about your food savings and hope you continue to share your expenditures. It is a good guide for others!

The Younger Rachael said...

Last year we saved about 15% of our income, towards retirement and current passive income (prepping for when I can stay home with children). We use credit cards (only 1 really) that gets paid in full each month and gets a $20 reward every month or two. We use the credit card only because we can get paid a small amount for using it. I'm good with this, because we have back up savings for emergencies, so the credit cards do not fill that need. If you can point to good financial health otherwise (savings, retirement, emergency funds), its seems using the credit card for its benefits is a good thing (paid in full each month, has a "reward" that is cash payments -- not miles or points or some such).

I do think it is good to keep track of what you spend each month, though I'm a bit lazy about doing it. Then I can see when I'm being too spendy and when I'm doing well. Its more for me, who does most all the shopping, than for hubby who keeps the accounts.

Sandy said...

We also have no debt. Our house
is paid off, cars paid off, and
we only use cash or debt/credit
card. We have a responsibility
to the Lord to manage our money
wisely. It all belongs to Him

It's me ...Mavis said...

I agree that it is VERY IMPORTANT to track ALL your spending... it's too easy not to, but boy is it eye opening if you have never done it before. I think next month I'm going to try to reduce our grocery/dry goods down to $300 for the month from $400. I think it's a fun game to play :)

Mrs. Mac said...

Flower Lady ... I'm glad you and hubby are debt free. Soon I hope to say the same thing.

Lynn ... I look forward to reading your post about spending.

Rachael ... good for you working towards retirement AND coming home. Most people think about both of these too late in life. You are ahead of the curve.

Sandy ... You will be another good example for our family to become debt free in a Godly fashion.

... and Mavis ... you, the coupon queen, I need to start using a few select coupon or ad match ideas from you for things like TP and necessary items ... not wanting to pay full price .. you have been an inspiration .. if you cut out all the cereal;) and going in and out of the store six times on the same day ... I don't have time for any unnecessary shopping ... even for a good food bank cause .. being the mom of a special needs child drains my energy for shopping.

Ruralrose said...

May I add: investing for the future. This is buying heirloom plants to collect the seed year after year, this year I am buy quite a few berry bushes. Tools, learning about alternative energy, and expanding skills or things like salt and lightbulbs work too. Great post, gets people thinking, peace