I started this blog in September, 2007 with about $25,000 in credit card debt. As I write today, I’m down to about $10,000 remaining. I did not add any new credit card debt and I focused my efforts on paying extra on my credit cards before any other debts. Along the way, I have paid for some car repairs, dental emergencies, and two new computers. All with cash of course!
So how did I, a credit-card-crazed-consumer who had spent $25,000 beyond my means, make such a great change?
- I made a decision to stop living beyond my means.
- I made a budget and started to follow it.
- I destroyed my credit cards (all but one) and I don’t carry the one remaining card in my wallet*.
- I used my budget and extra income to reduce the debt.
You may think you can’t get through life without credit cards—I admit that it was a little scary and difficult at first, but it is entirely possible. I’ve stayed in hotels and rented cars without credit cards. I’ve booked airline flights and handled unexpected car repairs. All you need is a debit card and actual money and you’ll be just fine.
Credit cards are tightly woven into the typical American lifestyle these days. Surely the banks would like us to believe they are necessary judging by the advertisements they flood us with. However, thanks to the current financial crisis, some of us are finally starting to wake up and realize that our current path will only lead to failure.
I’m writing to you as a normal guy who was once part of the credit-card-crazed, consumerist culture. If I can break free, you can too.
Don’t let the media fool you into thinking you need credit cards and don’t think it’s normal to spend money you don’t have. At least give the credit-card-free life a try—you can always go back to living in debt if you find you miss the feeling. 🙂
*In the interest of full disclosure, I currently have 2 active credit card accounts (the two remaining cards I am paying off) and I have 1 physical card in my possession. I don’t carry it with me and I haven’t used it for more than a year now, but it is at home and available if I every truly ‘need’ it. I plan to get rid of it as soon as I have a fully-funded emergency fund (6 – 12 months of expenses).