There was a time in my life when I thought I needed credit cards. Every day purchases like gas and food were paid for with credit. Very soon, my husband and I were struggling just to make minimum payments. Since then we have turned our finances around and pay cash for everything we buy. Living without credit cards is a decision that I will never regret. It wasn’t easy though, we had to sacrifice to get where we are today. Here is what we do now to live with no credit cards.
First, my husband and I sit down once a month to make a written budget and go over our financial goals. This is without a doubt the most important part of living without credit cards to us. With a written budget, we are able to keep control of every dollar that comes into our household. Before living debt free we spent money without a thought. We had no idea how much money was coming and going every month, and so every month we over spent. That will never happen again. We know exactly what we make, how much our bills are, and how much we are saving for our future. For us, the budget is our most important asset.
Secondly, we have an emergency fund that will easily cover three months of expenses if we were both suddenly without work. Most people keep credit cards around for “emergencies only” and then charge up the card on every day purchases. This is exactly what we did, but we never will again. Since we have an emergency fund that covers all of those unexpected things in life, we have no need for credit cards, so we do not have any. No credit cards, for us, means no temptation.
Finally, we always find ways to save money on everything we purchase. My husband and I live on one small salary because I wanted to be a stay at home mom. In order to live without credit cards, we had to make a choice to be frugal. This does not mean that we go without by any means, but if there is anything we want or need we look for the best price before we buy it. I have come to love looking for deals and trying to find new ways to save on our expenses. Even with an addition to the family we spend less on groceries than we did five years ago because of my love for coupons.
I would encourage anyone who is reading this today to give up your credit cards and learn to live debt free. Living without credit cards is a choice that you have to make. Get out of the mind set that credit cards are going to be your way to a better life, they aren’t. Your hard work and smart choices are your way to a better and more fulfilling financial life. If we can do it on a tiny army salary so can you!