Giving Up Credit Cards: Two Years Later

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Cut-Debt Exactly two years ago this month, I made a big announcement. Our final credit card had been paid off completely after years of living with consumer debt. I have to say, I am so glad I publicly shared that success.  It has kept me accountable over the last two years.

Some people can manage credit cards effectively, racking up rewards points and paying off the balance each month. I am not one of those people. My husband is not one of those people. Occasionally, an offer letter will arrive in the mail or that friendly cashier at JCPenney will ask if I’d like to “save” on my purchases by opening a line a credit.

The old me would likely hesitate. Maybe even pause for a moment to consider it. But today, my readers are my accountability partners. I can firmly and confidently decline a new credit card without reserve.

Have there been temptations?

Of course. We recently moved into a larger home with our growing family and the addition of my sister to the mix. Financing a new sofa or rug would be so convenient.  Instead, we paid cash for those. There are other items on my “wish” list. Items that can wait.

In the meantime, we continue to enjoy a life without credit cards. The first few years of our marriage saw lots of plastic. Reflecting now on the last two years without them, I see major differences in our family life.

To name a few:

  • Less mail: Far less paper clutter comes into our home without credit cards bills.
  • Better sleep: New babies aside, we honestly sleep more soundly without debt hanging over us day and night.
  • Fewer payments: This is rather obvious, but just having the basic bills to pay each month saves time and hassle over making payments.
  • No surprises: When purchases are made, they are carefully planned and researched. There is no spontaneous splurge with a credit card.
  • Less uncertainty: We no longer question how we are going to pay for emergencies, or even our upcoming (frugal) family vacation.
  • More giving: Without hundreds of dollars going towards credit card bills every month, we have been able to be far more generous with our finances.

Two years later, I can look back and realize the peace that paying off that final card brought to our lives.

If you are struggling with debt, read how we stayed motivated by using visuals.

Note: In the spirit of full disclosure, my husband does use one company credit card for travel and business expenses as is required by his employer. But thankfully this is never part of our family finances. ;)

Linked to: Frugal Friday

Comments

  1. Elizabeth says

    We have been credit free for 1 year! Loving every minute! Feel like I was given the gift of peace! :)
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Choosing the Day of Week to Get Married On- Why did you pick that date =-.

  2. says

    Over the past 1.5 yrs, the credit card bill arriving in the mail has grown increasingly to something that I absolutely detest!! Occasionally because of the surprise “Oh yeah… we bought X… and I forgot to put that $ in the budget so now we’re gonna have to crunch to be able to pay it off,” but mostly just because I’ve grown to hate the credit card and credit card bill, thankyouDaveRamsey!

    Last week DH is now ready to cut up our CC. Yay!! Hopefully we’ll be doing that at our FPU class tomorrow night :)

  3. Gloria says

    We are on the fianl steps of paying off our last credit card. Then we attacked the second mortgage then the first. We also couldn’t see our way out til someone actually told us we could do it and he had seen folks in much worse stands than us ( even if it was a lie it still made us feel so much better!) So we’ve sold cars and anything that wasn’t nailed down! My husband prefers the term “gang warfare” to debt snowball, more masculine and tough sounding and it has a better image like you are fighting the folks who helped you get into this mess! Thanks for the encouragements.

  4. Angie says

    I have another tip. I too was asked to use a credit card for work expenses. But, my name was going to be on that card, and I was going to be responsible for payments (reimbursed by my employer). So what I did was I opened a new checking account (a no fee no frills one) with $1000 in it. I got a debit card attached to it and I use that to pay for work things. As I get reimbursed, I just replinish the account. Works for me.

  5. says

    Yay! We’ve banned our credit card too, and it’s freeing to not have to worry about that additional bill each month. I was famous for forgetting about a purchase or two (or three, or four) and then being surprised at the end of the month. Ack! Not worth the headache!
    .-= Jennifer @ Saving & Giving´s last blog ..HURRY FREE Subscription to Woman’s Day Magazine =-.

  6. says

    I am one of those “uses a credit card for gas and pays it off each month” girls and that works for me. That being said, I absolutely LOVE to read stories like this!!! Having worked in banking for many years and watched so many people get in over their heads, this just warms my heart. Thanks for your transparency and the inspiration you provide to others, Alyssa!
    .-= JessieLeigh´s last blog ..Snicker-Puddin-Doodles =-.

  7. says

    Alyssa, I love that you’ve been debt free for so long. My husband and I recently paid off our student loans, which was the last bit of debt hanging over our heads outside of our mortgage. We have a rule that if we can’t pay cash, we can’t afford it, and it’s been very freeing.

    Sure, I’d like a new lens for my camera, and he’d like a new bike. We’d like to build a patio off the back of the house, too, but we’re doing them slowly, and we’re not worried about what what-ifs God forbid something should happen and our income were to drop suddenly.

    Congratulations on your two-year mark!
    .-= Shaina´s last blog ..Weekly Dinner Menu- 7-26-10 =-.

  8. says

    Alyssa, I love that you’ve been debt free for so long. My husband and I recently paid off our student loans, which was the last bit of debt hanging over our heads outside of our mortgage. We have a rule that if we can’t pay cash, we can’t afford it, and it’s been very freeing.

    Sure, I’d like a new lens for my camera, and he’d like a new bike. We’d like to build a patio off the back of the house, too, but we’re doing them slowly, and we’re not worried about what what-ifs God forbid something should happen and our income were to drop suddenly.

    Congratulations on your two-year mark!

  9. Cheryl says

    Alyssa: I think it is admirable and most of all smart to do what you have done. It can be a difficult road. Credit cards and bad choices are the bane of this society. I have sworn not to use credit cards and when I do, I pay them off each month. This means that I have to stay on a strict budget, but I admit that some of the rewards are what helps me do that. I have been able to control myself with no problem. I, like Angie, have to spend money for work (travel), but I have arranged my checking account to be available for this. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Alyssa Francis says

      @Cheryl, Thank you, Cheryl! It is all about choices, I agree. It was a tough lesson, but one that I am so thankful to have learned.

  10. Sandy says

    Hey Alyssa,
    Thanks for sharing an inspiring story of yours. Whenever a get a credit card offer from any of the credit company. I ll remember you n will take decision thinking 100 times.. :-)
    Take Care,
    Sandy.

  11. Cheryl says

    Great job! Keep up the great work.
    .-= Cheryl´s last blog ..Cheryl Maguire left a comment for Angela Daniels =-.

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