Should You Get Rid of Your Credit Cards?
Taking the plunge into debt-free living can be difficult, especially for anyone with large amounts of debt. After all, decreasing your debt is something that takes time, discipline, and self-control. Despite this, many families are choosing to get rid of their debt, ditch the credit cards, and start paying cash for their purchases. On the other hand, credit cards can be an extremely useful resource for travel-hacking and earning free vacations and trips if used properly.
If you’ve been thinking of trying to live a debt-free life, there are a number of ways you can decide if this drastic move is for you.
First off, consider your current lifestyle.
- How often do you currently use your credit cards?
- Do you tend to make large purchases that you plan to pay off later?
- How would you feel about saving up the money to buy something first?
- Do you pay off the balance of all of your cards in full each month? If you like the idea of travel-hacking and using your credit cards to earn free trips or vacations but you don’t have the financial resources or discipline to pay off your cards in full every single month, credit cards may not be a good choice for your family at this time.
If you don’t have a problem with planning for your purchases, making the transition to paying cash probably won’t be too challenging. If, however, you tend to buy things without consideration for the cost or you like to buy things spontaneously, this might not work.
Next, make sure that you discuss your plans with your spouse or partner. Realize that choosing to pay off debt and start saving for purchases is a change that will affect your entire family. While you don’t have to cut out all of your personal or fun expenditures, you will need to minimize the amount of money you spend on these while you’re whittling down your debt.
Make sure you talk about this thoroughly with your partner so that you are both on the same page. It could be incredibly frustrating to try to start saving money if your partner doesn’t think it’s as important as you do and continues spending with or without your knowledge.
Finally, consider how often you have emergency expenses. Credit cards can be used for an emergency tow if your car breaks down, for an unplanned school fee, or even for emergencies while you’re on a trip. If you have a cash emergency account, you may not need credit cards in case of an emergency.
If you don’t have your savings account built up yet, however, you may want to plan to keep at least one credit card for emergency situations. Additionally, some families with teenagers or college students choose to keep a credit card that their child can use while away at school.
Regardless of your decision, make sure that you consider all of your options. It’s also important to remember to be patient with yourself and your family. Lifestyle changes, even something like building up a savings account, can be difficult. You may have some arguments or some bumps in the road, but with perseverance and open communication, you can start to lead the financial life you’ve been hoping for.