credit cards-everyone has their opinion of them. pure evil, useful, life ruiner, life saver. ask around.
i'm a credit card fan. i get so much free stuff from my reward cards that using cash just seems silly to me. why use cash when i could get something free for making the same exact purchase??
i have a southwest airlines card through chase bank, and a discover rewards card. the sw card has a $39 annual fee, the discover card has no annual fees.
in less than 2 years i have taken about 5 free round trip flights on southwest, and in 5 years with discover card i have gotten $1275.00 in free merchandise. FREE MERCHANDISE. FREE. FREE. FREE.
why would you not use credit cards? as long as you pay them off every month, it's bonkers if you don't. in my humble opinion anyway. i'm sure dave ramsey would punch me in the mouth if he heard me say that. but ya know what, daveo, i'm laughin all the way to banana republic, bath and body works, nike and urban outfitters with the free money in my pocket....so judge on, brother, judge on.
i do see the problem though. people let it get out of control. they don't pay on time, they get interest charges, they continue to rack up the charges and then all of a sudden they are in deep sh*t and don't know how to get out. so watch yourself. remember it's not free money. remember you will have to pay it back.
when i was growing up, whenever my mom used a credit card she always debited the money automatically from her checkbook register. that way, when the bill came, she already had the money allocated to that card. brilliant. way to go toni.
i try and do that with my chase checking straight to my southwest card every couple of days so i know my actual balance in my account.
according to the nilson report, not everyone is so smart. the average outstanding credit card balances/household in the US over the years looks a little something like this:
i can only imagine with the economic troubles of so many americans that number has gotten larger.
so yes, they can help, but be careful. don't drown in them.
another note-while i was working through all my financial issues and figuring out how much money i actually had, i used cash. for the first couple of months of the lockdown for everything except gas and groceries. i certainly think working with cash helps you see how fast it goes-so do that first if you're trying to get a grip financially. once you have a firm grasp, then start racking up the points.