Sunday, January 6, 2019

No More Credit Cards For Me

I've been living for more than 5 years without using credit cards. I used to say to myself that I must have at least one credit card in case of emergencies. But what happened was the opposite; I used the card for "emergencies" like clothes and shoes that are on sale, items that are on "buy 1 take 1" deals, groceries, and things similar to that. I used to say to myself, "Oh, I can just pay my card when my salary comes." 

But when my salary arrives, other "needs" started pouring in like my daughter needed to buy new shoes for school, the bill for the gas or water had arrived, someone got sick and I need to buy medicines, etc.  As a result, I was not able to pay the credit card in full. I was only able to pay the minimum amount required. So the plan of having a credit card without a balance has turned into having another credit card that would pay for my other bills. 

So the pattern goes on and on, until I finally decided to save enough money to pay one credit card in full which amounted to P21,000 ( around $411). Once I paid in full, I told the bank to close my account permanently. I did the same to the other card after paying it in full. 

Vacations Should Have a Set Budget

So now, my husband and I don't have credit cards with us. We try to set our lifestyles within our budget. For example, if we wanted to have a staycation, we plan and save enough money to pay the vacation in cash. It's actually more worry-free for us because after the vacation, we forget about all the expenses incurred; no bills to haunt us for the rest of the year. 

For simply staycations, for example, on hotels, if you have a $200 budget for it, then you should simply look for hotels that offer $200 or below for a 3-day-2-night stay. Aside from board and lodging, you also have to consider your food and how many people are dining with you (e.g. your kids, relatives, etc.). 

Change Your Credit Card to Debit Cards

A lot of banks nowadays around in the world offer debit credit cards; cards that you need to fund in cash before using. For example, if you only have $200 debit in your card, then you can only use your card until your $200 , nothing more. It's like using cash, but in card form. Hotel reservations online, malls, restaurants, and others already accepts debit cards with Visa/Master card logo for your convenience.  

Shopping Online is Cheaper

Okay, this may be subjective, but in my experience, shopping online is cheaper. When I shop in a mall, I had to walk around, look for a cheap item. But after a few hours, I get hungry as well as my kids so I had to pay extra for food and my kids' playground time. I also had to pay for our transportation expenses. 

That's all I could think of that will help you save for 2019. Do you have any suggestions? List them down on the comments below and let's talk about it. 

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