Why so swift to swipe the credit card?

Credit cards and debt controlling our lives?

It is slightly ironic that a small square piece of plastic can grow teeth and claws and chase us around all day assaulting us with worry and breaking in by putting nasty demands for payment in our in-boxes.

The truth is that credit cards are a way of life in this world where the consumers set the level of demand and nearly always need credit to achieve it. In some countries, eyebrows are raised if you walk into a car dealership and buy a brand new BMW, pulling out wads of cash and beginning to count the money. It’s almost suspicious. Where would you get so much cash? The assumption is mostly that only underground industry could round up so many notes. The poor car salesman splutters, wondering which pocket of his customer contains that familiar square of plastic that is a much safer place.

In the typical American home, approximately 73% run at least one credit card account. Nearly 40% of those card holders roll the debt over for lengthy periods of time. However, credit cards are making a global impact. It is rare to find yourself in the position where they are not accepted, even in rural areas in third world countries. 84% of Malaysians like to keep three of them. 60% own credit cards in Indonesia, 81% in South Korea. Europe, however, is much more conservative, playing it safe with a debit card.

Could you cut up your credit card?

The question is this: can you grab the kitchen scissors, face your racing heart and the cold terror running through your veins, cut your credit in half, into quarters, and throw it in the rubbish bin?

Hold it! Wait! Before you do it, you have to make a plan. You won’t be able to buy now and pay later anymore so some saving and stockpiling of cash reserves is required. You will have to create a plan to have funds for emergencies, and you will also need to be much more vigilant with your budget. Splurging and shopping sprees won’t be a spontaneous thing anymore. Generally if you are serious about becoming credit card free, and you stick to your budget, you should be free within 3 months. Take this opportunity to watch your spending habits, your saving habits, and your income to become more financially savvy.

Another very pertinent concern is whether you will need a credit card for a credit check.  Banks, employers, and insurance companies for example will need this to check your credit rating. This also applies to things like hotels, plane bookings, car rentals and so on. Many establishments hold your credit card details as assurance.

The things money can’t buy

So you have prepared, and are ready. You can get the scissors now and sit down at the kitchen table ready to slice the cards that are laid out before you. Take a moment to reflect on your new life. It is a life of being more mindful about what you consume. It becomes a life of appreciating delights that money can’t buy. Friends, nature, serenity, walking, sun bathing, laughter and just being. And think of all the trees you are saving by eliminating all those statements that used to pollute your mailbox.