I’ve stayed away from money posts for a reason. I’m in debt. I’m no different than most Americans, but I’ve made some changes to beat the odds. I stopped using credit cards. In this post, I encourage you to cut up credit cards and never look back.
I have a motto: food and gas, always cash. Unfortunately, I spent a few years not following my own advice. No more. I’ve gone one step further. I’ve quit using credit cards all together. I’ve cut up credit cards.
Here’s a little history about me: I had no consumer debt until I went to college at the age of 30. I borrowed 40K to get a BA and an MA. I don’t regret that decision. I have a good job now as a college instructor.
At 38, I got married. That didn’t work out. One thing I did while I was married, was pay off $14,000 in credit-card debt in two years. I was ecstatic. I learned what is possible. Until I got divorced and was forced into a child-custody battle. Lawyers are expensive. Now, I’m a single dad, and for good reason. That’s another story. I’m also deeper in debt than I’d like to be.
Like most Americans, I’d been using my credit card for travel, unexpected needs, and going out to eat too much.
Move forward to October, 2013: I bought a house. This is where it gets interesting. My monthly expense increased by about $500 per month. Yet at the same time, I stopped putting about $200 a month on credit cards. How was this possible? I’ll explain:
Got Debt? Simply Cut Up Credit Cards
I just heard a multitude of gasps. It’s true. The only way to learn to get out of debt is to stop using credit cards. You have to stop creating debt. I’ve cut up all but a couple of emergency cards. I haven’t had to use a credit card in nearly a year.
Here’s what I’ve done: I’ve cut up credit cards and stopped making debt. You can do this, too. Here’s how:
- Take on a little overtime: I’m a college teacher. I can make a little extra money by teaching extra classes. I’ve taken on one extra class per quarter. This has given me an edge on my monthly expenses. You could take on a little overtime or get a part-time job to help get yourself out of debt.
- Let Uncle Sam take a little extra: I let the IRS take an extra $40 per payday. This might not sound like much. The last few years my tax returns have been over 5K. That money pays off debt, pays for home repairs, and pays for our summer travel. This is easy to do. Just ask the HR person at your office about it.
- Cut back on eating out: I’ve gone from eating out a few times a week to a couple times a month. I stock my kitchen with simple, but nutritious food. Check out my 14 Simple Foods post. This is better for my budget. It’s better for my daughter, Annie. It’s just better. Do you eat out too much? Cut back. If you have to, stop carrying a credit card. If you can’t help yourself, just cut up credit cards.
- Reduce monthly payments: I gave up cable a long time ago. I limit my cell phone plan. I narrowed down my daughter’s paid activities to two: piano and karate. I traded in my car and bought one that reduced my monthly payment by 25%. If you really want to, you can find ways to reduce monthly expense. Start brainstorming today.
- Buy less stuff: I stopped buying things that I don’t need. It’s that simple. Consider your purchases. Ask yourself if you really need what you’re about to buy. I have enough shoes to last a few years. I have enough CDs in my collection. I have enough clothes in my closet. I really have more than I need. If you’re like most Americans, so do you
- Drive less: I stopped taking short, unnecessary trips. I walk and bike more. Read my post, Daily Walk. I cut my gas consumption in half. I get to spend more time in my new home with my daughter. It’s a win/win. How could you cut back on driving?
Have You Cut Up Your Credit Cards?
Not only have I cut up credit cards, but I’m working hard on the side. I’m creating a residual income for retirement. That’s one reason I write and blog. I want to create extra income to add to my retirement fund. Of course, I love writing and blogging, too.
I’m learning. I want to help you. I want to teach you the simple life lessons that I’ve learned. I want to help you live a happier and more fulfilling life.