First Person: We’ve Been Credit Card Debt Free for 8 Years

Yahoo Contributor Network

When I first married my husband, he was fairly loose when it came to using the plastic. But he quickly became accustomed to my habit of paying off our credit card balances every month.

For the past 8 years of our marriage, we have never had a revolving credit card balance. I'm sure the credit card companies hate people like us who pay off our balances every billing cycle because they aren't making any money off of us. But they are making money off of those who are struggling.

According to an article by CNNMoney, 40 percent of people in the ranks of the low and middle class use their credit cards to pay for necessities such as rent or mortgage, food and utilities.

Making ends meet

I understand many people rely on credit cards to make ends meet. I hate it when experts say people are "abusing their credit cards" by paying for necessities. In most cases, credit card companies abuse people by charging high interest rates, late fees and annual or membership fees.

Rather than rely on credit cards to make ends meet, we rely on one another. If we are short on money, my husband and I take turns working overtime. I find creative ways to earn extra cash such as secret shopping and doing paid focus groups.

Paying the bill before it arrives

Instead of waiting to receive credit card bills in the mail, I make a payment to the credit card company on the same day the purchase was made. I use our online banking to shoot a payment over to the credit card company after totaling up any receipts for the day. By doing this, I've never had a $500 credit card bill catch me off guard. Our credit card bills are anywhere from zero to $50 since I don't always catch every small charge throughout the month.

Ignoring the credit card gimmicks

Our first year of marriage, my husband wanted to pay for a flat-screen television using a department store credit card that offered zero payments for a year. Even though it was interest free as long as you paid it off within a year, I hated the deal. It was too much pressure to worry about whether we'd remember to make the payments on time or suffer having to pay a penalty or accumulated interest charges. I paid off the card in just three months because I didn't want any credit card debt, period. Now my husband realizes it's easier to save money before making a major purchase. I receive at least three credit card offers in the mail every week which go in through the shredder.

We will have a car loan for another three years and a mortgage loan that will keep us busy for 8 more years. The fact that we don't have to pay interest on credit cards means we have extra money every month that we can save for retirement. I also don't have to be frugal to stay out of consumer debt. I just pay my credit card balance daily so it doesn't get out of control. I never want to have to pay an interest charge for buying a gallon of milk or gasoline.

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