Credit Card

Cash is NOT always the King!


#1 Know your true needs vs wants and spend only on those essentials which you can not defer for a long time. A.k.a know your budget.

#2 Know your credit limit and stick within it. Ideally, way below it. Note down your bill payment due dates and mark them in your calendar and/or reminder system.

#3 As soon as you spend money using a credit card, mark it in your journal or book. Tally it every couple of weeks, preferably twice a month and pay off the full amount you owe to the credit card company every single month without fail.

So, back to the story again.

I owe my current sanity and happiness to personal finance experts and writers who literally changed the trajectory of my life. Now, when it comes to saving money and investing more, you will ask me- why would you care to waste time on credit cards and their complexity?

I hear ya. They are one of the biggest reasons many of us are striving to make ends meet. If not that, their fine printed policies and rules make even the financially savvy people cringe. But they are also one the smartest way you can build a nice saving goal by smartly utilizing the credit they offer. In fact, it is so important that it made a special entry in my Article- 52 cool ways we kick the debt every single year!

Before I go any further, I want to admit that I personally did not own and use a credit card well until my late 20s. Growing up in a developing country, credit is something people always stay away from. People are simple, their needs are simple, there is no mad rush to own and hoard the stuff like I see these days almost everywhere. There are shows dedicated to hoarders. We are living in interesting times indeed. But I digress. Any-who, now you will ask me- what I am so passionate about using credit cards?

A little background

I got my first credit card working for a company for corporate expenses almost a decade ago. I rarely used it during those years because of my cash/ debit card habit, except for business travels and stays overseas. At that time, the cashback rewards and airline rewards were just in their infancy. I was so worried about using the credit that as soon as I would return from my travels, I would pay back the whole balances at once, well before the credit card due date. I did not know about the credit score thing then.

Back then, we did not have a complex system of credit score management for an individual consumer in my country. Credit used to be determines based on the character of the consumer. E.g. if a lender did not like something about the individual consumer, the credit was denied. Agree, it was not a just and objective method of getting any loan, but that is how it was. But guess what, there were lessor defaulters also. People would save up for life’s necessities, build their modest homes with sheer hard work, patience, and determination to stick within their small budgets. No one would sweat the fluctuating market economy or the job changes like we do now. Houses were paid up for in full, education was paid off in full with cash, medical expenses were down, food was awesome and wholesome. Good old golden days. I wish they never implemented it there. But it is not possible to get effects of globalization- both good and bad

So, when I moved overseas for the long term, I had a hard time understanding the credit system. More than how it worked, I struggled to understand why it exists? I battled with getting a credit card myself but my husband insisted on getting a family add-on credit card just in case I need one when I am out and about. I used that card barely in the first year. But when I saw the amount of reward balance in our February statement the next year, I was happily surprised. If you are anything like me, you know how the girl feels for the reward!!

Then I started studying the best ways to get maximum benefits from the credit cards and credit score system. It was indeed a very late revelation in my life. But no regrets! Time was just right for me to wholeheartedly accept this new way of living.

I do like to say that I am not loyal to this system either. It is totally conditional upon the rewards they offer. If the in the future, the credit score systems change or the reward system disappear for god knows what reason or the worse- I fall into the trap of greedy consumerism, retail therapy and abuse the opportunity ( we all know how retail therapy soothes female hormones), I will cut the cord with credit cards. I will go back to my old ways of cash-only purchases.

The credit cards may not work for everyone and cash is the best option for many of us. If you have your ways set and they work for you, I give you a big Hi Fife!!

But for others, Credit is a godsend.

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  1. I am with you on this. I am a credit card user. It not only protects my purchases (versus debit cards) better it earns me a lot of rewards. This means I have to be very disciplined and organized with my spending which thankfully I am.

    1. You are right. Discipline and organization both are essential to make the credit work for you. Thank you for sharing that it works for you.

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