Why Living Without Credit is Not a Sacrifice but a Lifestyle

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Why Living Without Credit is Not a Sacrifice but a Lifestyle

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Giving up credit cards cold-turkey can be intimidating for those who supplement their income with credit to help make ends meet or as a safety net when an unexpected expense arises.  

Living without credit is not about sacrifice; it's about prioritizing. What is it that you really want? Who hasn't gotten to the end of the month, checked their bank account and wondered, "Where did all my money go? I have no money and nothing to show for it." You must be connected and engaged in your finances, so you are able to make smart spending decisions.  

Regaining financial stability without relying on credit takes time. Many of us may have to make temporary adjustments in our lifestyle to ease our dependence on credit cards. These may include; taking a second job, giving up cable or a mobile phone service, or cutting out restaurant dining.  In doing so, you can adopt a lifestyle that puts you on the right track to achieving your goals; paying off your debt or buying a car paid-in-full. You aren't sacrificing; you are living a lifestyle to help you attain the goals you want to achieve.   

As your finances improve, you will start to recognize those things that are really important to you such as having a healthy savings account or being able to buy holiday gifts without putting them on your credit card.  

Start by writing down your goals.  

  • Short-term goals.  These are goals you'll plan and accomplish within one month to a year.  Goals may include birthday gifts, holiday gifts, taking a family vacation, paying off a credit card, or buying a new TV. 
  • Mid-term goals. These are goals you'll plan to accomplish within one to five years.  Goals may include paying off all your credit cards, purchasing a new car, remodeling your kitchen, or saving for orthodontic work.
  • Long-term goals.  These are goals you'll plan that will take five years or longer to accomplish.  Goals may include buying a new house, saving for a child's education, or saving for retirement. 

Then write down everything you spend for one month.  Consider how your spending reflects these goals. What types of items are you charging? What changes can you make that will enable you to stop using credit cards? 

As you achieve your goals, put a check mark by them on your list so that you can see your progress.  Celebrate in small ways that fit your budget. Remember that your finances will always change.  There will be good times and challenges along the way.  Adopting a lifestyle where you are living within your means will keep you focused on your goals and will enable you to meet those challenges as they arise. 

How are you reducing your reliance on credit cards?  Tell me in the Comments. 

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  • "How are you reducing your reliance on credit cards?"

    I've stopped buying books.  Well, mostly stopped buying books.  Sometimes I still buy books.  Just the other day I bought Harold Bloom's How to Read and Why.  I bought it with cash though.  Cash damp with palm sweat.  I had a dark rings under my eyes, my neck was itching, felt like everyone in B&N was staring at me.  It was terrible.  Hadn't been in a book store in a couple weeks.  It's a tough world for a recovering addict.

    Still, I made it out with just one book.  Used to drop a hundred bucks at a go.

    Little things like libraries have made the largest difference in my spending habits, and related credit dependency.  

    My credit problem had a lot to with little silly stuff.  

    Now, I carry a thermos in the mornings and skip my 7Eleven stop; my weekly book fix is met at the university library; I keep a packet of taco seasoning at hand so I can curb any sudden Taco Cabana cravings.

    Eventually, I started stashing fifty percent of the money I was saving into a savings account, and now I have a decent little emergency fund set aside.  

    Changing my little, silly spending habits opened the door to having a responsible option for dealing with major financial emergencies, and that practically wiped away all my reliance on credit cards.

    But, in the interest of honesty, I still have an open credit line with a mechanic in case my car has a serious malfunction.  I guess having a car that's not always on the verge of having a serious malfunction is one of my five year goals.  :)

  • Love your comments JasonOBrien!  Like you, my credit problem also had a lot to do with the silly stuff. Thank you so much for your tips and insight.

  • I think such a statement is a little out of touch with the mind set of someone who is truly going through a tough time financially and trying to make ends meet.

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