Credit Only Gives the Illusion of Security

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Credit Only Gives the Illusion of Security

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Recently, I read a comment here in the community by a fellow customer that said she missed the "wiggle room" that credit cards gave her.  I know that this person is dedicated to getting out of debt and really wants nothing to do with credit cards.  What she means is that she misses the feeling of security that the lines of credit provided to handle any situation that life may throw at her.

That's a familiar feeling to me.

For 13 years my wife and I lived without worrying much about money.  When our funds ran out, we knew we had credit cards to fall back on.  If we had an unexpected expense, credit cards were there to bail us out.  It seemed we had unlimited "wiggle room."  We could do anything, anytime we wanted, including a vacation to Hawaii completely paid for by credit cards.  If we happened to max out a credit card, we just applied for a new one.

Until no one would approve us for a new line of credit.

The "wiggle room" was gone, and we knew we had to make significant changes to our lifestyle.  The first step was to enroll in the Debt Management Plan (DMP).  Then, for the first time in our lives, we had to learn how to live within our means.  When we sat down and really figured out how much real money we had left over after paying all our bills, we were horrified.

It was humbling to see what we actually had, compared to what we had been spending. For all those years, credit cards gave us the false sense of security that as long as we had available credit, we would be okay financially. 

That sense of security was simply an illusion.

Our dependence on credit made it feel like saving money wasn't necessary.  What we were really doing by depending upon credit was being lazy and sacrificing our long-term financial security.  When we enrolled in the DMP, those lines of credit were closed, and access to credit was removed from our daily life.  It forced us to learn that wiggle room and financial security aren't defined by your available credit; they are defined by the balance of your savings account.

With the lifestyle changes we have made, and some increases to our income, we are finally in a position where we can start putting money into our savings account.  We are finally building real "wiggle room" and security to handle those curve balls that may come our way, or to even occasionally treat ourselves to something special.

That's a great feeling!

Related Links:

Have I Learned My Lesson with Credit Cards?

The Budget; Let's Keep it Real

Can't Cut Anymore!


Travis Pizel, Debt Management Plan customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt and A Straight Talk on Debt blogs. He is also a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family in Minnesota. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

Follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles

To connect with Travis on Google+ click the Travis Pizel

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  • Just think of the wiggle room you'll have every month when the DMP is finished! Keep up the good fight, Travis!

  • It is an illusion... and I miss it! This is the right thing though because having that security for real will be way better! My mom STILL complains that we did this. She just CANNOT get her mind around shutting down the cards. She keeps asking what we are going to do in an emergency and I keep asking her what we would do with the $10 to $20 dollars of room that we had on any card at any given time. We would work so hard for months paying as much as we could and end up with one card with $75 worth of room and then something would come up and poof! Back to square 1! Now we are actually making progress. We have made more progress in the 6 months on our DMP than we did in the 3 years we scraped by. In fact, our debt got much worse during those 3 years. Maybe there is something to that... If you have lots of credit cards there is not much to keep you from getting more of them. Maybe that helps with the idea of security. Hmmmmm..... I smell a blog post..... I will have to do some thinking! Great Post :)

  • (LOL We gave up Square 1 for CareOne - Oh I am funny!)

  • So very true, Mike - I literally DREAM about it.  LOL.  Thanks for your encouragement!

  • Thanks for sharing, Kimberly - I wonder if your Mom will feel differently once you reach the point where you can handle those "little bumps" successfully with cash on hand, and not rely on credit.   It's ironic that the end of your comment has you thinking about a future blog post....not sure if you remember or not but you were the one who left the comment that inspired this post.  :)

    "We gave up Square 1 for CareOne"  -> You make me laugh, it!

  • I thought it sounded a little familiar! Glad to give an idea smile :)

  • idea and a smile :)

  • Credit cards and their false sense of financial security is now very scary to me!!  The "wiggle room" we once had with credit actually got most of us in trouble.  "Wiggle room" hmph!  

    Hey Kimmer5000 nice inspiration on the post!!  Of course Travis another great post!!  Isn't it nice to actually have some real wiggle room?  I love it!!

  • I feel ya, Monica - once your eyes are opened it's crazy scary that we once actually felt secure because we had credit to bail us out.  Yeeeeash.  Real wiggle room RULES, credit DROOLS.  Hahaha, thanks for the continued support my friend!

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