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« Help a Reader: Refinancing Home using Credit Card Balance Transfers | Main | Stop Making Excuses -- You CAN Save and Invest »

March 06, 2012

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When credit cards are used wisely to benefit the user rather than benefit the card company they are absolutely great.

With credit cards I have almost eliminated the need to carry cash around. I use credit cards in combination with Bill Pay and have also practically eliminated the need to buy postage stamps and the need to write checks. So far this year I have written two checks and one of those I realized later I could have used web pay from the organization's website. The other check was to my hairdresser who doesn't accept cards.

I have also received a substantial amount of cash back from card companies and have not paid 1c in interest.

Hurrah! for credit cards companies.

I recommend credit cards to those who assess themselves as high fiscal disciplinarians.

Dave Ramsey targets his advice to benefit persons of lower will power. Many of us self-admitteds need Ramsey's personalized message to get us through these financial hurdles. Forgoing credit cards and debt snowball strategies are really good in that sense.

Yes it depends on the person. If you have the willpower to use a credit card responsibly, it can earn you some money and make your life easier. If you can't control your spending, credit cards can lead to huge debt. Personally I think that even people with low willpower need to eventually embrace the power of credit cards and respect their dangers. If you blame your credit card, you just aren't taking responsibility for your own actions.

I am in the Dave camp.

I see no benefit in CC. I don't have any, nor did I have a "bad" experience with them in the past.

They just never made sense to me. Then or now. To me they are little plastic loans. And I don't like loans.

I preach about rewards credit cards daily! I love mine. Anyone who is fiscally responsible is missing out on a lot of cash if you aren't using them. I don't spend a lot every month, but I still save around $20-25 every month. That's not bad for just spending as usual.

Plastic is certainly convenient.
But even among the financially disciplined, I recommend a periodic cash-only diet.

Shoppers using plastic for purchases (credit or debit) spend more on average than those who have to fork over cash. Those little bits add up and periodically testing your habits and auto-pilot purchases is worthwhile.

Over the last four years I have received cash back from credit cards totalling over $3,000. It doesn't bother me a bit that the CC companies charge merchants a significant percentage on top of their CC sales. That's just the way the system works. Another way of looking at it is that the travel companies, merchants and restaurants are giving me back anywhere from 1.5% to 3% on my purchases.

As for the comment about "plastic loans", I'll take an "interest free" plastic loan any time someone offers it to me. I just schedule my Bill Pay entries to card companies for payment the day before they are due, that way I get up to a 30 day float on my money so that it can stay earning interest as long as possible.

My wife and I are both strong disciplinarians where spending money is concerned. We made another exciting find just this last weekend - we found a very nice restaurant where they allow you to bring your own bottle of wine for a corkage charge of $0. We refuse to pay the outrageous markups that many restaurants have on wines.

When the boy and I were looking at buying a house in late 2011, we found out that we couldn't borrow what we wanted to because the boy had never had a credit card. They are a powerful tool, we just have to use them for good rather than evil!

As someone with very little income, credit cards are a total boon to me. I put every bill that I possibly can on the credit card (while holding back the same amount of cash in my checking account), and then, pay off the credit card in full each month.

Doing so, I earn 1% cash back on the credit card. Every little bit of extra income helps.

Plastics are convenient for us, we just need to discipline ourselves in using them. There are advantages and disadvantages upon using them. I also recommend them for everyone, Great post.

I love Dave Ramsey. I agree with most of what he says and his advice has made me look at money differently. That said, I still use credit cards. I pay them off completely every month. I don't disagree that the convenience of CCs make it easier to spend and therefore I spend more. I still pay them off. Rewards cards can save you money.

I know you can function with a debit card, but it is a pain to rent a car, rent a hotel room and get gas with a debit card. The security/fraud protection is another benefit of a CC.

Dave says if you play with snakes you will be bit. He is right. I have been bit a couple of times, but I still like snakes.

Blaming a credit card for making you overspend is like blaming fast food places for making you fat. It's all in the mentality. If you see a credit card as extra money for you to spend, then yeah you will get in trouble pretty quickly.

I love rewards cards, but I make sure that for every dollar I spend on my card I have a corresponding dollar in my checking account. A credit card combined with a well-planned budget is the way to go.

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