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19 Sep 2013

Could you cut up your credit cards?

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by Jesse Mecham

Yesterday Chance (YNAB COO) and I were sitting in the office discussing the gravity of yesterday’s post, and addiction in general. It got us on the subject of my old post on debt addiction, and how I manifest something like 11 of the 15 signs of being addicted to borrowing.

The topic of credit cards came up, and Chance mentioned that he and his wife don’t use them at all, which I found interesting. Ironically, Chance and his wife are the type of people (as many of you are) who could use credit cards as nothing but a tool of convenience and security, without substantial risk of getting into debt.

I, on the other hand, have a history of running expensive credit card balances. Yes, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve had any personal balances on credit cards. But history proves my habit and my risk of future indebtedness.

The question, then, is why do I keep them? Yes, credit cards have benefits like convenience, more secure online purchasing, miles/points/cash back. But, for someone like me, do those benefits outweigh the risk?

*To be clear, I’m not anti-credit card. They’re just financial tools that can be used to a person’s benefit or detriment.

I can’t answer that today, but here’s what I find really interesting: when I think about cutting up and closing the cards I have a strong emotional/physical reaction. It freaks me out to think about being without credit cards. I shudder at the idea of having balances again, but I also hate the idea of not having access to them. And I just think that’s interesting.

Am I the only one who gets a pit in my stomach when I think about life without access to credit cards? What does it say about me?

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Remember, budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. You can do this! Today. Right now. What do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress. (Ok, so kind of a lot.)

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