Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Credit Card Post

After 11 months of waiting, and musing, and failure...this post, that has been in the "Drafts" since October 2012, still applies.  Enjoy.

So we've tried and tried and tried to be SUPER great about using our credit card as our "debit card." It earns free cash back, which might seem really amazing (because in some ways it is).  But with that in mind we have this attitude of "making money by spending it."  That can be just so dangerous.

Mostly we live simple because we enjoy simple.  Clutter-free, worry-free lives are wonderful and we know Christ lived simply.

We know money won't make us happier (maybe a little less stressed at times, because finding affordable healthcare on one income is sort of like finding a needle in a haystack, but not happier).

So we try to be frugal in order to better embrace a simple life.  Try.  I know, I know that Yoda says "Do or do not.  There is no try."  So maybe we just jump back and back between "do" and "do not."  Whatever.  I think the effort is valuable! But, yes, at some point, just do!

Are we really, truly frugal?  Nah.  Do we want to be?  In most aspects, yes.  (I mean, I DO wash ziploc bags.)  

My grandfather is an amazingly happy frugal person.  If you are looking for frugal tips, that isn't in this post but my grandfather would be a great person to interview!   

So where do credit card and frugal meet?

Here, in this sentence:

We thought using a cash-back credit card as our debit card could be really frugal, and if you have the self control of a mule at a cliff, then I'm sure you could make this frugal.  Earning cash while following our budget seemed like a guaranteed gold mine! Except, we aren't mules, truthfully we're more of the run amuck and fly off of the cliff type.  Which means that once the hurricane hit, we pulled out of savings, went a bit awry with our convenient, and kindly giving us a mere amount cash-back, credit card, did a cash beach trip that at the end required additional funding and...  Bleah! Needless to say, our savings is down and out on itself, as are we, just a bit.  (Are all my posts negative lately? Sorry. It seems like me and Tyler are having some now-we-aren't-newlweds-and-we-have-two-babies growing pains.  But there is SO MUCH growth happening.  We both feel it.)

So for November (and the remainder of October) we will have most spending done with cash. I'm just not the record keeper this family needs when we use credit or debit and cash drastically reduces record keeping.  Cash is for those categories that aren't directly withdrawn or automatically paid from our account.
There are two main exceptions: online purchases (which I'm trying to cut down on as the purchase doesn't profit our local community) and vehicle fuel (because taking two babies out of car seats to get $25 worth of gas is far from what this momma needs to be doing for her sanity) will be put on our debit card.
I love budgeting and we have great intentions but the reality is by the middle of the month our budget is often too unorganized for me to figure out what the heck is going on.

So, cash, here we come.

Nightly (is that a word?! Is now! :) ) budget review. Check!
Daily entering transactions into budget program. Check!
An amended heart, seeking simple, frugal, joyful, Gospel living is reaching out to budget again, knowing that practice makes perfect. Check!
2013 Update: Apparently I am utterly utterly human, because this amended still failing and still amending.  We are trying yet again.  Every month is a bit of a battle, but as time passes our fervor is united and a bit more ignited.  :) ...And I'm TOTALLY understanding why Dave Ramsey says to cut the credit cards up.  I get my past 11 months of trial and error!

Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen often said that we should "fast now, feast later" and my prayer is that we can adopt this mentality in all areas of life, especially finance. 
Please, please pray for us to be faithful to our goal of debt-free!


  1. A prayer for all of us!!! We've been working on it as well and are improving. However, still room for improvement!! I likened it to a freight train that doesn't stop quickly. First, it has to slow down. Then it has to stop. After it sits a bit it can then reverse. Not a quick process, much like retraining our budget and spending brains. I 'think' we are FINALLY backing up....just keep plugging along!! One day at a time :-)

    1. That's an awesome analogy Tracy!!! I would say we have pulled the brake, and are slowing down, but me oh my yes that is a slowwwwwww process. :)

  2. I do like that train analogy! And, keep on! You are not just changing your habits but going completely counter cultural. You can do this!

    1. Thanks Becky!!! We are really excited. This month of October is going to be tight financially, paying off a feww things so they acquire no interest, but after this month we will be tackling the lingering car note. As my mom (and her mom) would say, we just "gotta keep on keepin'-on!"


So glad to hear from you! All conversation is welcomed, within good reason and kind intentions.