Last piece of plastic gone bye bye

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2003
Last piece of plastic gone bye bye
5
Sun, 05-25-2003 - 6:16pm
Well... thought I'd share this moment with you all... I have scissors ready and my last piece of plastic is about to become history.

It's my Sears card. I've had this thing since...well lets see, it says right on it "valued customer since 1987". Guffaw, 28.8% interest, no wonder I'm valued!

Actually I thought I had already cut this up and cancelled the account, but I found it tucked away with some old budgeting notes I had. (I hauled out my old budget printouts from a year ago to rework some numbers to see when I'd be debt free, and lo and behold there was my card and a $15 Sears club certificate, guess I wanted that $15!)

So I went on a hunt at Sears yesterday to use the certificate, looking for something that would only cost $15. Ha! yah right! Finally found some $3.99 packages of glass bauble jewel thingies (like you put in vases), so got 3 of those for a DIY mirror project I have in mind, and two 0.99 candles. With tax it came to $16.04.

So here we go. I'm snipping it. It's gone. Little eensy weensy pieces.

Now I'll go pay them $1.04 online and then phone them and close the account.

Anyone care to have a card snipping contest??? Let's make it a challenge, cuz we don't need all this plastic, they just want us to think we need it! (I'm thinking of our huge line of credit that was pushed on us when we got a mortgage, 'just in case we have an emergency in our new home'... sigh... but that's a whole other rant).

((hugs))

Lorraine

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-26-1999
Sun, 05-25-2003 - 8:21pm
Congrats! I had a sears card...twice, I think. I used to say "sure" when the checkout girl asked if I wanted to open a department store card and use it for that day's purchase, and get either $10 off the purchase, or my favorite, 10% off the purchase. I think I opened a Sears card twice, an Eatons card once, and a Bay card once. I got those deals on all of them. The 10% off first purchase saved me a lot of money on stuff that I actually NEEDED, and I never paid a single penny of interest on any of them. I'm down to two mastercards and one visa, and I think I may cancel the visa after I juggle what's left on the other card around.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2003
Mon, 05-26-2003 - 11:34pm
Lorraine, you are very inspiring!! You go girl! I have to admit I am not at the point of cutting up all my cards yet. I still *need* the security that I feel I have with them but I am working on it! I have all the cards paid off (except with current purchases on one card that my dh uses for work expenses). I will be cutting up some of the cards this week. We have some cards we haven't used in a couple of years and I just have not taken the time to cancel them and your post has got me thinking about it again.

Congrats on all your hard work.

Sandra

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2003
Tue, 05-27-2003 - 10:54am
I used to feel that I *needed* credit cards too, I was terrified when I chopped and cancelled the first one over a year ago. It was my beloved Mastercard with a $12,000 balance.... "What if there's an emergency, what if the kids need something, what if what if what if". I remember oh so well feeling like "oh god, here it goes" sure that I was doomed to suffer major catastrophes now that I had chopped it.

Well... if there *was* an emergency, what good would maxed out credit cards do for me anyway? Any large transaction would surely be declined (I would hope).

We talked about it alot and decided we were doing ourselves a big injustice by essentially not having the faith in ourselves that we could anticipate our family's needs, and budget and plan our finances and take care of what needed taking care of, with our own resources.

Besides credit cards, Hubby bought into a mortgage lady's spiel of *needing* a huge line of credit when we bought our house too... "what if you have a big house emergency". Well, unless a new dishwasher, sofa/chair set, outdoor swing set, paint, home improvement stuff, etc etc are an emergency, the emergency didn't happen. All in all $17,500 worth of non-emergencies happened on that LofC. Besides, if we encountered a real massive house emergency I'm hoping it would be covered by insurance.

So we set up Mary Hunt style freedom funds instead. There's always at least $500 to $1000 sitting in our savings account, the balance goes up and down, it's earmarked for other things like property tax, insurance, etc... but if a "true" emergency did come up, that cash would have to do for now. We also keep $20 in our wallets if we ever need an "emergency" cab (since we dont' have a car) and we keep a blank cheque in our wallets too for an 'emergency'. To ease my worries about the kids "needing" something, the first freedom fund I ever set up a was for prescription deductibles, dental deductibles, and over the counter medicines. Anything else for them would not be a "need" I don't think. The only other expenses for them that we've come across were clothes (planned for purchases), food (ditto), birthdays & christmas (freedom fund) and $25 kindgergarten supplies fee that we had 3 months advance notice on.

Starting in June I'm starting freedom funds for other huge expenses that might ever come up... I'm starting a $1500/year house maintenance fund and I'm building up a $1000 house insurance deductible fund over the next five years. I'm hoping that would take care of any real emergencies. We desperately need new windows here, they're 42 years old, and the eaves need painting as the paint is peeling. The windows will have to wait until the maintenance fund is funded enough to cover them, and the provincial government is refunding taxpayers $155 in July. That will just about cover vinyl soffets if we put them in ourselves. If we were living on credit at the moment I would have just added those $3000 *needs* to my debtload! :-)

It's hard to get out of that mindset of needing credit cards. We do have one joint card left with a very small limit that we use for reserving car rentals. I kept it frozen (in freezer) for the longest time, then in the fireproof safe, now i have it on my desk because I need to reserve car rentals for this summer. It'll go back in the box when I'm done, we'll probably haul it out to take with us on vacation though in case of an emergency (our savings account requires a one day advance notice on withdrawals). So I do think one credit card with a small available limit is helpful, if you *need* it, really need it (as in hotel or car rentals). I like trying to anticipate the the real emergencies and building up a fund for them better though!

I really hate credit cards (and banks) now :) Can you tell!?!?! It makes me mad that we bought into the bank's sales pitches about needing credit for emergencies. IMO people are really belittling themselves and their abilities to take care of their lives and their families when they agree that that's true. Our grandparents did just fine, better than us in fact, at taking care of their finances years ago before cc's were invented!

Lorraine

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 12:05am
Lorraine,

I agree with everything you said. Well put!

I am just starting to read Mary Hunt's book (almost half way through) and I am planning on a Freedom Account as well. Dh just got some extra work so I am waiting to see how much we will actually have to work with and than I am reworking the budget. I am hoping that after a couple of months with the additional income we will be completely rid of our cards except for one card for when we really *need* it.

I haven't used the card except for van repairs and I was able to pay it off immediately with money in our savings. But I think dh likes to use it. Now he doesn't go and spend money we don't have but he uses it for work expenses and buying gas for his vehicle and although I do budget for his gas it seems I am always surprised when I open the bill so I am trying to wean dh little by little LOL

Sandra

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 7:15am
Sandra,

We used to have an Irving card for gas (an oil company around here). That was probably the most responsibly used card we ever had. That was one thing I never worried about charging, although it was hard to pay off when we weren't budgeting... but when we started budgeting I just budgeted an approximate biweekly amount for it and sent in payments online even before the bills came due, I do that for my electrical bill too, we're billed bimonthly on that. I end up paying only a couple bucks or maybe I'm a couple bucks overpaid when the bill comes, works well for us.

Good luck with your planning! I can't wait to see how it works out for you, I"m so thrilled with it all, it really has changed us from drowning to being totally on top of things, it's a very nice feeling not worrying about bills any more.

My main thing lately is the fact that it's going to take 6 years to pay off our debt. 6 years 5 mos to be precise with the plan we have now. That's really bothering me, giving up 6 years of our future life to pay for past stupidity. My kids would be 11 and 9, half grown up, by the time we pay it.

So I'm trying to find ways of increasing income now that I've decreased all the expenses that we can. I would love to go back to work full time (just for the paycheque) but DS is only 3 and I just can't do it yet, after they're both in school maybe. Seriously contemplating doing lunch and after school childcare once DD4 starts school this Sept. We could cut our payoff time by 3 years & $7000 interest if I took in 4 kids. That would get me debt free by 40 too, it's bothering me that I'd be going into my 40's with a ton of debt, I have it in my head that I should be starting to beef up retirement stuff in my 40's, not dealing with debt! Anyhow, we'll see, gotta have faith, it's worked out thus far.

Keep in touch! I can be emailed through here if you have any questions.

Lorraine