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Personal Debt Wrangler – Had my money head in the sand – but no more!

Credit or Cash? Pick Your Poison


credit-or-cashI’ve been thinking about how I spend and pay for my purchases recently.  Ignoring out past financial history, today, I don’t have a problem with credit cards.  We pay ours off monthly and can always be sure this will happen because:

  1. We budget and track our spending
  2. We set up the payment for the due date as soon as the bill is sent electronically
  3. We monitor our cash flow, so I ensure I will have the funds in our account when the payment is made.  I will not go into overdraft, nor will I go below my $2K threshold I must maintain to avoid $9.95 of bank fees.
  4. If, for some reason, our spending is more than usual due to an unplanned emergency spend (examples: broken appliance (we always fix first if possible), car repair), I will transfer money from our Emergency fund/Property Tax account which is sitting at $9K currently with plans to grow to $15K.

I like to use our credit cards due to the cash back we carry on both cards.  One is Visa and one is AMEX (for Costco, though this is now changing and we will have to pick a new Costco card by the end of the year – either Mastercard or Personal Capital).  Currently I have cash rewards accrued on our Visa that will be paid in November as follows:

4.00% cash back – gas & groceries $170.26
2.00% cash back – recurring bills & pharmacy $60.79
1.00% cash back – everything else $161.34
Total cash back reward earned to date $392.39

This is based on stuff I need! I’m getting more than $400 because I lived my life!  Granted, the card carries an annual fee of $99 + $30 for a second card, but we are still ahead more than $265 right now and probably $300 by November.

Some PF reads lately have acknowledged that credit cards have been a problem for them in the past, they’ve tried them again, and still they remain a problem so they have sworn off them.   Travis @ Enemy of Debt says Credit Cards Are Officially NOT For Me and I totally respect that.  If you’re struggling with what to do in this regard, I really recommend you read his views. There’s no right or wrong answer, but there’s a right or wrong answer for you.  [Tweet “There’s no right or wrong answer, but there’s a right or wrong answer for you. #creditcards “]


Brian @ Debt Discipline has just paid off his 109K of debt and blames their families credit card usage for putting them in that position.  Well it actually is due to overspending, but in truth, I agree with Brian.  If credit was not so easy to obtain, families wouldn’t find themselves leveraging the convenience for ‘stuff’ they deem as important or necessary.  They want to get some savings behind them for a few months before they decide if they will try to use credit cards again.  In his words “A credit card is a tool for a consumer, just like a hammer is for a carpenter, when used wisely can be very effective, when used unwisely can cause major damage.”

I was reading on Myles Money the warnings about credit cards to teenagers and students in his post Credit Virgins.  It’s definitely a slippery slope and fair warning needs to be given to those that haven’t been taught to pay them off monthly.  This is something I learned from my parents, never to carry a balance.  I was actually surprised to learn that some people thought it was the only way to build up a credit rating, to keep a balance on your credit card.  There’s a lot of misinformation out there.

So while I know the dos and don’ts of responsible credit use, it’s really spending that I have always had the problem with.  So I’ve been thinking about if using cash would  help me to spend less rather than using credit?  For me, I don’t think it makes any difference.

I realize that credit or cash (or debit)  has no bearing on how much I spend.   Having cash in my hand or wallet and handing it over, does not make me think twice about buying something anymore than handing my credit card over.  It’s like cash is just paper and it has no more relevance to me than that piece of plastic. They are both important, but one is not more important than the other.  I would reluctantly hand either over if I didn’t think what I was buying was (a) necessary (b) reasonably priced (c) in line with our spending goals.    So this reinforces my strategy to use credit wisely.  Then, I can use the once a year* cash back to pay for more of what is necessary, reasonably priced and in line with our spending goals.

What side of the coin are you on – credit or cash/debit?  If you use credit card rewards, what is your preference for type or rewards?  Does paying with cash or debit help you to spend less than with credit?

*Note:  Some cash back cards pay out more frequently.

Part of Friday Jet Fuel #13 and



Author: debster

I am a fifty-something wife, mother and new grandmother, who admits to having their “head in the sand” about their financial situation until amassing $247,500 worth of consumer debt for a total debt of $393,500. We've paid $121K in 2 years with four more years to go. Join my journey at sharing ideas and motivation to all those coping with poor money management and bad debt decisions.

109 thoughts on “Credit or Cash? Pick Your Poison

  1. I’m definitely a credit card person. Airline miles all the way! There was a 2 year period of time I spent nada on travel despite probably 6 or so cross-continental flights a year. Those were the days…
    Taylor Lee recently posted…How I Buy Cheap, High-Quality Clothes (Plus 25%+$10 Off Like Twice)My Profile

  2. I’d go for cash! Cash helps me be to be frugal and monitor my expenses. It most importantly stays me away from having debt. :D Again, CASH all the way!
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…What’s more important – A pay rise or job security?My Profile

    • For us right now, this is in line with our goals to become debt free, so I understand where you are coming from Jayson. Travel rewards won’t do us a lot of good presently, because we don’t travel hardly at all while slaying debt big time. However, I can see this changing once we are debt free.

  3. I think the important part to know is what works for you as an individual. I’m not sure I trust myself after the mess we created with credit cards, so we primarily go cash, but lots of people do really well with them and end up making cash on rewards like you do. If you can handle it, I say go for it.
    Laurie @wellkeptwallet recently posted…How One Couple Paid off over $100k in Debt in Less Than Five YearsMy Profile

    • Exactly! It depends on the individual. In fact, if I would probably say that I am better with credit cards than hubster but since I’m minding the spend now, we’re good. Thanks for weighing in, Laurie! xo

  4. We use cash and debit. Giving our past history with credit cards we are no eager to jump back in anytime soon. Just our personal preference. I just don’t want to have the temptation of the ability to over spend with plastic in my pocket.
    Brian @ Debt Discipline recently posted…Information Gathering ModeMy Profile

  5. I completely agree that overspending is the real problem for those of us with consumer debt, but for some of us, (ahem, I’m looking in the mirror here), it’s also important to recognize the psychology of credit and debt. I’m not a huge DR fan, but I do think he makes a good point when he says that personal finance is 20% head/knowledge, and 80% behavior, for most people. And I think that’s why some people just have to put their foot down and say no to credit cards.
    Amy recently posted…What’s Cooking?My Profile

    • That’s why I say pick your poison. You have to pay for stuff, but what is the best way to pay for it that won’t get you into trouble? Know your limits! … and by that I don’t mean credit card limits (!) ha ha ;-)

  6. I love the concept of rewards cards (and I love reward points, etc), but I’m still mighty cautious of my use of credit cards. So as it stands I’m willing to lose out on my points/cash-back and I go for debit.
    Alicia recently posted…How Much House Can You Buy In Halifax, NS?My Profile

    • Perfectly natural, Alicia. Not gonna try to sell you on either option, just sharing how my brain works on this topic and what works for me (us).

  7. I prefer credit. I actually spend more when I have cash, it’s almost like it’s free money and not accounted for to me because I never have it.
    Michelle recently posted…How Your Credit Score Affects Your Life + Credit Sesame ReviewMy Profile

    • That’s the way I feel about cash too. If we ever get cash in our hands because someone has paid us something they owe us or even bottle refunds, it gets spent and never tracked and I hate that. It’s just so fussy to account for cash so I prefer the credit card route too.

  8. I’m on both sides of the fence. When money is flowing pretty well, I have no problem using credit, and have been able to pay it off every month (this wasn’t always the case though). Now that money is very tight again, I tend to stick with mostly cash. For some reason mentally it just keeps me more focused and spending less.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…BATB TV: Tips to Save MoneyMy Profile

    • Makes sense to do what suits the place you’re in. If they ever change something on the debit policy to earn rewards I would definitely reconsider.

  9. Debit unless I’m making a deal via Craigslist, then I’ll use crispy paper bills. No credit cards. No opposed to them, just don’t use them (yet?).
    Will @firstqfinance recently posted…What It’s like Getting Paid to Travel (Hint: It’s AMAZING!)My Profile

    • I used to use debit a lot. If we weren’t getting the rewards points, I would again. But I would need to have a bank account with no limit on the number of transactions to avoid transaction fees. I think I get 15 free debits or so right now.

  10. I use my debit card as “credit” with almost all of my purchases. Like Will said, Craiglist is an example where I actually use cash. But in both cases, I’m using my money and never ever using a credit card. #NoWayJose #IveNeverHadOne
    Natalie @ Financegirl recently posted…6 Strategies to Help You Say “No”My Profile

    • Do you get any benefits at all for using debit these days? Do you have unlimited debit transactions at your bank?

  11. I have to say, I LOVE using my debit card because it lets me track – and not lie to myself – where my money goes. Recently I’ve been considering switching over to a travel-rewards friendly credit card, as I have a few larger purchases coming up, my budgeting has been pretty consistent, and next year I have at least three trips planned, one of which would be overseas, and I could really use some miles for :)
    In theory, cash is nice, but I find I turn into a bit of hoarder when I try to use a cash-based system, and that’s not healthy since most of my money is spent on needs and not wants. It usually comes back to bite me in the *ahem* a month or two down the road and screws up my cash flow.
    Plus, I have this tendency of misplacing physical money….which can make for some pleasant laundry days, but not so pleasant elsewhere!

    • I always know I have the cash on hand for everything I put on my credit card. As long as you don’t double-dip (know you’ve got the cash so you use credit, but then spend the cash on something else), you should be fine if you decide to use credit to get some travel rewards points which sounds like a good idea to me. It just means you have to track it carefully.

  12. Credit cards do have their benefits! I got my cash-back credit card in college and have kept it since. I was on the phone with them last night and the customer service rep thanked me for me long history with good standing. It allowed me to get the fees waived.

    We use our debit card except for larger purchases. I tend to spend cash like crazy when I have it in my wallet.

    The debit card allows us to manage our cash flow throughout the month. We also get to take advantage of some of the rewards for the bigger purchases.
    Brooke recently posted…October Goals & Budget PreviewMy Profile

    • That’s great you got the fees waived, Brooke. I’m wondering how I can negotiate something like that. Big or small, I put it all on the credit card to get the points.

  13. My first mention! I feel like a rock star!

    In terms of how you view spending money, I would say that you’re probably the exception rather than the rule, Debs. I think that most people tend to dissociate credit card spending from the idea of spending money and as a consequence, they spend more recklessly. And that is precisely why the credit card companies make it so convenient.

    So whilst I can certainly see the benefits of using credit cards (providing they are used responsibly and the balance is paid off at the end of each month), I would say that for many people, paying cash would help them to understand how much they’re spending, and it would encourage them to question the value of the things they buy: counting out the notes and coins into someone else’s hand makes parting with the money so much more painful.
    Myles Money recently posted…Student Loans: Buying An Education Or Selling Your Future?My Profile

    • Good stuff, Myles!

      I was wondering if anyone else felt like me. I just find it interesting that I have no bias or stronger connection to cash versus credit. Surely I can’t be alone?

  14. This is a nice complementary post to mine – as you said (great nugget of wisdom!) – there’s no right answer, but there is a right answer for you! People just need to educate themselves, know their limitations, and then choose wisely. Thanks for the shoutout!
    Travis @Debtchronicles recently posted…The Power Of A Support SystemMy Profile

  15. We are full on credit cards users solely to rack up rewards/points. We don’t have an annual fee on our credit cards. Any way to find another Visa that doesn’t charge you the annual fee for rewards? I know there are not many offered in Canada though. My TD Platinum Visa annual fees are waived because I keep the required $5K minimum in the account. I had a lot of cc debt in the past and once I was done with it, I did take my time before starting to use them again because I wanted to be sure I could handle it and PIF every month.
    Kassandra recently posted…The Moment I Outgrew My MoneyMy Profile

    • Well since, I get 4% on groceries and gas, my card is pretty good. I used to have an MBNA mastercard which had 5% for the introductory period of six months. But once that’s done, it goes down to 2%, I believe. I did the calculations and it’s worth to pay a fee due to the high percentage I get. Do you know any cards that pay 4% or more that don’t have a fee?

  16. I use cash except when credit cards are required or exceptionally convenient, like at the gas pump. I can handle credit responsibly, I just like to use cash. I’m a bit on the paranoid side, and buying with cash means my purchases are anonymous, and I like that. I don’t want the marketers and Big Data people to know how I spend every dollar, and with credit / debit cards, they do!
    Kurt @ Money Counselor recently posted…World’s Best Layaway!My Profile

    • Interesting, Kurt. I never thought about the audit trail on your purchases. Don’t you find the manual tracking of cash a pain though? That is another advantage to using a credit card if you use an online tool that draws in your transactions.

  17. I do find I tend to overspend when I use my credit card. I haven’t carried a balance or accumulated more debt since March but I definitely find that I’m going over budget and not saving as much as I could be because I have to pay off the credit card every month. I’ve tried leaving it at home and only using it for online purchases and paying those off right away but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to use it like a debit card and completely control myself. Its great to get those benefits, though :)
    Morgaine recently posted…NYC – Part 1My Profile

  18. Credit every time baby :D

    Can’t complain about having +$1,400 in cash back from funnelling all our expenses through our current credit card.
    Steve recently posted…Efficient Markets RevisitedMy Profile

    • Wow! How do you get $1,400 in cash back, Steve? You must buy a lot of stuff. We put everything on our card but will only be at $400 cashback for the year.

  19. I’m pro-credit card over here. I love getting 5% cash back on gas, groceries, etc. I like applying my rewards as a credit on my statement. Makes me feel like I got a 5% “discount” on the things I have to buy anyway.
    Jen @ Save to Splurge recently posted…How to Pack a Suitcase (Three Weeks in a Small Carry-On!)My Profile

  20. I have been reading your site for a while now. Looks like you are getting things in order. All it takes is time and persistance. I particularly like the article about switching to self hosting. I am going to read it over again and follow your advice when I tranfer over. Thanks.

    Keep cranking,

    Robert the DividendDreamer

    • By the way, I always pay with credit to get the cash back. If I am going to spend the money, I might as well get a discount in the process.

      Keep cranking,

      Robert the DividendDreamer

      • Thanks, Robert. Nice to meet you! Good luck with your move to self-hosting. I have another blogging friend who just did the transition this week – Prudence Debtfree.

  21. I always pay cash Debs, these days. I’m sure I could use credit cards responsibly nowadays but to be honest, I still have a bitter taste left by the debt ordeal that we’ve been through and are still going through! :)
    Hayley @ Disease Called Debt recently posted…The Power of Perseverance and Belief in YourselfMy Profile

  22. For me a purchase under $10 I always use cash. $10 and over I use my rewards Credit Card. I take cash rewards. Mine are paid once a year. I do log every Credit Card purchase. My budget allows for $500 a month in Credit Card charges to cover everything I usually need to buy in a month. Like gas, repairs, maintenance, clothing, etc. Some months significantly less and others a bit more depending on what was needed to keep the leisure freak household going. I question all my purchases whether cash or credit is used. I haven’t paid credit card interest in over 15 years.
    LeisureFreak Tommy recently posted…Passion through a Child’s EyesMy Profile

  23. I rarely have cash in my wallet. I’m a credit user 99% of the time. I pay each monthly bill in full and collect on my no annual fee cards between 1% and 2% cash back. I don’t see the harm in using a credit card a lot as long as you can manage your finances well and not spend over your bank account holdings.
    DivHut recently posted…Do You Sell After A Dividend Cut?My Profile

    • I have 4 bucks on me at all times. I never carry money around. I never had the desire, so I rarely have money in pocket. Now, my wife on the other hand…..

      Keep cranking,

      Robert the DividendDreamer
      DividendDreamer recently posted…Time For Some FunMy Profile

    • Agreed, Keith. I rarely have have cash on me, which sometimes is a nuisance, but definitely helps me from spending on some things.

  24. If you can handle cards, the rewards are worth it over cash. But if you can’t, or don’t know if you can, the reward of not paying interest on those day to day things make cash superior.
    femmefrugality recently posted…4 Affordable Pittsburgh NeighborhoodsMy Profile

  25. We usually have $20-40 in cash, then we used to use debit cards, but had constant issues with them. We switched to a credit card and have no issues. We pay it off each month, it’s no big deal since it’s not that much, mainly gas and food purchases. Once you control your spending it’s no big deal, it’s all the same to me. I think I actually have more issues with cash because I don’t track it as much as I do my credit cards where I can see each purchase recorded, but overall our spending has been in check no matter if is paper or cash. I just don’t like to give it to other people either way.
    Lance @ Healthy Wealthy Income recently posted…Why Are You Afraid to be Rich?My Profile

    • I agree, the online tracking of credit card purchases over cash is superior to your budget monitoring!

  26. I think if credit cards are used properly, than it is fine to use them. I am not a person that has used them wisely, so I prefer cash. If I don’t have the money, then I do not buy :)
    Mackenzie recently posted…October GoalsMy Profile

  27. I’d switch to cash if the US Treasury would agree to pay me the same $600+ in annual rewards that I receive from AMEX and Mastercard. Until that happens, I’m sticking with plastic. :)

    • We’re on the same page. Can’t not take advantage of that money + able to manage credit card spending effectively.

  28. I’m more of a credit card guy because it is just more convenient. I use a virtual envelope system and I don’t spend more than what I allocate to that envelope. At the end of the month, I just pay off the credit card and refill my envelope.
    Aldo @ Million Dollar Ninja recently posted…Our Trip To Philly – Part TwoMy Profile

    • Are you disciplined enough to ensure you don’t overspend the envelope for things like groceries, Aldo? Just curious.

  29. I am definitely on the credit side of things – I love collecting reward points (and cash). I rarely pay cash for anything these days as I’d rather get more for my money
    Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet recently posted…Costco’s Secret Price CodesMy Profile

    • Me too. Some people say it’s not fair to charge small things, due to the fees per transaction paid by the vendor. I just don’t want to have cash for those small spendings because it would be more work to track. Unless I did something like $40 and when it’s gone, do without milk until next week. ;-)

  30. I try to use a credit card for my purchases as often as possible! Like you, I’m trying to get cash back and it’s also easier at the end of the month (if I’m being lazy) to add up all my expenses without having to figure out where my money went. Right now I just deal with strict cash back credit cards, but I would like to get into travel rewards cards to see if I can start earning money for flights and hotels.

    You should check out the Sallie Mae credit card that gives 5% back on gas & groceries (up to $500 in each category every month). Once/if you hit that threshold, you could switch back to the 4% card. There’s also the Fidelity Amex that gives 2% flat cash back on everything or the Capital One Quicksilver that gives 1.5% cash back on everything if you wanted to bump those rewards up a bit too. None of these cards carry an annual fee as well.
    Debt Hater recently posted…September 2014 Budget ReviewMy Profile

    • Thanks, DH. We don’t have Sallie Mae here in Canada, but your point is well noted for others. There’s a new AMEX card (no fee) that is offering 5% during the introductory period only (6 mos). A card that gives 2% would be good for us instead of the stuff we buy now on our current card that gets only 1% on that stuff. I’d have to do the math to know if 2% across the board no fee would be more lucrative than what i use today which is 4%/2%/1%,

  31. i am with Travis on this, actually. credit cards are just too much trouble for me, and i try to avoid them. the only card that we do have requires that you pay the balance in full each month, so running up debt just isn’t a possibility.
    jefferson recently posted…Getting Out of Early Termination FeesMy Profile

  32. I’ve recently switched to cash for my discretionary spending — food, “play money,” household stuff like cleaning products. The reward I’d get back isn’t worth the extra spending I’d do at the grocery store, is basically what I decided.

    However, I use cards for other stuff — recently that’s included doctor’s bills (I even called and asked my dentist if I could pay by card rather than check when they sent me a bill in the mail, and they said yes), plane tickets, membership fees and conference registrations (I get reimbursed for those as they’re professional expenses, but it’s nice to be able to get a little cash back for them too.)
    Cecilia@thesingledollar recently posted…End of September UpdateMy Profile

    • Yes, dentists and all that goes on our card too. Why do you think you would spend more at the grocery store if you were using a credit card? Don’t you just get what you need?

      • If I use a card at the grocery store I have to be SUPER disciplined to just stick to the list and not start throwing things into the cart. While granted this is probably an extra $15-20 or so per trip (maybe I’d get some ice cream, some cheese, crackers, and/or a frozen pizza, stuff like that) I guess this is my equivalent of the latte factor — using cash forces me to spend what I have budgeted, and not get all elastic by picking up things I don’t really need.
        Cecilia@thesingledollar recently posted…End of September UpdateMy Profile

        • OK, now I understand a bit better. Thanks for clarifying. You know now that I think about it, it could impact my spending the same way too.

  33. My parents had issues using their credit card, and now they’ve banned it unless they absolutely need to buy something online. After seeing that happen, I decided to stay far away from debt, so I always pay my balance off each month. There is a lot of misinformation, though – my mom told me to keep a small balance on my card at first (to build credit). I felt awful after reading that was a myth.

    I treat my credit card like a debit card – I don’t view it as a way to buy something I can’t afford right then and there. I need to have the money (and it has to be budgeted for), otherwise I’m not buying it.
    Erin @ Journey to Saving recently posted…September Budget ReviewMy Profile

    • Totally agree, Erin. I’ve always got the money in my bank account to pay for everything we put on the card now.

  34. I got my first credit card a year ago for travel hacking and my spending went up! :( I now use cash, but only use credit for things I absolutely need like groceries. It’s a balance for me.
    Melanie @ Dear Debt recently posted…You Don’t Live Here AnymoreMy Profile

    • If you wanted to buy something and had the money put away for it, why couldn’t you charge it on the card to get the points and then pay off the card right away, even before the bill comes in, if you are afraid of spending the money?

  35. Great post! Even though I just completed my first month ever sans credit card use, it’s definitely inspiring and motivational to see people such as yourself using cards responsibly and taking advantage of those rewards! That’s awesome.
    Ch recently posted…September Wrap-Up, October PreviewMy Profile

    • Thanks for visiting! If not using credit cards is a way to get your financial house in order, then so be it. The rewards are not worth spending money you don’t have and paying interest.

  36. Currently I put my groceries and gas on credit and everything else is debit (or cash if I happen to have it.
    Downstairs and in Debt recently posted…October Schmoctober…My Profile

  37. In my everyday life I prefer to use cash. If I’m purchasing something big then I will use a debit or credit card. I like the finality of using cash for purchases.
    Michelle recently posted…September Link Love, Spending Lockdown, and Hire MeMy Profile

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  39. “There’s no right or wrong answer, but there’s a right or wrong answer for you.” I like that, Debs! And it can be more than just ‘If you have trouble using credit cards, it’s OK not to use them.’ My personal debt troubles have not been caused by credit card use. They’ve been caused by blind spending and chaotic accounts. But in my efforts to get out of debt, I’ve gained an awareness of the fact that the credit card industry contributes significantly to personal debt in the broader society. So on principle I’m trying not to use credit cards (though that’s almost impossible in Canada – where online debit is very limited. Grrr…)
    Prudence Debtfree recently posted…New Site as of September 27, 2014My Profile

    • Yes, credit cards give people the means to ‘hang themselves’ so I understand your philosophy and principles on this. Lines of Credit can be part of this too, in my opinion.

  40. We’re all about the credit cards. Like you said, we get rewards just for living our lives! We’ve never had a problem with spending, so we pay for everything we can with our cards. I wish we could pay our mortgage with a credit card!
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…Frugal Hound Sniffs: Planting Our PenniesMy Profile

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  42. I’m definitely a credit card person. I rarely carry cash and try to use credit cards for points as much as possible.
    Tawcan recently posted…3 frugal ways to save on electronicsMy Profile

  43. As long as you Pay the card off in full and never pay interest the cash rewards card can be a bonus. Way mess up and it could negate a whole year’s worth of savings, so you have to diligent.
    Sondra @ Savers4Life recently posted…Simple Items to Cut from Your Budget to Save Money – Part 1My Profile

  44. Wow, you have to keep a really high balance in your banking account to not trigger fees! I get irritated I have to keep $100 in one of mine.
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted…Financially Savvy Saturdays #58My Profile

    • Yes, unfortunately it is $2000 to avoid an $9.95 monthly fee which is still a great return. The $2000 is part of my emergency fund so I don’t mind too much, but would rather be earning interest on it in my power savings account.

  45. We are definitely CA$H! We used credit cards for 10+ years “responsibly”… paid off in full each month, no fees, collecting cash back, etc. But with out a doubt we spend much less when using cash. My best estimate is we spend 20% less, which is much more than the 2-4% cash back “rewards”. Also, with cash it is impossible to go over budget. Once the money is gone, it’s gone. Great post that created quite the conversation, that points out your main point… it just depends on the person. Best wishes! :D
    Nichole @Budget Loving Military Wife recently posted…Favorite Reads this WeekMy Profile

    • That’s really interesting that you spend about 20% less by using cash. For me the cash makes no psychological difference, but I do get your point about when the money’s gone, it’s gone!

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  47. Wow Debs, I’m awed at the number of comments on this one — you’ve definitely sparked a conversation!

    I fall on the credit side, BUT we have a written budget that I update from the online card statement every 2 weeks. I actually find that I’m one of those weird people who spend more if it’s cash…not sure why. We haven’t carried a balance of paid interest in several years, and my two cards are both points-earning.

    When I retire we’ll drop back to just one credit card, but since I travel so heavily for work I need to keep a backup card with me. You haven’t lived until your card gets frozen while traveling because someone tried a fraudulent charge on the number….. ;-)
    Jean @ NearlyRetired recently posted…Weathering the Retirement Storms:  The 2 Critical KeysMy Profile

    • I know, lots of views here on this one! I have a work credit card which is AMEX but I always have my personal VISA with me when I travel for work because AMEX is not accepted everywhere and I’d hate to be stuck, just as you say.

  48. I’m all about the credit cards. They’re a transaction mechanism though, not a form of credit. I get lots of rewards points on mine, as well.
    Both my spouse and I had credit cards as teenagers and were taught to use them properly then, which has obviously served us well. I know that most people do not have that experience.
    Anne @ Money Propeller recently posted…How to Store Cheese When You Have Too MuchMy Profile

    • Thanks for weighing in, Anne! Glad you learned early. I did too. It was drilled into me that credit cards must be paid in full every month!

  49. ALL of our spending goes on our credit cards. There are a few reasons for this, the biggest one being rewards points (we don’t carry a balance so it’s literally free travel) and the others including credit cards making our money easier to track and it’s easier to pay with a card, too.
    Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter recently posted…What Are You Giving Up to Save Money?My Profile

  50. I’ve very late to the party on this post, but I’m not really sure if I’m going to use credit cards or not after I get my debts paid off. I don’t really use them (much) now, but when I do I do have a tendency to go overboard :( So I generally don’t even carry one (except when I go out of town, just in case I wouldn’t have enough cash on hand to cover something emergency wise).
    Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore recently posted…Planning for the New YearMy Profile

    • I think your strategy will work well for you, Kayla, at least initially. Don’t jump back into credit cards unless you have a strategy of putting the money aside every time you use your card.