This is an old piece of advice that's been given for decades to individuals just starting out with a credit card. My parents said it to me. If you don't have the cash to buy something, don't put it on a CC. Expressed differently, could you immediately pay off your proposed CC purchase? The vast majority of people that find themselves in credit card debt that they can't seem to overcome no doubt didn't follow this simple rule. I think it's important in this forum to teach healthy credit habits. This honestly is probably right at the top of the list. I had an employee that worked for me that struggled with this for years. I suggested that they start treating their credit card more like a debit card. By that I mean they only make the purchase on the CC if they could make the purchase with their debit card. To further punctuate that point, after making the CC purchase once it posts they would immediately pay it off with their checking account. Basically this process results in one using their credit card like a debit card, just with 1 extra step (payment) included. The employee found that once they got into the habit of following this process they were much more financially aware and stopped running up their CC balances.
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If you don't have the cash, don't charge it!

1 of 10
3 years ago
Wed Jun 16, 2021 12:58 pm
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BrutalBodyShots
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This is an old piece of advice that's been given for decades to individuals just starting out with a credit card. My parents said it to me. If you don't have the cash to buy something, don't put it on a CC. Expressed differently, could you immediately pay off your proposed CC purchase?

The vast majority of people that find themselves in credit card debt that they can't seem to overcome no doubt didn't follow this simple rule. I think it's important in this forum to teach healthy credit habits. This honestly is probably right at the top of the list.

I had an employee that worked for me that struggled with this for years. I suggested that they start treating their credit card more like a debit card. By that I mean they only make the purchase on the CC if they could make the purchase with their debit card. To further punctuate that point, after making the CC purchase once it posts they would immediately pay it off with their checking account. Basically this process results in one using their credit card like a debit card, just with 1 extra step (payment) included. The employee found that once they got into the habit of following this process they were much more financially aware and stopped running up their CC balances.
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Re: If you don't have the cash, don't charge it!

2 of 10
3 years ago
Fri Jun 18, 2021 12:31 am
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AllZero
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That is great advice. When I was first starting on my journey, I didn't fully comprehend what credit was about. It does take a lot of discipline and education. Sadly, it's not free money which I came to realize :o. I'm still learning every day. There was a time I was exclusively using a debit card. That instilled in me the practice that you mentioned. If it was a nominal credit charge where I could take advantage of the grace period and my balances were manageable, then it wasn't a problem. Nowadays, if I had to incur a 4 or 5 digit expense, then I would have to think long, hard, and how I will be able to pay the balance even before I used the card if I did not have the funds in an account. Those interest fees will get you into a bind, especially if they are +20% APR.
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Re: If you don't have the cash, don't charge it!

3 of 10
3 years ago
Fri Jun 18, 2021 1:08 am
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BrutalBodyShots
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Level25 Last INQMonday, May 23, 2022 Gardening For2 years, 1 month, 26 days, 4 hours, and 23 minutes Next Level in3 days, 19 hours, and 37 minutes on July 23rd INQ 1yr onTuesday, May 23, 2023 INQ 1yr reached1 year, 1 month, 26 days, 4 hours, and 23 minutes ago INQ 2yr onThursday, May 23, 2024 INQ 2yr reached1 month, 26 days, 4 hours, and 23 minutes ago Goal24 months Goal DateThursday, May 23, 2024 Goal Achieved1 month, 26 days, 4 hours, and 23 minutes ago
Knowledge or education as you put it is paramount. I know that this forum will be a fantastic tool for this reason and help many avoid the problems that some of us may have run into at one time or another.
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Re: If you don't have the cash, don't charge it!

4 of 10
3 years ago
Tue Jun 22, 2021 6:45 pm
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Birdman
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And that is the reason that several of us are in this, to help people and if we can help some people avoid the pitfalls, then I think we have done something of value. And kudos to all of us who are here to help others!
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Re: If you don't have the cash, don't charge it!

5 of 10
3 years ago
Wed Jun 23, 2021 10:05 pm
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BrutalBodyShots
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Level25 Last INQMonday, May 23, 2022 Gardening For2 years, 1 month, 26 days, 4 hours, and 23 minutes Next Level in3 days, 19 hours, and 37 minutes on July 23rd INQ 1yr onTuesday, May 23, 2023 INQ 1yr reached1 year, 1 month, 26 days, 4 hours, and 23 minutes ago INQ 2yr onThursday, May 23, 2024 INQ 2yr reached1 month, 26 days, 4 hours, and 23 minutes ago Goal24 months Goal DateThursday, May 23, 2024 Goal Achieved1 month, 26 days, 4 hours, and 23 minutes ago
That's for sure. I wish I had found a "where to start" type place when I first got into credit!
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Re: If you don't have the cash, don't charge it!

6 of 10
2 years ago
Sat Jun 04, 2022 1:23 pm
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Have1
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Charge cards are not a bad tool for learning to use credit, IMHO. My first credit card was an American Express Green card. Due at the end of the month in full, no question. Essentially, it was my debit card. It just had a grace period. This was back in the days before POS debit card usage was normalized. And you had to wait for your statement in the mail.
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Re: If you don't have the cash, don't charge it!

7 of 10
2 years ago
Sat Jun 11, 2022 8:01 pm
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Birdman
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And the utilization is hidden from all but EX2.
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Re: If you don't have the cash, don't charge it!

8 of 10
A year ago
Wed Apr 26, 2023 12:41 pm
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JoeRockhead
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This should be taught in schools. I learned the hard way and wasn't eligible for BK because of my income. I had to dig myself out, and for 10+ years I had no choice but to pay cash for anything I needed, or wanted. I live by two things when it comes to credit. It's far better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. And, if I cant pay for it with a debit card, I have no business buying it with a credit card, period.

This simple thing could save a whole lot of people, a whole lot of grief, but I also say the road to misery is often paved with good intentions.
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Re: If you don't have the cash, don't charge it!

9 of 10
A year ago
Wed Apr 26, 2023 1:23 pm
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CreditAggie
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JoeRockhead wrote: Wed Apr 26, 2023 12:41 pm This should be taught in schools. I learned the hard way and wasn't eligible for BK because of my income. I had to dig myself out, and for 10+ years I had no choice but to pay cash for anything I needed, or wanted. I live by two things when it comes to credit. It's far better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. And, if I cant pay for it with a debit card, I have no business buying it with a credit card, period. This simple thing could save a whole lot of people, a whole lot of grief, but I also say the road to misery is often paved with good intentions.
I find it incredible just how financially illiterate Americans are. I teach first-year experience courses at my uni and one of the topics I go over is financial literacy. I am amazed at how many don't know what credit is or that they think they have to go into debt just to get a credit score! :o If you are paying interest, you are doing it wrong!
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Re: If you don't have the cash, don't charge it!

10 of 10
A year ago
Wed Apr 26, 2023 2:00 pm
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Saeren
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Yeah I had to learn this lesson the hard way too. Fortunately for me I was able to get a BK discharge but that's not something to be proud of when you're 23. It did set me on a great path since though. I only ever carry a balance if I can do it at 0%. Previously I pretty much put everything on cards and paid crazy interest. Back then credit card companies didn't even have to apply payments to the highest rate first so some cash advances I took really hit me hard. My grandmother paid off my credit cards twice as a birthday and Christmas present and I still didn't get it until I had to file for BK.
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    8/18/2023
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