Sadie suggests we talk about credit cards (and a whole lot more)

Sadie suggested a number of related topics, all in one post. They are all worth discussing, but I’m most interested in how credit cards affect your buying habits.  Personally, I use cards when they are convenient and pay them off every month so never incur an interest charge.  I’ve had a GM credit card for years and have saved about $5,000 on three vehicles.  Great cars, by the way.  My 2000 LeSabre has 228,00 miles on it and is going strong.  Anyway, here’s Sadie’s suggestion, word for word, and I look forward to your comments:

The link looks at the cost to retailers for a “convenience card” a/k/a credit card.
It comes as no surprise that the cost of swiping has been reflected in the cost of purchasing. Three percent is quite a chunk of money. Wouldn’t we all love to see a 3% return on our checking accounts. The story reminded me of my grandmother, who never had a credit card, paid for everything by cash unless it was a large item and then it was by check for obvious safety reasons. I have a friend who purchases everything and I mean everything by credit card for the sole purpose of “points” and whatever they buy at the end of the year. I, OTOH, prefer to pay for food, gas and sundries with real money – it forces me to think about what I am spending. I reserve credit card purchases for big ticket items, which are far and few between.
My question for the readers: Cash or credit and how and does it affect your spending?
More money thoughts ….
On a larger scale – if the voter actually saw how much money is spent [read: wasted] by elected officials wouldn’t they all be screaming their heads off. I suggest a traveling “money show” on the scale of a old-fashioned Barnum & Bailey Circus. We’re gonna need a really big tent.

Look carefully, there in the bottom left corner is our six-foot tall human, dwarfed by the staggering ocean of money… That’s fifty pallets wide, 100 pallets deep, and two pallets high…. 10,000 pallets of 100 milliion each….. so next time someone talks about a trillion dollar bailout…close your eyes and imagine this warehouse full of money
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  • Ron19

    So, are you guys trying to decide for me how to spend my money?

  • Marica

    Cash or check for nearly everything except gas. The gas cards get paid in full every month. *Never* use the debit card. The only reason we have a credit card or two is booking hotel rooms, etc. So I guess we do use them but when we do, they’re paid off each month.

    RELATED: Just learned the other day that if you use your bank (debit) card as DEBIT, the bank is under no contractual obligation to refund fraudulent purchases. If you use it as a CREDIT card, it is. Or so says Dave Ramsey. (We are not Ramseyites in the strict sense but advocate his advise in the broad sense. Wish the federal gov’t did, too!)

    RELATED: Living within your means pays dividends. A year or so ago, we were contacted by the folks who hold the  mortgage on the farm asking if we wanted a *better rate*. And yes, you read that correctly, Cris contact us!  

    Ron19: Do whatever the heck you want. Just don’t ask me to pay for it.  

  • Marica

    Great topic, by the way. Thanks, Sadie!

  • Don Quixote

    Sadie’s suggestions are invaluable when Bookworm is gone.  I never can thank her enough.


    Ron19, Not moi, the Feds do that – they’re the “pros” on the topic. 😉

    Marica, thanks and yes, I had heard the same about a debit card and as a result I don’t have one. Btw, I had no idea that there were bi-cards that went both ways (debit or credit).

    I want to add a p.s. to my post above in light of this summer’s midwest drought and heatwave, I am sure you’re all aware that corn feed has become expensive, the Mississippi water levels are way down and affecting river traffic. The news has promised us that food prices will rise and I am sure they will.  So, one more question: How high does the price of a steak, a favorite food, a flight or any item have to rise for you to say – “It’s off the shopping list until further notice”.

    DQ, I am flattered.    

  • Cheesestick

    “RELATED: Just learned the other day that if you use your bank (debit) card as DEBIT, the bank is under no contractual obligation to refund fraudulent purchases. If you use it as a CREDIT card, it is.”

    Just curious, if you are using your own bank card, regardless if you use it as debit or credit, how could that be considered fraud?  And if your card was stolen, are you just at the mercy of the thief who might use it as a debit card instead of credit?  Would that be due to the fact that you have to enter your pin code if you say debit….in which case, if the thief had both your card and your pin, the bank determines that you can be held responsible?

    The reason I ask is because the way I understand it, businesses are charged less for debit transactions then credit transactions.  (A couple of retailers I know charge less for debit purchases because of this.)  So for that reason, I always select debit when given the choice.  

  • Caped Crusader

    Use credit cards for all except petty cash. Have not owed any interest, credit charges, or carried a balance on anything since 1974. Pay off all bills monthly. Takes discipline but can be done. Ramsey does not always give good advice. I do not understand his antipathy to credit cards, for if you have the discipline to follow his advice, you will pay off your cards monthly. It is much easier to leave an exact tip with a credit card than fishing around in your pocket or purse for all the change needed. I over tip more with real money, and I bet most do also. Dave is either a tip stiffer or maybe he wears a silver metallic change maker on his belt (that dispenses pennies, nickles, dimes, quarters, and halves) with a few clicks, as those of you old enough to remember, when at the gas station 4 guys ran out to pump gas and check your car over, tires, oil, radiator, vacuum, and clean the windows and windshield, and give you green stamps and a full place setting of dinnerware for that $.30 gas
    AAAHHH the good old days!!!!!

  • Mike Devx

    50,000 pallets at $100,000,000 each.

    Well, there are about 310 million Americans. Works out to about $16,000 per American.

    Does the government REALLY need to be spending $16,000 for every American?  That seems rather high to me.

    On credit cards… I pay everything by credit card except for ‘sin’ purchases.  Cigarettes and alcohol, cash.  I like the fact that I can contest charges, even though out of thousands of line item purchases, I’ve only ever contested one single purchase.

    The worst thing about credit cards is that data mining will tell any interested party very, very much about you.  If you care about the loss of privacy, use cash, and don’t swipe any card of ANY sort along with the cash purchase, because the card identifies you as surely as the credit card does.

    I pay for sin purchases by cash because of government nannyism.  Not that they are tracking me already, but as we’ve seen with Bloomberg in New York, and as we KNOW it is coming via ObamaCare, they will be tracking our bad habits soon.  And basing either the quality or the cost of our health care on those bad habits.  So I’m not leaving a trail for them to follow.  It just seems prudent to me to take precautions in this area.


    Caped Crusader: $.30, green stamps and my favorite – sour cream that came in a real glass. Once you polished off the contents, you had a very attractive decorated 8 oz. glass (no need to recycle either).

    Mike Devx: Does the gov-vermin need to spend like a drug-induced crazed maniac. Of course not, but they’re using a credit card with a no max limit it. “The worst thing about credit cards is that data mining will tell any interested party very, very much about you.”  

       If you haven’t seen the video link before, now would be a good time to watch it.    

  • Caped Crusader

    Sadie #9
    And we never bought a glass, for jelly, jam, peanut butter, etc. came in nicely decorated glasses. My favorite that I made my own was decorated with drawings of chariots. Think we still have it somewhere. Never bought a drinking glass.

  • Marica

    “How high does the price of a steak, a favorite food, a flight or any item have to rise for you to say – “It’s off the shopping list until further notice”.”

    Don’t know b/c Husband does the meat shopping, but he only buys any sort of meat on sale or what he considers a good price. And when he finds a price he likes on steaks, he loads up the deep freezer. 

    Caped, agree about Ramsey. But he does seem to have helped a lot of folks get on the right path– the self-disciplined path you  speak of.  

  • jj

    Crusader – me, too.  Live life on the card, pay the bill every month, go to Hawaii with the miles.  I find one itemized bill every month, for everything, is just easy.  And the miles are a freebie with which it’s hard to argue.  I have to buy whatever it is I have to buy anyway; might as well do it in a manner that accrues a benefit.  It makes end-of-year accounting pretty easy, too.

  • 94Corvette

    Another ‘Ramsey-ite’ here – it is such a trip to be debt free (with the exception of our 15 year mortgage which we’ve paid down by 3/4 in the past two years.)  We pay our charge cards off each month, buy our ‘sin’ items with cash and keep a low profile.   When you consider how quickly the Fed’s knew about what the Aurora murderer purchased and where he bought it, it is frightening.  My read on his mother’s comment that they had the right person was that his parents were paying his charge card bills and saw the purchases and when she heard what had happened and where it happened, she put 2 and 2 together and knew it was her son. 

    My wife & I taught the Dave Ramsey course and we had 27 students.  Counting student loans and automobiles and other debt (but not mortgages), among that group they were carrying 750,000 of debt.  When you figure the interest, that’s a heck of a profit for banks.    

  • jj

    When she made the “you have the right person” comment she was refering to herself – having been awakened by an idiot reporter at five in the morning.

  • Caped Crusader

    jj: Way to go and step in and correct the lying scum press. The dialog was something like this: “Are you the  mother of James Holmes? Yes you have the right person.”

  • Beth

    Had heard of Ramsey but had never listened to him until this past weekend, driving at midnight to get to my husband’s relations.  What I had heard about him was very positive.  What I heard come from his mouth was a good deal of ugliness.  He may have some good advice on finances, but his comments to callers that their spouses were being selfish, rude, and immature for wanting to buy a new vehicle turned me off.  His use of ‘freaking’ bought him no credibility either.  Just so strange that a financial adviser would run his show like the shock jocks.