Is It OK To Use Credit Cards Sometimes?
We received this question in response to an article that we included in the newsletter called "God Provides".
First let me say I love your newsletter. Very good information. I struggled with what you said about trusting in God and that it shows a lack of faith if you charge something.
I guess it struck a very personal chord with me – because my mother passed away last July and there was no money for the funeral, casket, headstone, etc. I can pay it off over about 17 months and am doing so – but had to put it on a charge card to do that. (Relatives did pitch in but covered only 1/5th of the expense.)
I guess I look at it like God is providing in that I have a job where I can make the payment for this. As I sat in that funeral home and the funeral director showed me the bill and asked how I would be paying for this… the charge card was all I had. I don’t think it was a lack of faith – it was a lack of funds. I am open to your thoughts and opinions on this. Just doin’ the best I can. Thanks – thanks for your newsletter and all the work you do on this. I do really enjoy it.
That’s a good question, Ginger. Not everything I say here will be for you personally. I’m answering more broadly for the benefit of all of our readers.
What I was saying in that newsletter is that many of us don’t give God the time or the opportunity to work in our lives. We don’t have the faith to wait and see if God provides us the money for something or to find out if what we want is really what He thinks is best for us. Even though I really try to teach people to get out of debt, period, I do realize life happens and sometimes debt can’t be helped.
If we need something like a new coat, another car or a bigger house, many of us often become impatient or just don’t want to be inconvenienced and immediately charge these things instead of waiting and having the faith God will provide. This is bad debt.
Debt may be unavoidable in emergency situations. Sometimes we might have to charge things and your situation is the perfect example of one of those times. Not only was it an unexpected expense that had to be taken care of immediately but you also made sure it was a debt you could control by being able to pay it.
I don’t want to sound like I am contradicting myself but there are times when to be a wise steward of our money we may have to wisely use debt. I don’t recommend doing this often but it does sometimes happen.
Here is another example of where wisely using debt might be a good plan: I have my house paid for now and I decide to move. I find a house that is appraised at $250,000 and I can get it for $70,000. It is in a perfect location and in perfect condition. If I buy it I would have to take out a $10,000 loan. I have no debt, can easily afford to pay the payment and can even pay it off early. I would probably go into the $10,000 debt to get that home. It is a wise investment for me.
On the other hand, if I took out a $50,000 loan out for a new car, it would be a bad debt. A car depreciates quickly and I would immediately start losing money. If I really need a new car, it would not be difficult to find a much less expensive "basic" car. Taking out a loan for a 52 inch TV for a Christmas gift is a bad debt. Going into debt for Christmas gifts period is bad debt.
Going into debt temporarily to pay for unforeseen medical expenses for your child is another situation where debt may be necessary but it is bad debt if you charge a face lift or you are charging having your hair and nails done each month.
The main point I was trying to make was that we often lose out on the joy and excitement that comes when we see God come through for us and provide something we couldn’t do ourselves. We are like the woman who always complains to her friends that her husband is never there for her, especially in little things like helping her on with her coat or opening the car door for her.
What she fails to tell them (and probably doesn’t even see) is that her husband would love to help her and do those things for her but because she is always in such a hurry and so independent she doesn’t give him a chance to do them. She says, "Let’s go to the store," and before he is out of his chair she is at the door with her coat on. While he is locking the door of the house, she runs to the car and jumps in.
She is losing out of the joy of knowing someone cares for her and cherishes her, even in the little things, and her husband is losing out of the joy you feel when you help someone you love. Both of them lose out on the closeness that comes with the pat or squeeze as he puts her coat on or the hand on her elbow as he helps her into the car.
We lose out on the same feelings with God when we always stay one step ahead of Him and don’t give Him time to gently and lovingly help us. That was the main point I was trying to make in the "God Provides" newsletter– not, "Shame on you if you don’t wait on God because that shows you have no faith!" I was trying to remind people not to just immediately charge something when an obstacle comes, but to exercise your faith "muscles" in God more often.
The day may come when you have no credit cards or money to bail you out. Will you have exercised your muscles enough and will they be strong enough to carry you through? I don’t know. That is between you and God alone and is not for me or any one else to judge. It’s just something for you to think about.
A Few Notes From Tawra:
We recommend setting aside an emergency savings fund so that you have the money when an unexpected expense comes along. Life is full of unexpected expenses, so it is good to "expect" them. ;-) By cutting back on optional expenses like eating out, you can save the extra money so that when an emergency comes, you have the money to cover it. It may take a while to get a good emergency savings, but if you keep the optional expenses low and put as much in it as you can, you will be able to do it.
We found that once we set aside a reasonable savings to cover unexpected expenses like car repairs and unusually high medical bills, we used our credit cards a lot less. Then, when we had an unexpected expense, we paid it out of that savings and then replenished the savings. And when you pay back your savings, you’re not making interest payments.
Some people suggest keeping a lot of money in savings. We think that’s great, but keep in mind that you’re not saving anything if you are paying high interest on debt while you keep a large savings. Keep a reasonable emergency savings fund and then pay off the debt to eliminate the interest expense!
Photo By: Fosforix
Jill, I think your answer was very wise and compassionate. I think, in general, most people have money problems because most of the time they are buying things they can do without, like big screen TVS, fancy cars, too many clothes, etc. Let me give you an example of what happened to me recently. I was in front of a Church and there were 2 men standing there looking for handouts. This Church is a major Cathedral in my area and there seems to be people in front of it all the time begging. These 2 men kind of frightened me. I was afraid to go too close to them and pull out my wallet because I thought they might rob me, so I stayed away. After I told them I didn’t have “any spare change” one of them pulled out a cell phone that started ringing. I was flabbergasted. To think he had a cell phone and had the nerve to ask me for money. I don’t even have a cell phone! I thought of how foolish he was. I know many people that have to have the newest gadgets just to fit in and they can’t afford it. It’s like another time I was in a small store and noticed a woman poorly dressed buying cigarettes and lottery tickets. Her bill was $75.00. She was throwing her money away on nothing important and could have used it more wisely.
Bea, it is funny you should mention those things. Just recently our pastor told a story how the church was doing some construction work. He came to a corner where some guys were holding signs which said “Will work for food” so he asked if they would like a job at the church for pay.
They all turned him down but one man was finally was honest when he was told he would get at least minimum wage he said “No way. I can make almost twice that amount (about $75 a day) just standing on this corner and not working.Our Pastor said at least he was honest about it.
All I can say is it is a strange world we live in.:)
so true bea and jill… one time i was in daytona beach on the way back home (i live 30 miles from daytona beach) and i was at a stop light b4 the turn on the road to home… and there was this man standing there with his sign “hungry please help” … now i didnt have any spare change or any money at all but i did have extra sandwiches and snacks (we had just come from the beach) so i offered the sandwiches and stuff to me and lo and behold he yelled at me (took my sandwiches) and then threw them at me and said he didnt want my “stinkin'” sandwiches and junk food (his words) and he wanted cash… so i told him he must not be too hungry to turn down delicious turkey/cheese sandwiches and etc… and bc there was a police officer across the street i was going to report him! … he begged me not to but i still did bc here i am trying to feed someone and he threw the food back at me… my kids and their friends were in the car with me adn needless to say, they were scared…
after that, never again… and yes, i will help anyone but over time i keep seeing the same people begging.. i finally had to tell one woman that she needs to go to salvation army and see if they can help her get a room and help bc she needs to stop asking me (i used to see her at the local walmart begging for money to get a ride to the homeless shelter in daytona and yes i called her bluff on it bc that particular homeless shelter closes at 7pm and this was like 9pm!)…
not saying we shouldnt help but come on, enuff is enuff… esp when they pull out the cell phones (like bea said) or they refuse the work bc they can make more begging…
sorry will get off my soap box now… :D
also, jill what you posted to ginger was very wise adn compassionate …
hugs to ginger on losing her mom… i hope her pain will ease soon…
May I just compliment you on your very loving and tactful approach toward Jill. Rather then being defensive and angry, you were very gracious in addressing your concern and it was heartwarming. God bless you for it.
my husband is a credit junkie. He admits it but can’t seem to change it.
For years we have lived with this and sometimes it got to the point where it was a strain on finances.
Why do credit card companies keep upping your credit limit? I know it is because it makes them more money but it sucks.
I called VISA and told them to not raise the limit over $5000. So that is the limit we have and it makes life easier.
I have actually been able to save and have a savings account. Which is wonderful. We were able to help our son out just before Christmas when he needed money to keep the two cars they need. Sure felt good to say no problem.
We now have only visa as our debt and that is paid off every month.
We live in Northern Ontario and with all the closures of the pulp and paper mills and the forestry industry it is making life hard for so many. My husband is a miner so we are safe for about 5 years and probably 10 which is good since in 10 years Don will be eligible for pension. Yes I am that old.
I do not give pan handlers money any more. One guy was asking for money while sitting outside a store with a sign in the window “we are hiring” I asked the guy why he didn’t go in and apply he said “I did and they only want someone for the night shift, when would I sleep”
When we go to the city I donate to the University food bank. I donate to the food bank and the toy drive here in town. Since I know a lot of people who have to use it now that the town lost it biggest employer. 750 people out of jobs and no pension for the pensioners.
I try to help out friends inconspicuously. At Christmas I gave a friend a huge turkey by telling her we got it as part of a fund raising deal and we don’t eat turkey so she would be doing me a favour by taking one of them off my hands. She was grateful and didn’t lose her pride. I think losing pride is the bad thing when times are tough.
I used to donate clothing to the womens shelter here in town but then found out that most of the clothes I gave were tossed into the garbage because they were mens shirts. They were mine because I like the fit of them better than womens blouses and they are a lot cheaper than blouses. BUT since they were mens they would not be used. I understand the hatred of men over there but clothes are clothes, aren’t they?
My husband is a miner and has a union which is great but every 4years it is contract year and you don’t always know if it will be a strike or not. To get ready in case this is what we do. It might help others in planning.
contract year Don does not take any of his 6 weeks of holidays. If there is a strike he can have 6 weeks of full pay and not have to go into savings.
When I shop for the 2 months before a vote date I stock up on meat when it is on sale. My freezer is full. I buy bags of flour and rice so I don’t have to buy that and can make bread or tea biscuits instead of having to pay $2.50 a loaf. I always have potatoes and vegetables on hand and lots of pasta and sauces.
This next year is contract year and we are in even better shape.
Our house is paid off so no rent or mortgage, our taxes are small and our water bill is also easy to handle.
Most people seem to have lots of debt due to housing and the toys they buy. We go camping and all our equipment is there and paid for.
But even if you don’t have a lot of savings there are ways to get around the tough times with a bit of planning.
I think Ginger does make a good point. We need to remember that while we are trying to be wise with our finances we also need to be compassionate towards others. Debt does NOT always = overspending. I agree it can but please don’t look at someone in debt and assume that is the reason. I’m not saying this is what you did only to remind everyone to please not judge.
Jill, I don’t understand some things that go on in our world either. Another example of most people wasting money unnecessarily is my co-workers going out for lunch every day. They never bring a bagged or boxed lunch to work. They have to go out every single day to get food from some fast food place, even in blizzards. It’s been snowing a lot lately. I take my lunch to save money. I prefer to have money for more important things. Now what gets me is that these same people complain they are short on money. If you figure that every working day they are spending at least 5 dollars a day for 5 days a week (and that is a modest figure, it could be more) that are spending a $100 a month on lunches, in addition to their grocery bills for the rest of their meals at home. That $100 is a waste in my opinion. I mentioned to a couple of them, when they happen to bring up the subject that they are short on money, that maybe they should think of at least saving money by bringing their lunch, but they aren’t interested. Go figure. Makes no sense to me. Another example is one of my co-workers was complaining he can’t make ends meet. He is married and expecting their 1st child. I mentioned that maybe he could think of things, like bringing his lunch to work, or getting rid of his cable TV, when he mentioned his cable bill is $200.00 a month! I couldn’t believe it. He has all kinds of sports channel extras and pay per view movie add-ons. So here is another example of how people throw their money away. By the way, I made those Peachy English Muffins this morning and they are great!
I too was in a serious financial situation when I found my husband dead in bed one morning. He was only 47. BUt that was a few years oilder than me. I was in bad health and had on insurance or money. I spoke with the mortuary and they agreed to take less for their services. Perhaps you can do this for your mother’s s ervices. The hospital also wrote off some of their bill which was a big help. Then like you I had to charge several bills. It is really hard sometimes when life takes a bad turn.
I just want to say that you are right about praying and waiting for things. So many times in this past year I have experienced the wonder of God’s gifts when I have prayed about our finances. I pray before I go grocery shopping that God will bless my trip and bless my limited budget, while helping me to make wise choices with the money I have in hand. I prayed and praised God for a move we were about to make, though we were unsure of how to make the move happen. Within days, my church had rounded up a crew of 15 people to help us, $300 to buy a used fridge (the new place didn’t have one), $200 worth of groceries, and child care for the day of the move. How amazing is God’s power when we just trust in him? The latest thing has been that we are making a huge life change. My husband is going back to school and is going to take on the roll of stay at home dad while I go back to work as a teacher. (This is something we have prayed about and we feel good about.) However, we weren’t sure about how to save enough money to pay for tuition. We had already started saving cash for the first semester, when my husband found out that he is eligible for a few grants. It turns out 100% of his tuition might be covered, as well as money for books and a small housing allowance!!! So, to sum it all up, Seek ye first his kingdom….Ask and the door shall be opened!
RE: FUNERAL EXPENSES
I had a similar situation, but it was my son. We had to use FIVE CREDIT CARDS to pay for the funeral. Because we had been on a rapid paydown program recommended by a well known finance advisor, we had (combined) room on the cards for the $11,000 in expenses. Most of the credit card companies had to express a card to us because we had shredded them and were not using them. We got reduced interest rates due to the unhappy circumstances, and they waived overnight mailing fees.
***The best advice I can give any parent is, no matter what you have to sacrifice to do it, make sure your child is insured. I hope you never need it, but it sure will avoid unnecessary heartache for years to come after such a difficult blow.***
Love the site, and all the stuff you guys do!
When my parents were 60 they went to the funeral director of a well known company in their town and made all the funeral arrangements for their own funerals. Sounds sort of bad but when my father and my brother in law passed away on the same day it saved my mother and sister a lot of money.
Dad’s funeral was paid for and having a double funeral made it less expensive for my sister. The insurance paid the bill.
Thankfully my mother is still with us but there is not a problem with an expected bill when she leaves us.
You can do this at any age and it would save your children the frustration of making and paying for arrangements when all they really want to do is grieve with family members.
Life insurance is good and we told both our sons to get it when they got married. But accident insurance is also a great idea. If an accident occurs where the person needs help getting back on their feet or needs someone to come to the house and do cleaning and therapy the insurance pays much of the cost. So family can continue to live without the big bills.
We personally have $200,000 and we pay $40. a month for it.
I think it is a good investment in our family.
Hopefully we will never have to use it but it is freeing to know it is there.
A younger woman where I was working was always complaining about how much trouble she and her husband had in paying bills. One day she posted a notice on the workplace bulletin offering a lot of furniture for sale. Someone asked if they were moving into a smaller (which would have made sense in their financial circumstances). She said that they were tired of their furniture!! They were selling two rooms of furniture and buying new furniture (on credit of course)! Most of us had gotten by with second-hand furniture and hand-me-downs from family members for all of our early married years, but they thought nothing of going through more than one set of new furniture in the first three years of marriage. They also both went out to lunch every day. Both my husband and I took our lunches to work then and still do.
Rose, you and my ex-husband must have run into the same panhandler, although this happened many years ago. I also live outside of Daytona. He and a friend were in a McDonalds, and saw a man with a sign that said “Will work for food”, so they bought a couple extra hamburgers. When they tried to give them to him he took them and threw them on the ground and said he did not want them he wanted the money.
I thought beggars couldn’t be choosers, but I guess these days they most certainly are. Arrogant too.
yep michelle… probably the same one indeed! …
i am not sure if a comment was posted on this post or another one or on the newsletter… but it did say something about buying dolls… yes i do collect dolls and they are normally porcelain dolls but only if i have the money for htem (which is very rare) or i can get them really cheap (which is hardly the case!) …
thinking of this, i get a magazine for a children’s (girl’s dolls) (i have gotten this magazine since my daughter was very little and its free) … well, the doll in the magazine costs like $100/each … of course you can have her look like ur little girl …
but lo and behold i saw the same doll (granted these dolls in this craft store all had long straight hair) for like $16.99 each (if i read the price sticker right!)… i couldnt believe it … i was at the store with my daughter and we just couldnt believe it…
also i love those teddy bears adn bunnies all dressed up sooo cute in those dresses and hats… well, my daughter just reminded me, “mom you could buy a teddy bear, buy a small dress from the children’s dept in walmart, maybe on sale too, add a hat or even just a ribbon a flower adn there you go! … voila! … or go to goodwill and save even more!”…
i do have a bear i bought and she is sooo adorable but she doesnt need a doll stand to stand up… whatever company made her, she has wooden “feet” and “legs” inside of the lining of her fur to help her stand up… and she was only $10 but she was sooo cute i had to get her… she is actually dressed up as a little girl from 1902!…
but you are right, sometimes people buy bc of wants and not needs…
same thing as the furniture… we never bought new furniture and i have been married over 20 yrs… we usually bought used or if i found something half way decent in the trash (from delivering newspapers) i usually took it home and cleaned it up very nicely and there you go! … and i would never ever ever charge for new furniture esp when there are small children or pets or both in the house…
in fact goodwill had some beautiful porcelain dolls for really awesome prices… my daughter got me one for xmas and she is gorgeous…
yes i am bad but i just love stuff from the victorian age and yes i do love dolls and bears and cats… i try very hard to limit myself and decide if i really need it or want it… most of the time i ask if someone would take less for an item (if its used, like at goodwill) and sometimes they do… and i do share my stuff too… i have been known to give my nieces and great nieces some of my stuff just bc i love them and i love the item and i think it will give these girls as much joy to them as i got from the items…
sorry so long :D
We have just started the Dave Ramsey series. I have known for years you need to have a backup – have an emergency fund, and have 3-6 months funds in savings just in case.
But, paying for your mother’s funeral is not one of those things that will fit anywhere in those categories. If that would happen to me. I too would have to either use my funds, which I do not have, or also take out a loan for.
As you said, life happens. We are to be prepared for emergencies, but there are times we just have to do the best we can.
My husband and I went to a Dave Ramsey seminar and it changed the way we handle our finances. We now have an emergency fund, and no outstanding debt other than our mortgage which we will pay off in eight years. We do without unless we can pay cash, and the peace of mind that comes with an emergency fund is such a blessing. I highly recommend Dave!
I once worked at McDonald’s to pay for my studies, and volunteered at a food bank at the same time. One woman came every week, was extremely picky and rude to the volunteers, and always asked to be charged on credit. One day she came to McD and ordered for herself and her brats (sorry, there’s no other way to describe them) a single meal that cost over €131! Her familiarity with the menu proved it wasn’t a once splurge, either.
Lo and behold, 4 days later she was back as usual at the food bank, and once again said she’d get by on credit because “things were so tight these days.” I did step forward to expose her, and despite being allowed to get by that time, she was told to pay each time from then on. Not only did she dramatically reduce her desiderata, she soon stopped coming and left a huge debt behind.
As for cell phones, though of course most “helpless homeless” people have them as a novelty item, it could indeed be a necessity and a wise investment for someone actively searching for work. There’s no need to be resentful for someone supposedly lower than us owning what we perceive as a luxury. A cell phone would indeed be a sine qua none condition for finding a job, yet its cost, if kept to a minimum, wouldn’t be enough to be put to use for something more worthwhile and couldn’t cover any emergency hedge that would keep him fed if he stopped begging for some days.
However, the odds are that cell phone was a useless luxury to someone who had no intention putting it to good use.
I’d also choose to find it heart-warming that people are still generous enough for a beggar to live better by begging than by working, though I still have a poor opinion of anyone choosing to do so.
When my father in law died, he had no life insurance. SSI gives a very small ($200 or $250) death benefit and that was all the money there was. My inlaws didn’t have a savings account, having always lived paycheck to paycheck and not being good at budgeting anyway. My husband is 1 of 5 children and all the kids said they would help pay a portion of the funeral expense…basically 1/6 (since my mil was going to pay as well). Well, you guessed it, we paid our part and no one paid anything else. A couple of the sisters gave a few hundred dollars and his brother gave a little bit. It didn’t stop both his sisters from going on vacation later on in the year, 1 to the beach for a week, the other to Disney World for a week. That is the state of mind of most people in this country. Pleasure, no matter what the cost or the obligations. I got a night job (I am a sahm and I homeschool my kids) and worked part time for several months to help pay our part and then my husband (who was hating having me gone at night and on weekends) delved into his work’s 401K program and borrowed the rest to pay our part and I quit working. He paid his 401K back about 18 months after his dad died. The funeral home offered a 1 year plan to pay on the funeral costs at no interest but after 1 year, would tack on interest. My mil couldn’t get it paid off in that time frame, although she made a payment every week (I think the funeral was right around $10,000 and we went bare minimum on everything,even getting a family member to dig the grave). So my husband and I took out a loan in our names for the rest of the funeral costs (mil had no credit) and she paid off the loan. She has since purchased a small burial policy and I just say that is SMART! I shudder to think of the costs on my husband and I if she didn’t have this policy, as the track record for his siblings proves they SAY they will pay but don’t. We have $10,000 on each our children, we just wanted to have something to stay out of debt in the event of such a tragedy. I think it would be hard enough to lose a child, let alone the grief of paying for it for years. $10,000 would probably just barely cover that expense, in fact, but it beats nothing. I don’t hold grudges against my husband’s family for the funeral business but it was just an eye opener. I can’t imagine not helping my mother pay to bury my father! People just don’t surprise me anymore, throwing food at people who want to help, etc. I guess if they were honest, they just want drug money in alot of cases.
I think that your comments on debt are all good
I wanted to comment on your house is very attractive and clean the photo’s are all good
I would not lower your price any more than 5,000 to 10,000
These realtors don’t know the market
I live in Ct live in a small town
I own my place Two bedroon ,1 bath,no land around it i bought it 20 years ago at 93,000
It been inproved on the outside i put in new bathroom
and repaired the floor the town has a redo the realstate values it worth 140,000 now but i live in the northeast which is very expensive area for things
You have a much larger size home although you are in kansas which does get bad storms but Don’t sell out to a realtor unless they can sell your home in a day
Actually realtors do have a good sense of the market. It’s in their best interest to get the best price for you house. If it’s priced to high, no one will buy it and it will just sit there and all the money they spend on marketing will go to waste. If they price it too low they won’t get as high of a commission so it is in their best interest to price it right.
I’ll be honest. My husband and I use our credit cards for almost everything. We use the debit card for gas because our gas station doesn’t accept credit, and we pay bills using direct deposit from our checking account, but just about everything else goes through the credit card.
Well, we get cash-back from our credit card.
Doesn’t that put us in debt?
Nope! Every week or two, I pay off the full balance on our credit card. I don’t wait for the bill to come (and usually, they don’t send a bill because our balance is 0). We have never had any interest on our credit card because we’ve never owed on it, and we just get free money from the points we accumulate.
This does mean that we have to budget wisely. We make sure that we stay well below our credit limit so we don’t affect our credit score (going too close to the limit will knock your credit score), and we make sure that we don’t buy things that we don’t have money for.
Now, not everyone can do this, but I think it’s important to point out that the credit cards aren’t the problem. You can use a credit card responsibly, and even gain money from using it responsibly! The credit card companies wouldn’t survive if everyone was responsible about it (or they’d have to kill the rewards programs), but it can be used to benefit you, not them!
This is true. I use my credit cards often too and pay them off each month. It is called controlling your money not letting your money control you. The problem we deal with on a daily basis is a huge percentage of people can’t or don’t know how to do that. The temptation is so great and they are so use to just using credit cards to get what they need that it is best for them to stay as far away from them as possible. It is like a asking a recovering alcoholic to come to a wine tasting party and telling him if he takes only one drink he’ll be okay. That is why we go to the other extreme in saying don’t use credit cards at all until you are out of debt and have things well under control then eventually you can start to slowly use them and to use them with the idea of making money from them (as in your case).
Once again as you said it isn’t the credit cards which are the problem but the person and their attitude towards them and money in general.
on the issue of cell phones, it’s possible that the person had a cell phone with a contract before losing their job, and it was more expensive to end the contract than to keep the phone. I’ve definitely had the situation before where it was cheaper to hold onto a cell phone than to end it. Not everyone who’s homeless/begging has been that way for long, especially in the current economy.
Hi, no harm in using a credit card if you are disciplined, however if not, then better not to. Try getting a card where the whole amount is automatically deducted from your bank account at the end of each month so that no interest is charged. This also forces you to budget carefully. If you have had to use your credit card for emergency purposes, then it is also better to get a loan from a bank at a lower interest rate to pay off the credit card. Regarding savings – nowadays it is difficult, but even if you start with just a little you will be amazed to see that you can get by without it. Also plan the year ahead eg my son has his 21st birthday coming up in September. I have budgeted that I would need X amount, and put aside a certain amount every month. In this way, when the day arrives, I do not have to worry about where the money will come from. The same applies to a lot of things. Budget, save, enjoy
Kellie, I completely agree about the insurance. We gave up my cell, cable, internet and home phone so we could keep life insurance on me, DH and DD. I am a stay at home(homeschooling) mom, completely dependent on DH’s income. And what if I died? How would he pay to have childcare for DD (and now a DS)? We can’t prepare for every tragedy in life, but we all know that death is inevitable and financial bust from a family death does not have to be.
Ginger, I think you did the best for your circumstances and may God bless you. Sometimes our situations don’t fit into a neat little box.
Many people think that if they make it themselves that it is ok. Someone I know was making jewelry at a woman’s meeting, but she couldn’t pay her rent for 2 months. Would the $20 worth of beads she had just bought paid her rent? No, but where’s the PRIORITIES? Pay everything you can to those you OWE. Also, another lady made several matching skirts/hats/blouses last summer. Very pretty and cheaper than the store I’m sure, but she talked often of how they could barely pay their mortgage, and her DH had to go get a second job and he has a degenerative back problem.
For convenience and Cash Back advantages we use our credit cards for everything and they are paid off EVERY month. We do not spend any money we don’t have. Was it always like this? No; though once we made the decision to get out of debt, we decided to use the credit cards like debit cards. We have a budget set for every category in our lives and we stick to it.
Thank you Darlene. That is exactly what I mean. Even if my cell phone cost me $5 a month if I owed someone money I would give it and anything else I could up to pay my debt. Even if it meant me going with out something or being inconvenience or uncomfortable. I get very frustrated because I have had people e mail mail and say they can’t find one more place to save and don’t know how they will get food for their children or pay their rent but yet they are using a computer with internet and no they aren’t using it for their job etc. Do you know how many groceries I could buy with just what it costs for internet service? A lot.
Here’s the one problem with credit cards my husband and I have come to learn over and over—- they are helpful if you don’t have the money up front but the problem is by spending on them you’re expecting God to continue to give you your regular expected income to pay off the credit card. Sometimes God doesn’t provide over and above to pay off the credit card. Then you’re stuck. Better to save and then buy.
I have four hard and fast rules about my credit cards
1. they are to be used only for food or fuel as a back up when the cash runs out and until the check comes in.
2. No more than the specified amount on the budget may be charged e.g $30 per month budget allotment
3.The credit bill must be paid in full every month.
4. Only 1 credit card may be used at one time.
I keep the purchases small,charging only what I need.
Why don’t people who make things sell them? That would bring in some extra income.
Regarding credit cards..I had managed to get into deep trouble after my divorce, and wound up in bankruptcy. It’s been almost ten years. At my church I took a financial class, and it opened my eyes as to what God feels about how I handle what He blesses me with. Credit cards have been around for over fifty years.In 1970, only 15% of Americans used plastic. It’s sickening how much they charge. I just paid one off, at 29% interest…and they were begging me to stay, “We’ll get you one at a lower interest rate.” I told them I use cash, at 0% interest, and if they could beat that, I’d be interested. Cash registers as pain, credit doesn’t. It’s a sad commentary that more young people are filing bankruptcy than graduating from college. I use the envelope system- I pay cash for food, gas, church, pet food. I pay rent, utilities, bills and what is left over goes to my savings. I shop for food at a grocery outlet.I now have more money in my savings than checking. It took four months, and I am on a roll. No one “needs” credit cards, I believe that it is a product sold to us…after all, they have made millions in late fees, and even more from “purchases”. With cash, I pay for the item once, not over and over with 30% interest! Oh, and my other shopping (clothes) is from the Goodwill…amazing what people give up! Jeans for $5? You bet!
The panhandlers in my area can even make my DH nervous with their demanding behavior, and he’s a warehouse worker. I’m shortish, with poor eyesight (correctable, but still leaves me feeling vulnerable) and hip problems that can make moving quickly a challenge, so I really get nervous when an unfamiliar male barges up to me, into my personal space, and starts making demands. I’ve also seen non-cash donations refused as rudely as other posters have. I refuse to give cash to panhandlers, since I do not believe I’m helping them by enabling them to buy alcohol or drugs (or even cigarettes). My giving is to organizations I trust, such as my church, where I know the money will be used for NEEDS and to help people get on their feet and help themselves.
As far as cell phones, pre-paid (such as my Virgin Mobile phone) can be quite inexpensive, and for those who are actually willing to work, being reachable by someone wanting to give them work can be vital. My DH was doing day labor during a very rough time for us, and he said other workers he knew to be homeless managed to have phones for such needs. I really don’t think less than $10/month is that luxurious for something that is to me a basic need to be able to communicate, such as in emergency.
Can you help me with low sodium, low fat, low cholesterol meals we can afford on one income?
Deborah-I am a nurse, and love the website “World’s Healthiest Foods.” I suggest trying to grow vegetables if you can, or look into a community garden in your area. Container gardening is also a good idea. If you grow fresh vegetables, that would be half the battle there. Mother Earth News (sorry to refer to other websites!) has tons of ideas. You can get back issues of the magazine from your library. Eat fresh as much as possible, that would help. And get kids involved with the gardening, too…they would be more likely to grow vegetables. Lastly, avoid corn syrup in anything you eat. If you eat sensible, exercise, avoid eating out/junk food you would get ahead. Also remember most of cholesterol is made in your body.