We are a “gotta have it now” society. According to creditcards.com, there are nearly 600 million credits in the United States bringing home the goods today for payment tomorrow. But that’s the problem. For most Americans, tomorrow never comes, so some are beginning to cash in.
Certified Financial Planner Deb Neiman sees a growing cash trend, especially when you consider the average American family with credit card debt, has nearly $16,000 of it.
“People are putting on the brakes. People are returning to basics and saying what do we really need? Its need versus want,” Neiman says.
Adopting a pay-as-you-go mentality is not easy. It’s a huge lifestyle change that is painful at first, but over time you will discover the pleasures of delayed gratification.
“I think its peace of mind. You know, if you’re paying cash, you know you own everything. You’re not expecting a bill next month, it’s a good feeling and it really makes you a smarter consumer because you have to stop in your tracks and determine, is that really worth my money?” Neiman says.
Cash is king, so when you’re buying a big dollar item, ask for a discount. One to 4 percent of the purchase price already reflects a transaction cost to the seller. Credit isn’t free, so if you’ve got the cash, don’t be shy.
“Ask. If you don’t ask you won’t receive,” Neiman says.
“I pay cash for everything,” says 33-year-old Jenney Griffin of Waltham, who hasn’t owned a credit card in 15 years.
The divorced mother of one ran into credit trouble as a teenager, and said she’s never looked back. Discipline is key.
“I have x number of dollars in the bank. I can only spend x number of dollars. If I want something that’s x plus a hundred, I have to save. I can’t get it right now. I can get if next month maybe, but not right now,” Griffin says.
Jenney admits she’s not a saver, but she is thrifty. In a recent trip to New York City, she took an econo bus, and instead of a hotel, stayed with family friends. She lives a simple lifestyle, and when buying, say, Red Sox tickets online, or renting a car, she uses her debit card. Sure, it’s plastic, but it gets paid day one.
“I don’t need high end whatever. I’ve never been like that. So anything I’ve ever needed I save for it. I buy it. I’m done,” Griffin says.
“A little credit is not a bad thing,” Neiman says. Living credit card-free is not for everyone. Deb Neiman recommends holding on to at least one card for emergencies. And establishing a good credit score can have a big impact on your ability to buy a home, insurance rates, or even get a job.
Find a balance, remember you can always charge it one day, and pay the next. But don’t forget about the pay part. ncentive programs can get you everything from free trips to cash, but remember the credit card companies are banking on you not paying off your entire bill. Suddenly that free trip isn’t so free after all.
“It’s easier, simpler, stress free, I think my generation has discovered not to have a credit card,” Jenney Griffin says.
Here are four tips to get on the cash-only train:
-Re-program your mind
-Pay as you go
-Search for better deals for paying cash
READ AND WEIGH IN ON FRANK MALLICOAT'S BLOG:
Raise your hands if you got credit card debt. There are nearly 600 million active credit cards in the U.S. so that's just about all of us.
But, things are changing. More and more people are cutting the cards and switching to cold cash. Credit Card debt actually dropped 11% last year as folks buckle down, and using cash only is one way to gain that financial freedom.
It's not easy reprogramming your spending habits, and it takes great discipline to make it work... but it can be very liberating.
We spoke to a Certified Financial Planner to get her take, and spoke with a woman that has been credit card free for 15 years.
Watch our story. It may convince you too jump on the cash only rain.....there's also some tips on how to save a buck if you do use cash! Good Luck!