Even Granny Has a Credit Card

GrannyI was in line at the grocery store the other day. As usual, I was running behind schedule and tried to pick the shortest line with the most efficient looking cashier. The line I chose had a great cashier, but it all ground to a halt when the most dreaded sight to a rushed shopper appeared. Someone pulled out a checkbook. My first thought when that happens is why don’t you get a credit card? Even Granny has a credit card, right?

Who Doesn’t Have a Credit Card?

Honestly, who on earth doesn’t have a credit card? The only demographic I can think of really are elderly people. While it may seem like they are behind the times, maybe they are the smart ones when it comes to paying off debt. I honestly love to have older people come into my optometry practice. They generally pick out what they know works for them and write a check for the full balance, while I often see younger people having to jostle around different credit cards to find a combination that isn’t maxed out to pay off their bills.

I found this article on Time’s website about how many young adults will never pay off their credit card debt. It is kind of sad that we live in a world of instant gratification, and many consumers are sacrificing their retirement years to pay back Visa for designer shoes that were discarded long ago. One thing both my Grannies never had was credit card debt. When did we lose the mentality of not buying things we can’t pay for?

Recipe for Credit Disaster

There was a teenager who came alone for an eye appointment a few months ago. She picked out an expensive pair of glasses and pulled out her Dad’s American Express. It was declined. After a whiny call to her father, she said he would be right there. I expected him to pick out something cheaper or wait to purchase glasses. Can you guess what actually happened? Yes, he pulled out a different card, paid the bill, and away they went.

Now maybe the declined card had a very low limit. Maybe they pay off their balance every month, but I somehow doubt it. I have certainly had a love/hate relationship with credit cards. It took hitting rock bottom with our finances in order to finally begin to use credit in a wise way. Rock bottom for us didn’t mean losing a house or going into bankruptcy, but lots of other people aren’t so lucky.

Good and Bad of Credit Card Use

If you are responsible, credit cards can be a cornucopia of rewards, an easy ways to track spending, and a faster checkout in the express lane. If you are not responsible, you could be paying off credit card debt when you’re old and gray. Before you give the person writing the check an evil eye, consider the pros and cons of using credit cards for everything. Maybe that person is making the smartest decision, even if it makes me late!

Image: Freedigitalphotos.net

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Written By
Sydney White is a Texas-born stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her family, bargain hunting and, of course, writing. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Snipon.com.

21 Comments

  1. I hate credit cards, it only higher your expenses,
    credit cards are “you think you have money” but they truly are “you have no money” it is debt and the interest is too dam high!
    and it’s funny how banks insist on settling the balance before the first of each month and your pay check always comes after the first of the month so you are doomed haha!
    Credit cards are theft!

  2. I hate the checkbook people too! While you are queuing can’t you already write the date, the store’s name and sign it so you only have to write the amount? I used to see little printers that would fill the check for you but I imagine since no one uses checks anymore they got progressively removed I don’t see them much now.

  3. My mother did not have a credit card until she was in her sixties. She along with my father built 2 businesses, owned 2 homes and 2 cars. All without any debt. She handled her credit card the same way and paid her balance off every month. She had her card into her nineties!

  4. I like the idea of using credit cards for rewards but in all honesty sometimes I buy more than I would if I use cc. Right now I don’t use them at all because I’m afraid I’ll over spend and I am working on some important savings goals. Maybe in the future though.

  5. All credit cards are BAD. Use a debit card. No one ever got rich on stupid reward points. If you write a check, complete everything but the amount before you get to the checkout – when you go in the store know your method of payment is via check.

  6. My wife and I haven’t used credit cards in several years. We use a debit card or cash. And I’m the person in the checkout line writing a check at Costco, feeling the eyes glaring at me from the next person in line. 🙂 I write fast though.

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