Think You Can’t Live Without a Credit Card?? Think Again.

For the last 20 months, I haven’t had a credit card. Not a single one! And my wife hasn’t had one for over two years!! We’ve been living life without a credit card! In today’s world that may seem crazy. Because everyone has credit cards? Right??

Not this guy!!

Before you think that something bad happened, know that this is by choice. My choice. And it was actually because something had happened, and you can read more about it here.

The short story is, we had a financial wake-up call. And getting rid of our credit cards helped us to better control our spending during a time when we needed all the extra money we could get.

And after the crisis was over? Well, we just continued with our credit card-less life. So what is life without a credit card like? I’m glad you asked.

Life Without a Credit Card Simply Goes On As Normal.

Our life didn’t change that much. Initially it was a bit of a pain to change over the automatic payments to our debit card instead. But once it was set up, it worked just like a credit card.

Could you live without your credit cards? You might be surprised what you can do. . . Click To Tweet

And since we became used to living without a credit card, we simply continued. We have simply substituted our debit card in situations where you might be tempted to pull out your credit card. If you’re worried about your information getting hacked, and thieves draining your checking account, then there are two solutions.

First, you can use Paypal on most sites instead of your debit card. And then have Paypal link to your checking account. Paypal is much more secure than most online stores anyway. Which is exactly what we do in certain online payment situations.

Second, you can limit the amount of money you keep in your account. Or you adjust the limit amount that you’re allowed to spend each day. Usually your bank sets the amount (usually $1000), but they will usually work with you to lower or raise it if you like. This is one of the benefits of doing business with local banks. I’m not sure if the big banks work this way.

We have a seperate savings account for money that would normally reside in the checking account, but that we don’t need right away. For instance, we save up for car insurance and dump that money in this account. It just limits our exposure to our checking account.

But for the past 20 months or so, we’ve been using debit cards and Paypal, and we have had no issues.

We Cover Expenses with Money We Actually Have.

Because a debit card is linked directly to a checking account, you can’t spend money you don’t have. Your card will simply be denied for insufficient funds. Which, while it would be embarrassing, would keep you from spending money you don’t have yet.

This was our problem with credit cards. We knew that we would have 2 paychecks per month (I get paid bi-weekly). And we knew what they would be. So before we actually had the money in the bank, we would spend it on credit cards earlier in the month, knowing that it would be there by the time the credit card bill come at the end of the month.

Which is fine . . . until your paychecks don’t come through like you expected. Or you lose your job and now all your extra cash is quickly earmarked for necessities like food and rent.

So now, instead of spending throughout the month with money that might, or should, or hopefully, will be there, we use money that already is there.

It’s Easier to Stay On Budget.

Not only do we spend money that we actually have, but we also stick to our budget more closely.

The main difference between life with credit cards and life without credit cards is that we plan our expenses as much as possible.

It’s too easy with a credit card. You know that whatever you buy will be on the card, and you will just pay the bill at the end of the month. Whatever it is. I remember looking back through credit card statements and not even remembering buying some of the things we bought. Maybe because I didn’t actually buy it. 😉 But it was far too easy to overspend.

Life now is more planned . . . at least as far as money goes. Which means we are spending less than we used to. Which means more margin to achieve some of those money goals that we have.

Other Things to Consider

By the way, I still do have a credit score because of the mortgage on our house. Oh, and I don’t get any cashback rewards. Which is fine with me.

If you need those cashback rewards, and a credit score is important to you, you might not enjoy life without a credit card.

On the other hand, if you’re having trouble getting a handle on your finances, why not try putting your credit cards away for a few months. It won’t be that painful, honest. And you might find things work better for you. We did.

Would you consider getting rid of your credit cards? Why or why not?

Tell me more in the comments, and please share this post using the social media buttons.


Chris is the original Cash Dad. He's a father of 3 and a mechanical engineer by trade.


  1. I go the opposite route and try to charge everything, using my statements to track where we spend. However, my husband and I have very similar spending temperaments and are not prone to overspending so it works out for us. The advantage of having the tracking built-in (and not carrying around so much cash) outweighs the temptation just because we’re both not shoppers. But I can totally see the allure of only spending cash, especially if your goal is to stick to a budget. Since one of our goals is to do a lot of travel, the travel reward points we get with cards is another big plus for us.

    • Chris Reply

      Thanks for stopping by. While I disagree with the credit card philosophy, it’s good that you’re keeping track of your spending and furthering your goals. I think you might be surprised how much less you might spend without using the cards though . . . ?

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