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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 02-27-07, 04:52 PM   #1
goldener
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anyone live a "card-free" lifestyle?

specifically credit card and/or debit car free? i suppose credit cards are "worse" than debit cards.

i do. i have no cards or anything. i pay in cash, or send a money order if cash isn't accepted or it is a mail order or mail away bill.

edit: i gots no credit, debit, or atm card.

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Old 02-27-07, 05:05 PM   #2
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That's wise. Though it's strange but if you anticipate getting a house, you will need to establish a credit history. That or save a lot!

Me, I had no credit problems till I got married. Now that I'm divorced, they are clearing up again.
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Old 02-27-07, 05:11 PM   #3
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I remember, as a kid, hearing adults talk about that in the 70s. I think everyone I knew holding out caved in the 80s for either concert tickets over the phone or car rentals.

GG you sound pretty hardcore, not even a checking account?
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Old 02-27-07, 05:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg
GG you sound pretty hardcore, not even a checking account?
no. just a savings account, well 2 actually (in different states, kinda a long story)... no atm card either. all my transactions are in person w/ paper.
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Old 02-27-07, 05:18 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by golden graham
specifically credit card and/or debit car free? i suppose credit cards are "worse" than debit cards.

i do. i have no cards or anything. i pay in cash, or send a money order if cash isn't accepted or it is a mail order or mail away bill.

edit: i gots no credit, debit, or atm card.

Why? just wondering. Debit cards are very convenient, especially for online purchases.
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Old 02-27-07, 05:20 PM   #6
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Why? just wondering. Debit cards are very convenient, especially for online purchases.
partly laziness, partly luddite, partly because i abhor spending money, and also partly because i don't buy or need much stuff.
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Old 02-27-07, 05:39 PM   #7
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Almost cash free here. I tend to go through cash in a hurry. In three weeks I am 100% out of debt, only using debit card for most purchases. One house payment and one final cc payment.
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Old 02-27-07, 05:44 PM   #8
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I don't view having a credit card itself as evil. It's just how you use it - people are foolish to carry balances. But if not having one works best for you - go for it. But as Artkansas points out not having a credit history is going to cause you some additional grief in life. And it's not just mortgages. Try getting a cell phone without one. Renting an apartment. Car insurance can be higher too (not that that would impact anybody here )

All manner of businesses are using credit history (and the score derived from it) to decide how they are going to treat you. You may even find it more difficult to get certain jobs.

Myself? One debit card 'cause I hate carrying much cash for all the piddling things I buy. One credit card for major purchases, meals, and online buying 'cause of the extra protection it gives me. Credit card set up to be automatically paid off each and every month.
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Old 02-27-07, 05:47 PM   #9
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These days having a credit card makes more financial sense (with cash back). Many cards will now give you 5% cash back on groceries (and they used to do that for gas but now it's 2% I think), so if you use cash, you're losing 5 cents for every dollar you spend versus the credit card when buying groceries.
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Old 02-27-07, 05:52 PM   #10
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I don't have a credit card because I've seen so many people get into trouble with them, and knowing me I would too. Debit cards are unnecessary because the credit union is only an 8 minute ride when I need to get cash. The credit union issues free cashier's checks so I don't write very many checks.

I do have a library card. I use that a lot. It saves me thousands every year. I not only read their books and magazines for free, I use their public computers and I save probably $100/month on computer purchase and internet access.

God I'm a cheap bastard.

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Old 02-27-07, 05:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by donrhummy
These days having a credit card makes more financial sense (with cash back). Many cards will now give you 5% cash back on groceries (and they used to do that for gas but now it's 2% I think), so if you use cash, you're losing 5 cents for every dollar you spend versus the credit card when buying groceries.
When I was young the credit card companies wouldn't even allow you credit for groceries, now they beg you to use them. Why is that?

And the 5% savings is illusory. If you're saving 5 % it's because most people end up paying 20 %. How much would it cost you if one payment got lost in the mail, or you forgot to send it in on time? I bet that would wipe out the "savings" for an entire year.
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Old 02-27-07, 06:06 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Roody
When I was young the credit card companies wouldn't even allow you credit for groceries, now they beg you to use them. Why is that?

And the 5% savings is illusory. If you're saving 5 % it's because most people end up paying 20 %. How much would it cost you if one payment got lost in the mail, or you forgot to send it in on time? I bet that would wipe out the "savings" for an entire year.
I'm assuming your first statement is rhetorical.

Your second statement is wrong - it requires a degree of responsibility, but it's a game that can be won. I pay all my bills on time to avoid late fees - a credit card would add (would add because I don't have a credit card. I have no need of a credit line - except at the jewelry store ) another 45 seconds to my monthly ritual. The people who DON'T pay on time are providing my 5%, and I'm okay with that.
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Old 02-27-07, 06:21 PM   #13
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I was like Golden Graham for years. But I needed a personal credit card for business travel. Now that so many stores have the swipe at checkout feature I don't use much cash. I love it. Since I'm a debt averse person, I pay it off fully every month. I don't understand the concept of "Get in trouble with a credit card" but apparently some people pay that interest. The thing about using credit cards is the huge data trail that you leave. As data mining tools become better people who have access to your usage patterns can make inferences about you. When they merge that data with your phone records, medical records and library records they'll be able to identify dupes and threats. For example, a just a few years ago some homeland security guy testified to congress that believers in animal rights and enviromentalists were the biggest terrorist threats to the nation. Well, if your purchase pattern shows no meat and no gasoline purchases coupled with checking out books on social justice and maybe some contributions to green peace you might find yourself in front of a secret military tribunal. For us though just putting posts on this forum advocating car free or simple living might mark us as a threat.
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Old 02-27-07, 07:05 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Eatadonut
The people who DON'T pay on time are providing my 5%, and I'm okay with that.
I think we're all paying for credit cards when we make purchases regardless of whether we pay with VISA, MC, or cash. Since they are a ubiquitous fact of modern financial life every business that accepts them (and incurs the typical 2 - 3% merchant fee) simply passes on the cost to its customers.
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Old 02-27-07, 07:19 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by r8ingbull
Almost cash free here. I tend to go through cash in a hurry. In three weeks I am 100% out of debt, only using debit card for most purchases. One house payment and one final cc payment.
Good for you! That is awesome, and is a goal of mine as well. I use a debit card because it is easy to use, necessary in some cases (hotel reservations, online purchases, etc.), and is safer than carrying cash.

I do not use credit cards, but know many people that use them effectively to gain air miles, etc. without keeping balances or en curing extra fees (at least they claim that).
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Old 02-27-07, 07:38 PM   #16
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I'm 100% card free. Never had a credit card, never going to get one. Don't even have a bank account. I pay with cash or I don't pay.

I used to have a debit card, but it's too easy to waste money, since it's not actual money, but numbers in some computer somewhere. I would swipe my debit card everywhere just at random, then suddenly "Hey! Where did the $200 I made last week go?!" I had to stop that lifestyle, so I did. I never carry more than $20 in my wallet anywhere I go either. It's a lot harder to stop that impulsive life when you can't afford it.

Even when I have something that I really want, I have to go home and think about it. I usually sleep on it and I found that after 24 hours, I didn't even want the thing anymore.
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Old 02-27-07, 07:40 PM   #17
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Those who always pay credit card bills on time must be a minority, considering the bonuses and "rewards" the credit companies can afford to pay them. I think they're just waiting for you to slip up one time. Like maybe you're sick for a few weeks and you can't concentrate on bill paying. I would be sure to know the penalties for a late payment, as I've heard they're quite high.

My biggest gripe about credit cards is the junk mail they spew out. I get 2 or 3 offers almost every day in my mail box.
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Old 02-27-07, 07:56 PM   #18
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I used to have a debit card, but it's too easy to waste money, since it's not actual money, but numbers in some computer somewhere. I would swipe my debit card everywhere just at random, then suddenly "Hey! Where did the $200 I made last week go?!" I had to stop that lifestyle, so I did. I never carry more than $20 in my wallet anywhere I go either. It's a lot harder to stop that impulsive life when you can't afford it.
I'm exactly the opposite. I'm more likely to waste money in the form of cash in my wallet, but I'm tight as heck with money via my debit card. I watch my account balances like a hawk (I have a checkbook app on my Treo), but I frequently forget how much cash I have on hand, especially if I'm shopping.

As for credit cards, between my wife and I, we have 4. I don't use one, but I use the other two from time to time. One's tied to my paypal account and the other I use because it has a 6.5% APR. Between those cards, my current balances total $150. I don't maintain a balance, but I'll frequently charge something to the card as I'm paying off the previous balance, so it *looks* like I'm maintaining $50-$300 balances. My credit rating is good enough that I was able to dictate the interest rate I was going to pay when we bought a car last year.

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Old 02-27-07, 08:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donrhummy
These days having a credit card makes more financial sense (with cash back). Many cards will now give you 5% cash back on groceries (and they used to do that for gas but now it's 2% I think), so if you use cash, you're losing 5 cents for every dollar you spend versus the credit card when buying groceries.
Check the fine print. Make sure that's not a 5% rate annually (so you'd get $.05/12 each month on that $1 purchase). Also make sure it's actually 5 PERCENT and not 5 CENTS. That was another "cashback" bonus I've heard of.

Chris
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Old 02-27-07, 08:00 PM   #20
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I have one debit card, and only because it is an accout set up through my job, I can not close it if I wanted to. I use my debit card 2 or 3 times per year, for airline tix basically. Everything else I pay for in cash. When I went to New Zealand last year I left with every penny I had in cash, about $7000. At one point I did use credit cards, but the data mineing that they do scares the hell out of me. With the posibility of identity theft, fraud, billing errors, and on and on I feel much safer carring a huge wad of cash knowing I am in complete control than using some machine that may or may not work.

As for credit history, you are correct that using debit/credit cards is probably wise, but I refuse to play that game. If I can't pay for whatever I want without a loan I will go without it. To me (and I do realize I am in the VERY small minority) home ownership is a sucker bet. You pay for 30 years on a silly house, until you get old and then sit inside and ***** about property taxes and how you can't afford to live in your house any more. I chose to live now, spending every penny I can and work as little as possible.
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Old 02-27-07, 08:18 PM   #21
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o me (and I do realize I am in the VERY small minority) home ownership is a sucker bet. You pay for 30 years on a silly house, until you get old and then sit inside and ***** about property taxes and how you can't afford to live in your house any more. I chose to live now, spending every penny I can and work as little as possible.
Depending on where you live, you can have more money in your pocket with a house. When I bought our house, the mortgage payment was about the same as the rent on a 2 bedroom apt. When you factor in the tax deduction, it's less than the apartment. Because I adjusted my witholding to reflect the tax deduction, I get more money in my paycheck than I would otherwise and I still get a small return each year. Prior to buying the house, I was witholding more money AND paying extra when I did my taxes. Therefore, buying a house put more money into my pocket.

In the 5.5 years we've owned the house, it has doubled in value based on sales around us. Had we sold it a year ago, the return would've been even higher (2.5times at it's peak). Not many investments can give you a 100% or greater return in such a short time.

As far as *****ing about property taxes, it's either that or rent payments. Property taxes are much lower than any rent I've seen.

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Old 02-27-07, 08:33 PM   #22
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I have lived on a cash basis in the past...right after my divorce Currently I almost have to carry credit cards because of my job. Otherwise I would be traveling from bank to bank ( I go thru about $3000-$5000 a week when I am working on the road...reimbursed ) You really have to watch the credit card companies. The latest and greatest trick that Citi tried to pull was charging interest from the date of purchase NOT on balances carried over. Got rid of that card immediately. I typically carry an American Express and a Visa Card from my credit union and that is it. They both get paid in full every month. We do use the points off the Amex for goodies. I am not against asking for a a cash discount if I am shopping somewhere. We do it at our bridal salon. We don't advertise it, but if someone pulls out a wad of cash to pay for something we will give them a 3% discount on the spot. Most stores won't do that, but it never hurts to ask.

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Old 02-27-07, 09:13 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
When I was young the credit card companies wouldn't even allow you credit for groceries, now they beg you to use them. Why is that?

And the 5% savings is illusory. If you're saving 5 % it's because most people end up paying 20 %. How much would it cost you if one payment got lost in the mail, or you forgot to send it in on time? I bet that would wipe out the "savings" for an entire year.
Believe it or not, no. I've been late before and they waived the late fee. I've also been charged for something I didn't buy and without question they erased it from the bill. Believe what you want, they actually do these things. (Now it's not out of altruism. They make a lot of money from the stores as a percentage of every sale. So if you use cash, they lose money. If you use a credit card, even with them giving you cash back, they make money) Oh, and the price at grocery stores is the same if you use cash or credit card.
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Old 02-27-07, 09:44 PM   #24
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I use cash for buying things, and invest for savings. Checking accounts are a complete con game, with a massive array of fees and charges for letting the bank use your money. If you want to save, invest properly in something that has actual time value. For internet purchases I just use travel money visa cards. These are not linked to a bank account and have fixed reserves.
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Old 02-27-07, 10:22 PM   #25
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It would be impossible for me to live without them. The trick is to be WISE with them. I only use my CC in an emergency, (or retail therapy! )so I never really have to worry about it. +1 on building your credit. The one thing I tell the young one's is to have a good credit score. It can reward you later in life, or bite you in the A**
Whatever works for you though, go for it.
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