The desire for instant gratification is a powerful motivator and arguably one of the leading reasons some 83 percent of American consumers possess at least on credit card. In some instances, that desire can lead to outsized credit card debt and the seeking of relief options such as credit card debt forgiveness.
But we’re here to tell you, there’s something else. It is entirely possible to function as an adult in this society with a credit card. After all, if 83% of consumers have at least one, which therefore means some 17% of consumers are living without one. And no, it isn’t because they’re independently wealthy.
An Abbreviated History of the Credit Card
Legend has it a guy was having dinner in a restaurant in New York City when he realized he’d forgotten his wallet. Embarrassed by the situation, he put forth the idea of running a tab with the owner of the place. This led to the creation of the Diner’s Club card, the first consumer credit card. The success of that venture ultimately led to the creation of Visa, MasterCard and the American Express card. In other words, there was a time in which credit cards did not exist—and people got along just fine.
Living Without a Credit Card
Debit Cards: Granted, the way things are set up today, credit cards appear to be indispensible—but they are not necessary. Debit cards serve the same functions as credit cards, without their chief drawback—debt. Moreover, the money comes out of your bank account when you use a debit card, so it feels like you’re spending real money. This is in contrast to the theoretical money credit card spending entails. Debit cards can be used to check into hotels, buy plane tickets, rent cars and anything else you might be asked to show a credit card to accomplish. Again—without incurring the associated debt.
Save Up for Major Purchases: Believe it or not, there are human beings walking the planet who actually plan ahead for major purchases. We know it sounds fantastic to anyone not accustomed to operating in that fashion, but they do—and it works. What’s more, people who save up for their big-ticket items are typically happier with their purchases. They had time to consider the product, research it and make what felt like the best decision for them. Meanwhile, because credit cards make it so easy to buy expensive things on a whim, many of those buys aren’t sufficiently thought through.
Establish an Emergency Fund: Having enough cash stashed away to cover three to six months of your living expenses—should your income stream experience a disruption—is critical to your financial well being. This should include your rent or mortgage payment, car payment, food, utilities and the like. Basically everything you need to live while you find a new source of income. This cash can also come in handy should you encounter an unanticipated medical expense or a repair bill—you know—an emergency. This positions you to deal with whatever comes up, without taking on debt.
Bottom line, yes, it is entirely possible to function in contemporary society without credit cards. Things are just set up to make it look like you need them. Why? Because credit card companies make a whole lot of cash from convincing people they can’t live without them. However, saving up for major purchases, establishing an emergency fund to deal with unexpected expenses and using a debit card, will allow you a happy and satisfied existence, without taking on credit card debt.