Is Cash Still King?

Credit cards are the devil's own playing cards. You're either really good with credit card debt (which means you don't have any) or it buries you a little deeper every month.

We stopped carrying credit card debt decades ago. I'm not bragging about it. It was a natural progression of events as we tried to rein in debt in our early years.

In the meantime, our friends went on amazing trips, bought fancy homes, and expensive furniture. We kind of puttered around in a creaky, old house, doing everything on our own, scavenging antique auctions and garage sales so we wouldn't hear the echoes of our voices when we were at home.

I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a bit envious of our friends back then. It's hard to see others having a good time and buying pretty things while we tightened our belts one more notch.

Patience has its rewards though. Not only did we pay off every house we ever owned, but we retired years before our friends did.

I think one of the things that helped us a lot was our vice-like grip on credit cards. Once we got out of debt, if we didn't have the money to pay for something in cash, we didn't buy it. It was cash or nothing.

That can be a two-edged sword though. It came back to bite us early on when we needed a credit history for buying a car, so we learned to play the game. We put purchases on the card, but only if we knew we could pay them off at the end of the month. This gave us the credit history we needed without throwing us into debt.

If you can pay off your credit cards every month, one of the great perks of credit is that some cards pay you reward points for cash or travel. If you're going to use credit, you might as well have one with a cash-back incentive.

Nowadays, we make it a point to pay for everything with a credit card, even insurance premiums which are hefty, knowing we'll pay it off at the end of the month. It nets us a nice little sum of points at the end of the year that turns into a rebate for us.

Debt is a way of life, especially when you're starting out or starting over, but once you conquer it, never put yourself back in that position even if you have to go without for a while.

It's interesting to note that it's getting harder and harder to pay by cash. Everything is so digitized  that many vendors prefer credit card. Sometimes it's hard for me to wrap my head around that concept.

I don't mind using a credit card but it's usually for a substantial amount and not for a package of mints.

What's your feeling about credit cards? Do you use the ones with a cash-back incentive? Have you been at registers that say it only accepts credit cards?


We're hosting my brother and his son this week, doing all things touristy. It's been a bit of a challenge to entertain my little nephew. He's not your typical kid. His idea of fun is doing math problems and playing chess. 

Math problems! That's crazy! I'm wondering if I should get him to do my taxes.

Today is the State Fair of Texas. I predict I will be dead on my feet by 6pm. 

I'm feeling chipper though. The weather has been wonderful and my favorite holidays are coming up. I'm ready to finish this year off with good friends, family, and good food. 

Has the change in weather made you feel more optimistic?

FYI: Amazon is having Prime Days October 10-11. Be sure to check out their deals both days. I've been finding some excellent sales lately, particularly for home and garden.

  PS Greg tells me this coffee brand has been absolutely delicious. If you're a coffee drinker, he highly recommends Illy.  He's particularly fond of the Brasille.


Jackie said…
We got married in 1981 and didn’t get a credit card until almost 1990 so we learned first hand how hard it was to finance a major purchase.

Nowadays we pay for everything we can with our Prime card so we get cash points to use for some things and use the rest on card balance payments while also paying for it in full before statement comes due every month.

Prior to getting it used a different card that had cash back points and did same thing so it now has a great amount of credit if we need it and we keep it active for emergency purposes as a backup card.

Never been in CC debt before and never plan on getting into it either:
Dru Ann said…
That's what I did. Between college loans and credit cards, when I was laid of and got that large sum of money, I paid off everything and vowed that I would not live paycheck to paycheck. And like you, I do not have debt because if I want something, I save for it and then pay off the credit card even before I get the monthly statement.
Maria Zannini said…
Jackie: I remember that the law finally allowed women to get a credit card on their own a year before I decided to apply for one. That seems wild thinking about it now.

Because of my upbringing I was always hesitant to go into debt, but when you start out with nothing it's a little hard not to fall into that trap. Fortunately that only lasted a short time.

Like you, I put all but tiny purchases on the card. But I know people who can't pay off their CC debt every month. Those kind of people are better off paying for things in cash until they get a better handle on their finances. Everyone is different.
Maria Zannini said…
Dru: You were smart. How many people would see that windfall as a reason to spend money instead of pay off debt?

I personally know people who act that way when they get a tax refund. Instead of paying down debt, they buy something new or go on vacation. You have to think ahead. It's the only way to beat the "house".
Luba said…
If you watch some news outlets, they're saying that people are going into debt by using their C.C. to make their ends meet. I totally agree with you, though. I did not grow up using credit cards. My mom's golden rule, pay as you go or don't go. In this day and age that's improbable. Like you said one needs it to establish a good credit rating. Doesn't that sound weird? "Go into debt to get a good credit rating." LoL I was told not to pay off my first credit card, pay it monthly to gain that good rating. Of course, I now pay all the balance off when it comes. But I still can't wrap my head around it though. "Go into debt, pay it off monthly to get a good rating." But like you, I pay as much in cash as I possibly can when I shop. I'm frugal! I started a German saying at home: "Ich bin geizig! LoL (Roughly translated, "I am stingy.") 🤭😉😊
Maria Zannini said…
I like your saying better in German. I think I might start using it myself. :D
Luba said…
I hope you do, Maria!!! Certain people around me use it, too... 🤭😍💖