It’s time to flip the calendar page, which means it’s time to end our no-credit-card challenge. How did you do this month during Lifehacker’s most polarising challenge ever? Did you find yourself planning to use cash instead of plastic? Did you cut down on spending altogether?
The second half of my challenge felt easy compared to the first half, when I actively had to think about what method of payment I was choosing every time I wanted to spend money. By the 15th, I was in the habit of choosing debit or being ready with cash at places I didn’t want to swipe.
Honestly, my favourite part of this challenge was not having to look at a credit card balance with remorse. This month, when I look at my bank balance, I know everything is already paid for.
I don’t have that feeling lurking and whispering menacingly, “You think you have money, but get ready to look at your credit card bill.”
This challenge helped me re-up my sense of financial restraint and showed me I can have a fine time without having a massive credit card bill to contend with at the end of the month.
In terms of my attempts to win at the rules I made up, I only achieved Bronze Status:
Bronze Status: You trim back your card use, but choose to charge necessary expenses that have your card on file, like your doctor’s office. You use your credit card three or more times for purchases beyond recurring payments and travel.
But heck, I’m feeling good about getting the bronze in this challenge.
Here’s Lifehacker Managing Editor Virginia K. Smith on her experience:
I’m pleased to report that for the most part, I did much better in the second half of the month than in the first! I avoided using my credit card for anything other than pre-planned purchases, until this last weekend, when I threw it down a couple of times for an unexpected dinner, a doc appointment, and a more-expensive-than-anticipated drugstore run (the price of Flonase is criminal, btw).
I could have afforded to put that on my debit card, but I leave today for a 10-day international trip, and wanted to leave a buffer of some cash in checking, so I went with credit.I didn’t stick to the letter of the law with this challenge, but I did spend more responsibly, get some significant reality checks about my money habits, and end the month with a much smaller credit card bill than usual.
I ended the challenge a few days early for the aforementioned trip (no way am I going to another country and NOT using my credit card with all its various travel protections and benefits), but when I get back, I’m using this opportunity to take another look at my budget and set a monthly credit card limit for myself.
If you took the no-credit-card challenge with us, how did you do? Did you learn anything about your financial habits? Fix anything that had been bugging you? Discovered that there’s a better way to use your credit card for the benefits while managing that tab?
Share your experience in the comments.