Sunday, February 27, 2005

Credit Craziness


I love to say no to credit card companies. I have been on a anti-credit card rampage recently. I like nothing better than to call up the credit card company who just wasted 37 cents on mailing an application and telling them that I no longer want them to soliciate me through mailings.

Being the nerd that I am, I have been collecting credit card applications, not opening them, but simply just to see how many I might receive in the course of one month. I receieved over 25 mailings. Why us? We are the type to have a credit card for emergencies only, to buy airline tickets, and to make life simpler on a vacation. They are wasting their time with us.

However, it got me thinking...what a tricky business credit card companies run. They have your address for some reason, probably from the initial credit card you opened. They want you to open more cards, sinking you into more and more debt, only to come knocking on your door when you can't pay for them. An evil web. They would be happy if you had 15 credit cards.

When I was in my freshman year of college, I received my first credit card. I used it for stupid stuff like shopping and clothes. I soon realized that I had to pay for these things with my little work-study job at the public radio station. That didn't really work out. I had to pay it off over a year and learned an important lesson. Now, I understand that credit is a necessary evil. One must establish credit in order to get credit. For example, the necessary credit would be a car payment. Most folks do not have money laying around that they could buy a brand new car out right, but the people that sell the cars want you to establish some credit. So, you must have some credit. Ugh. So, now I know that credit is a balance. Use it wisely.

I make my car payment each month and I feel okay about that debt. But I never want to be in credit card debt. I won't. Everyone has different takes on this sensitive subject, but that is mine.

8 comments:

thequeen said...

I don't believe in credit cards. I just don't think they are a good idea. Some people tell me I am wrong and all the reasons, but hey I am the one with no credit card debt!I don't even want one for flying purposes as I don't fly and I go on vacations close to home so, for me a credit card would be pointless and would probably get me in alot of darn trouble that I wouldn't want!:)

Mathman said...

I use my credit card mainly because I get cash back on my purchased. I pay it off two times a month in order to make sure that I don't spend more money that I actually have. But it is still difficult, so I am considering stopping use of my cards.

Mishka said...

I have two credit cards, one that I use and one for backup. I pay it off every month so I don't pay any finance charges. I use it as a replacement for cash as I don't live near my bank and would be paying a ton in charges if I used atms all the time. I like using my credit card but I do understand that it has to be done wisely which is why it is paid off every month no matter what.

Thequeen-I understand you position but as an avid traveler that requires flying, I have to say there are some amazing things you are missing. I am willing to endure the evils of credit in that regard.

Sara-if you want to stop getting credit card offers, you can. It is pretty easy. Just call 1-888-567-8688 and they will mark your name on all three big credit reporting agencies to not receive offers (I do it every five years for my husband and me for both of our mailing addresses). This does not hurt your credit and in fact it can help it as not having so many inquiries will raise your credit score. You can do it permanently or just for 5 years if you want (unless you like the offers). You can also write or call the DMA to reduce junk mail and of course there is the No Call Registry to stop telemarketers...I think they might even have a site now to stop spam but I am not sure I would do that as it might just be a way to verify your email address.

Anyhow, good luck with your offers, hope the number doesn't get too high....

Mama Duck said...

I had one of those banner weeks prior to Christmas, in one day I got something ridiculous like 6 applications. Somehow I think that the credit card companies missed out on the fact that I am not employed and get a $200 monthly allowance from my husband.

Actually, truth be told? That's what they want...someone who can't pay and they reap the benefits of the late fees and finance charges.

Dree said...

I have quite a few credit cards, but I'm good about keeping on top of payments and such. I've probably got about 4 store-specific cards, and 3 regular cards (one is for purchases, one is for college tuition only, and the other one I just paid off last night - whoo-hoo!).

But credit card offers? Hate 'em. I could paper my walls with all the mail I get from credit card companies. They should save their money.

Amy said...

I never had credit card debt until I moved to NYC and all went to hell. The moral of the story: don't move to NYC w/o job or savings. But, I do secretly love the card that gives me air miles.

Super Rachel Zana said...

We have a credit card that we use to buy EVERYTHING with because it earns FREE BOOKS. Free books are wonderful, amazing and tantalizing. However, we never buy anything with it that isn't budgeted in our budget or that hasn't been discussed at great length responsibly. We pay our bill off every month and never would buy something that we didn't have money to buy, so our books really are free. I get to chose the books every month because I am the miserable girl who keeps track of the budget which is a task I abhor.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sara! One thing I have started doing is to open the credit card offers and remove my name from all of it and send it and the envelope it came in back to them in their prepaid envelope. That way they have to pay postage AGAIN and someone to open all that junk LOL. Sometimes I also put in another company's junk mail to boot!