Jul 20 2009

Using my credit card feels bad


I have a like/hate relationship with my credit card.

I like the convenience of having access to my credit line at a moment’s notice. It does make larger purchases a little simpler, in a way.

But I don’t like making the payment. It feels like I’m paying twice for the same purchase.

We used credit to rent our moving truck, since if I gave them my debit card, they’d put a $400 hold on the account. I don’t keep much money in my checking account — just enough to get us through the month’s purchases — so $400 would be too much.

I then used my credit card when I bought some cloth diapers. I could have used my debit, but in that particular situation I felt more comfortable with using the credit card.

And then, I bought a set of tires. I got the tires, installation, allignment and some windshield wipers for around $475, which is a touch under the $500 budget I established.

[Not-so-fun fact: If you get your tires re-treaded, don’t charge it to your credit card! It’s a red flag to credit card companies, according to Living Well on Less.]

Next thing I know, the balance on the credit card is inching its way toward a thousand bucks. What. The. Heck.

I didn’t mind paying for the purchases, but paying that credit card balance feels different to me.

It adds up all my purchases and gives me one giant bill that feels a lot worse than if I just paid for it once and was done with it.

I’m paying it in full, and since it’s a rewards card we’ve earned a few dollars toward a cash-back reward.

Also, periodically using the card helps keep our credit scores high. We’ll want our scores in the “you are super-neato!” range when we set out to get a mortgage in the near future.

I guess I should stop whining about credit cards. I don’t have to use them. And, I’m fortunate that I can pay the balance in full. That wasn’t always the case for me.

Posted under Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

10 Responses to “Using my credit card feels bad”

  1. Ugh. I feel the exact same way. We use credit cards for the same reasons, especially if we have to make a big purchase and we don’t have the money immediately available in checking. I don’t know why it feels easier to charge it and THEN move the money out of savings to pay off the bill. It’s actually not any easier to do it that way.

    But I do hate getting a big credit card bill. Maybe it’s because for all those months I looked at the big credit card bill and didn’t have the money to pay it back in full, so it reminds me of that helpless feeling?

  2. Karen, I think you’re right. It’s definitely reminding me of my broke ol days!

  3. Hi
    You could set up on line to make payments after every purchase and it doesn’t hurt so bad like that. I use my credit card (Discover) for everything including groceries and gas. I just log in to my account twice a week and pay it off. I average around 180 cash back per year doing it this way.
    This year I discovered “gift cards”. I can buy them with my cashback and they are worth more than face value. For instance I can “buy” a CVS gift card for 40.00 cash back and I get a 45.00 card. This is so great, I actually increase my cash back. My latest was 40.00 for a 50.00 Sams club gift card. This is going to pay my membership fee plus 10 dollars left over. I was not going to renew my membership this year, but for free I am willing. This is a great program if you pay off your credit cards in full every month like we do.


  4. My card has a limit of payments you can make each billing cycle (is that silly or what?). I think it’s something like 4. So, once per week, maybe?

    Anyway, Cheryl, sounds like you’ve found something that works for you!

  5. I understand what you mean.. but what I do is I basically buy something on credit card, and then I go home, and immediately pay the exact amount of the bill as if it was debit :)

    Then I don’t worry about it.

  6. My card is like yours, Kacie, it limits the number of payments you can make per month to 4.

    For the last year or so I’ve used one credit card for everything I could use a card for during the month, and then pay it in full at the end of the month. It’s a big bill, but in a way I used it as a budget checkpoint: If that bill is too high, I get to see why we spent more than usual this month.

    I’ve been trying to wean away from it some because the end result is that I always have something to pay back, and I’m feeling extra nervous about the economy lately, so I’m not sure that will affect my perception of paying the big bill each month or not…

  7. Yuck, I feel the same. I hate using my credit card anymore. Most of the time it just sits in the drawer all by itslef, but every once in a while I do bring it out and use it. I don’t like to though. I like being able to be done with something and just move on. How’s that baby boy? :)

  8. I know exactly what you mean! I call it credit card guilt. I try to only use mine in emergency situations. Sadly, my definition can get pretty lax!

  9. I know exactly what you mean. I used to be able to pay in full regardless of the large amount owing, but ever since getting married and having kids I haven’t been able to and now I’m/we’re in massive debt. I hate it because I’m actually quite good with my money. Or at least I thought I was! ha!

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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