Sunday

Living Without Credit Cards

If you read this post (Eliminate Credit Card Debt, The Beginning) you'll recall that my wife and I decided to get our credit card debt under control in November of 1997. This necessitated that our family would have to stop the use of our credit cards.

Christmas ImageWhen you are used to having credit available the sudden withdrawal can be traumatic. Not having a credit card isn't too hard but it does require a little more planning. We picked a tough time to stop with the Christmas Holidays coming up.

It's amazing the time of year that we used the credit cards the most wasn't as hard to get through as I would have anticipated. We just had to set priorities, our kids were 1, 4 & 8 years old at the time so they were still easy to take care of at this time of year. We deferred any major gifts for ourselves and concentrated on the important things "Tradition and our children".

The real test happened in early January 1998. We sent our third grader off to school (did I mention we lived along the central Maine coast at the time) on a nice morning. Ten minutes later he was back and said there was no crossing guard. Well the street he has to cross is not busy at all so we sent him back. You see he was running late an we figured the guard left early. This time he was back again and he said he met another mom and her kid walking back from school. He stated that school was closed due to the coming ice storm.

electric towers collapsed ImageThis was the beginning of 12 days of stress. It started with freezing rain at around noon. We lost power around 4pm. When I heard pine trees starting to snap I moved the car out of the garage and onto the street. This turned out to be a good thing because branches off of the pine tree overhanging our driveway and electrical hookup snapped and not only blocked the garage but ensured we wouldn't be getting electricity any time soon.

We were without power for 11 days. The next day I went into town and there were wires down arcing and sparking everywhere. Just north in Canada they had high tension wire towers collapse like dominoes. This was the worst ice storm in Canadian history.

Ice Storm ImageI immediately felt a little lost without the ability use a credit card. How would we manage this event? We stayed in the house two nights then decided we had to find a warmer place for the kids.

We spent the weekend at her sisters in Connecticut. We called our house and the answering machine didn't pick up so we knew we were still without power. We then called a neighbor and their machine picked up. They weren't home but we knew they had power. When we left my wife's sister asked where are you going to stay, we replied at our neighbors. They didn't know it yet but they had power and that is why you get to know your neighbors.

We then spent a night at our neighbors place. The next day with a little help our heater blower was wired into a neighbor's electrical box, this allowed the oil heat to warm the place up. Now we ran an extension cord 200 feet to an outlet on the back of a house behind us. This allowed us to run the living room almost like normal. A couple of light a computer and the TV. If we wanted to run the electric wok we had to turn off a couple items.

After 11 days the TV nightly news declared all the power was restored. We were surprised because ours was still out. By midnight they were at our house to hook things back up. So after 11 days we finally had our power restored.

What was the point of this meandering?

Even faced with a major disaster I didn't need to use a credit card. We used a little imagination and a little assistance from our neighbors and managed to come through this with good memories and some great stories. To top it off we came through it without adding any more debt to our credit cards.

8 comments:

CreditClever said...

The key to avoiding credit card debt is living within means, nto spending more than you make. And good financial planning. And, oh yes, a little imagination:)

BizBlogged1 said...

Credit Cards are very useful financial tools. I learned how to use credit cards the hard way.

Finance blog, finance,economics,Corporate finance,Personal finance,Investing,Marketing

Debt Help said...

I think this is an amazing blog... with great advice. Thank you so much.

Get out of Debt said...

Great experience. Controlling the temptation to use the card while it was in your pocket was like winning an already lost match. Management and imaginative thinking really works wonders although the results may be small but the experience and satisfaction is too good.

honey said...

I was wondering how long it would take before hookers started taking credit cards.....credit card swipe machines

Ethel said...

Credit cards are favorable for most of us because it is very convenient. However, to avoid falling into a "debt trap" you need to be cautious in using it. My colleague had learned a difficult lesson in credit card management. She is a natural spender. Unfortunately, a family crisis happened and she was unable to make regular payments. Her sister suggested that she look for a reputable debt settlement, Ontario based firm. Fortunately, she was able get out of the financial crisis.

Actually, she is the one who suggested to my aunt about debt settlement. San Bernadino County, for sure has several reputable financial advisers available for consultations. And we're positive she'll solve her financial problems soon.Thanks for sharing this helpful post. I certainly enjoyed and learned a lot from this post.

alen mcmilan said...

I would say now a days mostly peoples are using credit card for her personal shopping and I think its very easy to use and and very useful for every one even Is am also use credit card for my shopping.
Toronto Debt Consolidation

credit cards rebuild credit said...

This is really fantastic site. I want to share a e-book which i found when i surf on internet i found it very interesting. It has given you the ways to improve credit card score.

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