Paper or Plastic? How to Deal with Credit Cards vs Cash

[Rerun warning for long-time readers]


Credit card applications have really killed my love of snail mail.

As a freshman in college my first financial decision was to get a credit card. I can sense you financially savvy readers wince. Usually, credit cards and college freshman are about as compatible as the cast of Jersey Shore and afternoon tea at The Waldorf Astoria. Even so, my Dad insisted I have a credit card because my parents lived over 8,000 miles away in a foreign country. He also wanted me to begin establishing a line of credit, albeit a paltry one.

As an expat child in Japan and then China I’d grown up in cash-based societies. I didn’t even see my parents swipe plastic too frequently. The feeling of money in my hand, or leaving my wallet, helped me understand the ramifications of a purchase. The swipe of my debit or credit card made it far to easy to overspend before pay day. For the first two years of college I only would purchase gas with my credit card. The idea of getting hooked on the swipe (that’s what we call it on the streets) was too intimidating.

Unfortunately, far too many of my fellow millennials have found themselves in consumer debt due to credit cards. The use of credit and debit cards can be a dangerous game to play with your bank account. Overspending is an obvious source of the consumer debt problem. However, some people are just misinformed or not sure about the rules of credit cards, especially because banks and lenders love to make it easy for you to obtain a credit card.

The rest of this post breaking down credit cards can be found on!

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3 comments on “Paper or Plastic? How to Deal with Credit Cards vs Cash
  1. Debt Blag says:

    A good reminder that credit cards are but a tool that magnify our best or worst intentions

  2. I have the same amex blue card. I’ve had it since college. It was my first card. Thankfully my mother put the “fear of god” in me re: credit cards, so I’ve never gotten myself into credit card problems the way a lot of my peers did.

  3. Melanie says:

    I prefer to use cash because with credit card around I am tempted to buy unplanned and unnecessary things.

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