Credit Cards

One of the big reasons we racked up a total debt of $109,000 was due to credit cards. We used credit cards to live beyond our means for years. We used credit cards when we fell short for food, or wanted to dine out, or when summer vacation time came. We were unorganized and used the “if we can afford the minimum monthly payment” mentally for a number of years. We had as many as five credit cards all carrying balances at one point. When new credit cards rules took effect in 2010 for things like minimum payment and annual percentage rates (APR) we sank deeper into trouble. We continued to over spend and maxed our cards shortly after, only to hit rock bottom and finally wake up in June of 2010. We have a single credit card today, with a $1k limit, and as we are just months away from being debt free I have no interest in jumping back into the credit card game. I realize this is a highly debated topic in the personal financial world, and usually comes down to personal preference.

credit cards

Credit Card Pro

  • Immediate access – unexpected emergency
  • Security – Lost cards can be canceled, protection against unauthorized purchases.
  • Rewards – Cash Back, Airline miles, etc.
  • Tracking – Allows you to keep records of your expenses and monitor financial activities.

Credit Card Cons

  • Easy of Spending – spend more money then you have,
  • Balance carry over – incurring interest charges for each month you carry a balance.
  • Late payments –interest and late fees increasing your overall debt.

As far as credit card pros go, I plan on covering the immediate access with a fully funded emergency fund. Over the last four years as we repaid our debt we had a modest $1k e-fund that covered all of our emergencies. For security I have similar protection with my VISA branded debit card. We have used it to book travel including car rental, hotel and air fare without issue. As someone who is now organized and has a budget I do my own tracking and don’t need a statement from a credit card company to do it for me. As far as rewards I think this is a true benefit. In researching the latest reward offers the best cash back offer in 1.5%, so if I spend $10k on a card offering me this reward I earn $150. Not bad, but I won’t be retiring any time soon on this rate of return. The credit card cons scare me, it’s too easy to use the card without having the cash to make the payment in full, and that dominoes into the interest charges, and increase debt. According to credit the nation average APR of credit cards is 15.03% and the low-interest card is above 10%, so you will very easily out pace any rewards you may earn with these rates.

A credit card is a tool for a consumer, just like a hammer is for a carpenter, when used wisely can be very affective, when used unwisely can cause major damage. I’m not ready to start swinging a credit card around just yet. Once we are a have a few months of debt free life under our belt and a sizable increase in our e-fund I might break it out of the tool kit.

What’s your take on credit cards? Do you currently use them?

Posted in Money, Spending | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Week End Round Up #42

Happy Friday! Welcome to our week end round up #42. I had a light reading week as I unplugged for a few days to get away with the family to a rafting trip on the Delaware River. We have a great time! We had a nice nine mile trip down the river. We saw some deer drinking from the river, were greeted by some baby ducklings, and got stuck on a few rocks. We all stayed in a small log cabin, played board games, had cook out, camp fires complete with roasted marshmallows and s’mores. A deer crossed right in front of our path on our drive home and I barely avoided him, but fear not no one was hurt. We did this mid-week and saved some cash, half off on the cabin and discounted rafting trip. We are wrapping up the week with a NYC trip and a family BBQ. What’s your weekend plans?

deer ducks week end

Now on to some of my favorite reads from the week:

Your Debt Payoff Journey; Blazing Your Own Trail @ the Frugal Farmer

It All Boils Down to YOU: A Rant @ Club Thrifty

“Cash In a Box” – My SNL Parody Debut @ Budgets are $exy

Here are some of my favorite blogs:

The Frugal Farmer
Femme Frugality
Monica On Money
Debt Debs
Enemy Of Debt
Disease Call Debt
The Broke and Beautiful Life
Club Thrifty
Budgets are $exy

I continue to featuring Interviews of fellow Personal Finance Bloggers, please consider participating.

Please e-mail me for more details.

Have a great weekend!

Posted in Personal Finance, Week End | Tagged , | 6 Comments

20 Random Things About Me

I’ve seen these type of posts a number of time over the last several months. I believe the first was Laurie’s at the Frugal Farmer. I’ve been wanting to do one of my own for a bit now. I’ve always been a fan of Letterman’s top ten list, so here’s 20 random things about me.

20. I don’t drink beer or coffee. I just don’t like the taste of either. I drink tea in the AM to get my morning started and when I do drink I’ll go with a random mixed drink.

19. U2 is my favorite band. They were my first concert I saw live. My wife and I took our children to see them live a few years ago. They are always amazing.

random things

18. In middle school my parent’s hired a lawyer so I could play sports. I have uncorrectable poor vision in my left eye, my school district did not want to be liable for injury to my good eye. I had to get a court ruling to continue to play football and lacrosse.

17. I’m the youngest of 5 children. They call me the baby and claim that I’m spoiled.

16. I’m a certified scuba diver, dive mater to be exact. The deepest dive I’ve been on is 110 feet to a USS San Diego shipwreck off the Long Island coast. Although I have not been diving in a few years, my oldest son has expressed interest. I hope to get back in the water soon.

15. My parent’s cash flowed my college tuition, mostly. I had one small $3500 loan which I repaid years ago.

14. My favorite color is blue.

13. I can’t stand laziness.

12. I once worked two jobs for a nine month period. 7AM to 3PM as a teaching assistant and 4PM to 12 Midnight as a master control operator. The 4-12 job had rotating days off so I didn’t have a full day off for up to 6 weeks at a time. Sure wish I was financially savvy back then.

11. I’m a very sarcastic person.

10. My parents were married for 50 years before my dad passed away.

9. I like just about any vegetable, turnips, brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc but I can not stand avocados.

8. I started shaving when I was fourteen. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have some type of facial hair, mustache, goatee or full beard.

7. I will be with my company 20 years this October. I find it hard to believe it myself, in today’s workforce most people don’t stay with companies for the long-term. My company is close to home, offers good benefits, and I enjoy what I do.

6. I have a BFA in communications, and majored in Television Production. My dream job was to work in Hollywood.

5. I met my wife on the internet. No, not online dating or chat rooms just a chance meeting via our screen names. We struck up a long distant relationship, we finally met, feel in love and she moved cross county to live with me in NY.

4. I have written 6 full length screen plays and for a brief period of time had an Agent in Hollywood.

3. I cried during our wedding and like a baby when our children were born.

2. I have lost 2 siblings to illness. I will never forget those days.

1. Our home is filled with incredible humor and laughter.

I hope this gives you a little more insight on the man behind Debt Discipline. Now it’s your turn give me a random fact about yourself.

Posted in Blog | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Week End Round Up #41

Happy Friday! Welcome to our week end round up #41. A great Birthday week for my youngest son who turned twelve. I took his Birthday off to take the family and a few of his friends to a local water park. Well we got rained out, so we postponed until the next day. We had an amazing day, great weather, plenty of rides, and tons of laughs.. I scored discount ticket and parking ahead of time and saved over $75. We failed a bit when it came to food. We were going to pack lunch, but with three friends coming along and not sure of their lunch choices we opted to buy at the park. Big costly mistake, lunch bill for the 8 of use for burgers and fries was $116. Ouch! Birthday week continues with a family BBQ this weekend. What’s your weekend plans?

week end

Now on to some of my favorite reads from the week:

What The Top 30 Personal Finance/Wealth Influences Know That You Don’t @ Huffington Post

Why Used Stuff is Better Than New @ Club Thrifty

Blogging Lessons learned @ The Broke and Beautiful Life

Debt Management Plans – The Key Fact You Need to Know @ Disease Called Debt

Here are some other blogs to check out:

The Frugal Farmer
Femme Frugality
Kylie Ofiu
Jen Spends
Monica On Money
Debt Debs
Shoeaholic No More
Enemy Of Debt
Disease Call Debt
The Broke and Beautiful Life

I continue to featuring Interviews of fellow Personal Finance Bloggers, please consider participating.

Please e-mail me for more details.

Have a great weekend!

Posted in Personal Finance, Week End | Tagged | 11 Comments