Buh-Bye Credit Cards

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Ok. Mostly.  Let me explain.  

I've been using a Virgin America credit card for the past 6ish years.  I have only paid for a couple of flights in that time, the rest being booked with points earned on the credit card.  Sweet deal, right? Except that all the research points to us spending 30% more when we use credit vs. debit or cash.  Also, the sweet deal of the Virgin card is going the way of the dodo on December 31st.  Thanks, Alaska.  (#!@*#&@!!!!!)

So, the demise of my favorite airline and their card got me thinking.  What am I doing playing Russian roulette with a credit card?  I mean, shit.  In the past 18 years, I've racked up and paid off $60,000 worth of credit card debt, and that didn't even buy me a Porsche.  That's whacked AF. It's definitely been great paying the damn thing off every month for the past few years, but still.  Am I one Nordstroms bender away from tumbling down that slippery slope again? Why am I so scared to use....drumroll....cash? 

We've also been brainwashing ourselves with Mr. Money Mustache's blog and Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps.  While they seem very opposite: an agnostic (?) liberal vs. a redneck Christian preacher-y guy, they both have a similar bottom line: "Get control of your damn money. You make enough, if only you'd stop wasting it". I'd have a beer with either of them. MMM tickles my badass, swear's like a pirate, common sense side and Dave reminds me of childhood sermons by a real ball-buster.  Win-win. 

So that leads us to December.  I'm sitting here, about to pay off my Virgin credit card for the final time, and adjust our budget to reflect using cash. Previously I was budgeting $1,100 at the end of each month to pay off credit cards, so now we are going to be moving our savings to the second half of the month and freeing up cash to use during the first half. 

We will still be keeping JT's Capital 1 for now as our gas card.  He's still wavering on the "But Points for Travel!!!!!" fence, so gas seemed like a good compromise.  It's pretty hard to go on a gas bender.  We also have had our monthly insurance, Netflix, Fastrak and phone bill put on a Chase cash back card. 

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***2019 Edit

I’ve managed to keep my card mostly paid off since this post. I now use a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. It’s $450 annually, but you get $300 back in travel credits (so, like, a day into the cycle), as well as other offers back. I still stand with my “no debt” stance. I can’t imagine divorcing and facing medical, student loan, car payment, and credit card bills. That alone would have kept me in a shitty relationship. Pay it off. Then live the life you crave.