Works For Me – Credit Card Alternatives

My husband and I are trying not to use our credit cards and instead pay cash for every thing.  Sometimes, however, I am out with the kids and realize I forgot the cash or didn’t bring enough cash.  (After using a credit card for so long for all of our purchases, it is hard to get into the habit of carrying cash again.)  If we forget the cash or don’t bring enough, I almost always revert to using the credit card.

My credit card offers rewards; for 5,000 points, I can get a $50 Visa gift card.  I did just that a few weeks ago, and now I don’t carry the credit card with me at all; instead I carry the $50 Visa gift card to use if I forget the cash or don’t bring enough.  However, since I have been doing this, I haven’t used the card once.  Silly as it sounds, it seems more painful to use this card than the credit card.

Works for me!


  1. Amazing is’nt it. it is like carrying a hundred dollar bill so hard to break it. It is wonderful that you are not bringing your credit cards.
    We carry are debit cards with us but normally that money is spoken for so hard to use that unless an emergency.
    Great post

  2. Just don’t hang on to it too long; most of those have a point where they start charging you a fee just to keep the card active. I would look into it, and when you get close just buy a store gift card for whereever you would be most likely to need the extra (for us it’s Target, but could be the grocery store or something for others). In fact, I would be tempted to do that right away so that I didn’t forget about it, but it does limit where you can spend the money.

    • Thanks for the advice. I will have to check into that. We just got it about two weeks ago, so we should be fine for awhile.

  3. My husband and I went to all cash 8 yrs ago. At first I thought he was punishing me but now that we have done it for so long we cringe when we see other people pull out the card. It has also taught our kids the lesson of delayed gratification. If they see something they think they have to have they add it to the list. In a month they take out the list and cross of the stuff they no longer want. Usually that is everything.

    My 13 yr old daughter told me today that she is going to save enough cash to buy her first house by moving into a small apartment when she grows up. They watch everything we do.

    You will get the hang of cash and then never go back. It is liberating when you don’t have a bill each month for the things that you buy.

    • Heather–That is an inspiring story! It sounds like you are raising your daughter to be very financially responsible. Kudos!

      • Thank you. It has not been easy. My husband and I have made plenty of the mistakes that we want to save our kids from. We just pray that watching mom and dad make them saves them from some of the big ones.

  4. Debit cards are great alternatives to credit cards and carrying cash. We do both, I carry a envelope system I bought from Dave Ramsey’s website but I always have my debit card for back up, although I hate using it. Right now I’m reading “The Cheapest Family In America”, it’s a great book, lots of info and tips and very easy to read.

  5. I use a debit card too, but it is too easy to use. sometimes i buy my own gift cards to help limit my spending, like to Starbucks, Target, etc.

    • Yes, I buy the gift cards too. My son’s school has a program that if you buy the gift cards from school, you get a percentage of the sale to use to offset tuition. I love that!

  6. Interesting strategy. Did you stop using the credit card because it was accumulating too much debt from month to month? I try to use my credit cards as much as possible, since they carry cash-back rewards. The key for me is just to pay them off in full each month.

    • We decided to quit using the credit card because at the moment our income is VERY unstable. We didn’t want to run into a situation where we couldn’t pay off the balance one month and had to pay interest.

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