Leo at Zen Habits has listed 10 ideas for living without a credit card or any debt.
Living without a credit card isn’t as difficult as you may think—in many cases a debit card will work just fine. (One must be aware, however, that debit cards do not offer the same level of protection as credit cards.)
If you’ve got a serious impulse control problem with credit cards you may want to consider giving them up.
Here are a few tips we liked and thought were useful whether or not you’re going to give up your credit cards:
Save an emergency fund. Many people use their credit cards as a sort of emergency fund — if there’s an unexpected expense, the card comes out to the rescue.
Save for goals. Once you’ve got the emergency fund adequately covered, you can start saving for other things.
Get a debit card. If you need to use a credit card in certain situations, such as buying something online, often you can use a debit or check card instead, if it has the name of a major credit company such as Visa or Mastercard.
Earn interest instead of paying it. The problem with debt or credit is that you waste money paying interest.
Buy a car on cash. For those who have been buying vehicles with auto loans all their lives, it may seem impossible to buy a car on cash. But it’s very possible, and many people do it.
You can read the rest of the tips at Zen Habits. Keep in mind that the latter ones are for people who are going to live completely without credit or debt, which may not apply to very many of you. Still, the article has some interesting ideas. We’ve bought each and every one of our cars with cash and we’ve never regretted doing it. Sure, we had to drive a seriously lame Geo Metro hatchback during our college years—but we’ve never had to pay a car payment.