Couple Shreds Credit Cards, Spells "No New Debt"

Robert and Helena shredded all their credit cards and arranged them to spell out “NO NEW DEBT” to cement their commitment to getting out of credit and living a debt-free life. According to the blog post over at JosephSangll where this picture appeared, the couple haven’t incurred any new debt in the two months since taking the picture. For some people it just takes a little ritualistic madness to break the cycle of debt dependency.

Another couple has started their Debt March! [JosephSangl]


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  1. new and troubling questions says:

    I don’t think I’d have gotten through the word “new” with all my old cards shredded, much less had enough to make a confetti border like that…if you have enough cards to create that, it’s probably a sign that you have a problem.

  2. looks like a good step into the #*@@#$#@Y$@# future. Good luck, and let me know how it goes

  3. Sam says:


  4. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    Why the guilt over credit card debt? Every family I know is in debt.

  5. Parting says:

    Bof, credit cards are good for chargebacks, warranties, etc. As long as you use it correctly.

    However, I perfectly understand them. When tempted, and unable to control the temptation, thats a great way not get in debt. (That’s was my solution in college, worked for me).

  6. ARP says:

    I guess credit cards are like drinking. For some, the only solution is never to use one again. For others, they can re-learn how to use credit cards responsibly. I guess much depends on your personality.

  7. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    I havent incurred new debt in 6 years. 2 months is nothing. Girls make people do silly sh*t.

  8. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @ARP: That’s a good analogy. Using credit cards is like drinking alcohol…moderation is fine…addiction will land you penniless and in the gutter.

  9. ludwigk says:

    @ConsumptionJunkie: um, the debt can cost you amazing amounts of money in interest and fees?

  10. SBR249 says:

    To Robert and Helena, good luck getting a good rate on financing for your next car.

  11. HRHKingFriday says:

    @dwayne_dibbly: I think a good correlation can be made between your underlying socioeconomic situation as well. If you’re in a bad situation with a low-paying dead-end job, you’re also more likely to engage in impulsive behavior. In other words, keep the booze and credit cards out of your life if you are trying to get out of poverty.

  12. krunk4ever says:

    Credit card are like tools that can go both ways (i.e. knives and guns). When used properly, they can save you time or protect you. When used incorrectly, they can cause irreparable damage.

    Obviously not everyone is skilled in using a double-edged tool. For some, it may be to never touch it again (i.e. getting rid of all your credit cards). For others it is to train oneself to learn to use it properly.

    Try buying a house without credit and you’ll find yourself saving up for way too long while not being able to take advantage of tax credits for 1st mortgages. Of course that may be the only way for some to go…

  13. Ailu says:

    Yay for this couple! *claps hands*

  14. korith says:

    It’s scary to think people have that many cards that they can shred up to make that. I might have been able to make one letter. Got 3 credit cards, who really needs more than that? Anyways whatever you can think of to help you get out of debt or in that situation is good.

  15. Morton Fox says:

    I received a survey about credit cards in the mail recently. It has a table 3 pages long for the survey respondent to list his credit cards. So yes, the survey anticipated that some people will have that many credit cards! Sometimes, I feel pathetic with my one credit card that I hardly ever use.

  16. LilKoko says:

    @SBR249: Don’t need financing if you have the CASH.

  17. LilKoko says:

    @krunk4ever: Will the tax credits be more than the interest charged over the life of the loan?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Between shredding the cards (paying high interest rates, but keeping the account open) and going on credit counseling (cuts interest in half, but goes on your credit report), which one is better?

  19. HooFoot says:

    @Morton Fox: I am not suprised given that nearly every chain and department store offers their own credit card these days.

  20. olegna says:

    Living without credit cards reminds me of my Muslim friends that live without alcohol. They think alcohol is evil and destructive. I argue that it isn’t alcohol that is inherently evil, it’s how irresponsible people handle alcohol. Instead of living without alcohol, live with alcohol responsibly.

    The same can be said about credit cards. Instead of melodramatically cutting them up and “forbidding yourself” from access to credit, it’s better to get out of debt and stay there while still using credit cards to manipulate the credit-score system to your advantage.

    I’m deb free and I use credit cards regularly to build my credit score in case I ever want to incur the “good debt” of investing in a home or, if an emergency ever arises, finance a car or whatever.

    Besides, some things are just way easier to do with a couple of credit cards carrying no balance. And it’s way more responsible than “forbidding yourself” with a pair of scissors.

  21. Anitra says:

    @olegna: The point is that some people can’t use credit cards responsibly; just like some people can’t drink in moderation. If it’s an addiction, you’re best off simply avoiding it in the future.

    I have no problem with credit cards, but then again, I’ve never carried a balance, either.

  22. Charles Duffy says:

    @ConsumptionJunkie: Then your circle of friends is made up of people with poor financial responsibility. Anyhow, “everyone’s doing it” is hardly an excuse for putting yourself in a situation where you’re eventually hamstrung by the consequences of your prior actions.

    My father taught me (without ever explicitly saying it that I can recall) that being in debt was shameful. Other than the time I broke down at the school cafeteria for needing to borrow lunch money two days in a row, I think that lesson has done me a great deal of good.

  23. johnva says:

    @pbmods: Better in what way? Better as in you pay less for those debts, or better in minimizing the damage to your credit report? It could be either, depending on what your situation is like.

    1) If your credit is already trashed, the credit counseling might be worthwhile. Just keep in mind to only use a reputable one. Also try negotiating your own interest rates down first before doing the credit counseling so that it doesn’t mar your report so much.

    2) If your credit is still good, but you’re having trouble making the payments, it might be worthwhile to try to protect your credit, especially if the balance isn’t so high. In this case, assuming you now have the discipline not to take on MORE debt, the best thing to do might well be to try to find some good 0% for a year credit card offers, apply for those, and transfer your balances to the new cards. Then for the first year your payments would just go towards the principle and you should be able to pay down your debts much faster. But if you go this route don’t run up any more debt on your new credit and read all the terms and conditions carefully about BT fees, etc.

  24. ancientsociety says:

    @olegna: “Living without credit cards reminds me of my Muslim friends that live without alcohol. They think alcohol is evil and destructive. I argue that it isn’t alcohol that is inherently evil, it’s how irresponsible people handle alcohol. Instead of living without alcohol, live with alcohol responsibly.”

    Huh, imagine that, not everyone thinks like you. While you may not understand it, that’s how those people choose to live. Just like Orthodox Jews keep Kosher or Amish live without technology, that’s their choice. Maybe you don’t agree with it, but you should respect it.

    Likewise, some people choose to live w/o CCs or other revolving debt. I say good for them! It’s not a choice I would make but I respect them for doing it. Just because most of us like credit, doesn’t mean we all should have to have it.

  25. yg17 says:

    My parents were into some pretty bad debt and did credit counseling and it was the best thing for them. They were able to pay the cards off at much lower rates. And it didn’t effect their credit too much, because towards the end after repayment, they were able to finance a new car, and then a few months after repayment, another one, and their interest rate on either car wasn’t too high, somewhere under 10% (maybe around 7%, which seems to be the going rate for 6 year loans)

  26. christoj879 says:

    More rewards for me :-D

  27. North of 49 says:

    The problem with credit cards is that it is at the point where you can no longer secure utilities without them. Either fork over a several hundred dollar security deposit per utility or get a credit card.

    And if you have poor credit history, you can’t even get a low limit (about 500$) card without a security deposit as well.

    Credit card companies have been preying on the poor and uneducated, specifically the ones who never got any consumer education about credit cards in school. That illeducation, or rather lack of education, has cost consumers millions and is a jackpot for the credit card companies that employ tricks and hooks to get consumers to use them until they are so far in debt, it’ll take longer than their children’s lifetimes to dig out.

  28. olegna says:

    >> Huh, imagine that, not everyone thinks like you. <<

    I’m not into flame baiting, but my point was clearly not that everyone has to think like me. I am merely advocating Epicuran rather than radical solutions to issues of temptation.

  29. SBR249 says:

    @LilKoko: If you can’t even be trusted to pay off your monthly credit card bill in full and budget your expenses, how will you be able to save enough cash to buy a car?

  30. Beerad says:

    @LilKoko: “Don’t need financing if you have the CASH.” Sorry, but I think the last time I heard of anyone paying all CASH for a house was 1960.

  31. SBR249 says:

    I’ve known friends who’ve paid cash for cars or even houses, but never cash that they saved up in a short period of time. Usually, by the time you save up the cash for pay for those things, you would’ve needed those things a long time ago.

  32. olegna says:

    >> Sorry, but I think the last time I heard of anyone paying all CASH for a house was 1960. <<

    That’s a great point. In fact people should understand the difference between good and bad debt. Equating a mortgage to maxing out a credit card is extremely dumb.

    Case in point: I have friends that put down $15,000 on a $120,000 Brooklyn apartment with a 30-year-mortgage. They invested $15,000 in renovations over three years. Durign the last year they didn’t even live int he flat; they rented it for more than their mortgage payment and coop fees. Then they sold the apartment and after paying out the rest of the mortgage walked away with over $300,000 in PROFIT.

    So, yes, you should have credit cards, use them responsibly, because it allows you to acquire good debt, such as a wisely acquired mortgage on property whose value appreciates over time.

  33. jmschn says:

    How come the “B” in “DEbT” is the only lowercased letter? They surely had enough to make it capitalized! haha

  34. gingerCE says:

    Wow–as evidenced by their collage–they had a lot of cards.

    I’m glad they are getting out of debt. CC debt and the attitude of “it’s normal” is so financially detrimental in the long term, but people don’t know.

  35. forever_knight says:

    @olegna: your friends, like many others, benefitted from the housing bubble. it’s a fluke.

  36. UpsetPanda says:

    I think the photo is evidence that they had so much debt that the most drastic measure they could take was the most logical…for most people, getting out of debt is more like leaving the cards at home but for them, I guess cutting them up was the only way.

  37. Nealjs says:

    @jmschn: Yeah that’s bugging the hell out of me too. Why is the b the only lower case letter? Why am I a freak?

  38. olegna says:

    @Foreverknight: Perhaps. But you’re not seriously arguing that a mortgage is the same as cc debt, are you? How do you think Donald Trump got rich? He’s not Bill Gates. Hes the Sun King of New York precisely for his ability to incur “good debt”. Many real estate investments appreciate in value. Virtually anything you buy with a credit card doesn’t.

    In any case, even if you’re getting a mortgage simply to own a home (and not as an investment) your debt is secured by equity. CC debt is not. It’s that simple.

  39. Spooty says:

    @Beerad: Let me update your data set. I paid cash (well, a check actually) for my house 2 years ago. No credit check, mortgage shopping, etc. needed. And it’s a nice house, slightly above the median value here, in a n area where houses are actually appreciating. It may not be the norm, but some people still do buy houses for cash. I don’t need to bother with deducting interest and all that nonsense.

  40. Alma Ritchel Merin says:

    Like the image, it is definitely a debt relief to everyone of us if you will commit to a No New Debt. Hehehehehe… This is a good new year’s resolution. But if in case you are really in trouble with this money problem you take a look and visit this site I’ve found: [] Just a suggestion.