I’ve had my problems with credit. I never got to the Confessions of a Shopaholic level, but a long time ago I realized my limitations and simply cut myself off from the credit world. I paid in cash or money orders for a couple years and then when debit cards came out I used them. The last two cars I’ve owned were paid for in cash and there is almost nothing more liberating than knowing you don’t have that $200-500 per month payment that it seems all your friends have. It was a good way to live.
Unfortunately, if you want to buy a house before you retire … you pretty much need credit. And this is one of the areas where I think credit is a good use. Unfortunately, to borrow that much money you need a credit rating and in order to have a decent credit rating, you have to have some credit. So, I’ve delved back into the ugly world of credit by getting myself a secured credit card and just a couple weeks ago I got a credit card based on the modicum of credit I now have.
When filling out the application for the newest credit card, I specifically stated that I did not want a cash advance PIN for it. I have money in savings for emergencies if I truly need cash and really … who doesn’t accept credit cards nowadays? Loan sharks? And have you read the cash advance terms on your credit card policies? They’re always way, way worse than just buying something on credit. (And the terms I have for my credit cards, because of my history, are already onerous.)
What did I get in the mail yesterday? I got a cash advance PIN. Y’know … just in case I might need it, even though I checked the box that said I didn’t want it. There were all these instructions on how to make sure it didn’t fall into the wrong hands, including destroying the letter that I held in my very own hands … the ones that I didn’t trust with this kind of temptation …
So I shredded it without looking at the number.