I haven't had any credit cards for a few years. At that time I was in debt, I found Dave Ramsey, and I promptly cut up my credit cards, paid them off, then cancelled the accounts. Back then I felt all cool and impressive and grown up when I flashed my collection of credit cards (I had nearly 20 cards by the time I was 19 years old...I was also deeply in debt for YEARS).
So one side of the debate, the reasons FOR applying for some credit cards, were:
- I could use them in the event of an emergency
- I could carry some "status" cards like American Express that would show how "cool and impressive" I am
- I could earn air miles, cash back, and other perks when I use them
- I could build up my credit score
Basically those were all of the reasons I could think of to have credit cards.
But on the other hand, some of the reasons AGAINST getting credit cards that I could think of (to myself, in my head...really my head is a busy place!):
- If I have an emergency, getting into credit card debt would only create more problems (although the use of the card would temporarily give me some money, I would then be in DEBT and could end up struggling to pay back the debt)
- If I have a real emergency where I needed cash I can take cash from my savings/emergency fund. For a bigger emergency, I could easily borrow a large amount of money from a few friends and relatives (I know mixing money and relationships is a really BAD idea but there are a few people who would loan me money if needed)
- If my self esteem depends on what others think of me because of the things I wear or the credit cards I carry or the car I drive or other material things, I am not as evolved as I should be/want to be
- My credit score was high enough to buy a house so it should be just fine without amassing credit card debt
- I might be more likely to buy things I don't need on credit because I am tempted to rack up air miles or cash back, etc. That would be a bad thing.
- I don't have a job as of now which means I don't have a steady income. Using a credit card would mean I am pledging future income to pay my debt and I #1 don't have a set future income, and #2 don't want to be forced to get a job to pay for debts I rack up (this is the biggest reason I live frugally and don't get myself into debt...I don't want to be forced to work a 9 yo 5 job!)
So after much deliberation I decided against applying for any credit cards during these past few weeks when I would technically have the main qualification to get one, namely a job and an income. It really does make more sense, to me at least, to follow what Dave Ramsey says and carry debit cards with the Visa/Mastercard logo on it them which are backed by actual cash that I have in the bank but can be used just like a credit card. End of debate.