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Debt-Free Living

Credit Cards: Can You Really Live Without Them?

Can you really live without a credit card?


That’s one of the first questions I hear when I start talking about living without debt. Some people can’t imagine a life without that little piece of plastic in their wallet.

But I’m here to tell you that, yes, you can live without a credit card! In fact, it’s pretty easy. Here are a few things to consider.

1. Debit cards do the same thing, without credit, and offer all the same protections as a credit card. The new “chip card” technology that’s being implemented over the next couple of years will make debit cards even more secure—and that’s a good thing.

2. Traveling with a debit card is easy. One of the myths that’s floated out there for years is traveling with a debit card is more difficult than doing so with a credit card. Not true. Airlines, hotels, and rental car companies all take debit cards. In some cases, they may put a small hold on your account—but it’s removed as soon as you check out or return your car.

3. What about your credit score? How can you build your credit score without a credit card? A credit score is basically just an “I love debt!” score, so I want you to be more concerned with the number in your bank account than the number on your credit score. Most concerns I hear on this topic have to do with renting an apartment or taking out a mortgage—and both can be done without a credit score.

4. But what about emergencies? The unexpected is going to happen—you can count on that. If your credit card is a security net for you in those situations, I want you to take another approach. Build a $1,000 emergency savings account. Then, if and when you’re out of debt, up that amount to 3–6 months of expenses. Using debt to cover you in an emergency only makes a bad situation worse.

I promise you can live a life without credit cards. I’ve been doing it for years, and I’ve heard from so many people who have ditched them for good and never been happier.

Give it a try for a little while and see if you’re not much happier. I bet you’ll love the results!



  • Trinity Lonsberry

    I don’t know how to live without a credit card! I use them to cover the expenses that are left over after all the pay check money is gone. I do a zero dollar budget but my debt out weighs what I make as a single income family…’s seems to be never ending. I fear that, if I cut them up and don’t have them to help with the bills, that my family will suffer. I would love any words of wisdom that may help, see an end to credit card use….no negative comments please….

    • SteeleNation813

      Trinity, we had to buckle down on what we were spending money on. It’s really easy to say I “need” _____ when in reality it’s I “want” _____. If you’re not making ends meet, there are some things that just need to go. Maybe it’s cable, maybe it’s a large data plan, maybe it’s driving to work when you can walk, maybe it’s take-out/eating out. Cut down your expenses as much as possible. You won’t make any traction if you keep borrowing/using credit. I understand that it can be scary. Most Dave Ramsey followers would say to just cut them up! And I totally agree but right now you’re scared. Sounds like you have multiple cards. In the short term, cut up many of your cards. When you see that you can make some traction and not need those cards, cut up more of them. Keep cutting until they’re gone. Keep paying off your debt until they’re gone! You can totally do it!

      • Trinity Lonsberry

        Thank you, for the words of inspiration!