Thursday, November 02, 2006

Guest Post from The Wolf: The Benefits of Losing a Credit Card

I welcome guests posts and was thrilled to receive a creative one from a fellow blogger known as The Wolf. Thanks so much for a creatively written post that contains many truths and some inspiration too. It definitely adds nice material to my current set of continuing posts on budgeting, credit, and debt.

Let me tell you a story about two of my friends. These two friends are with me constantly, going wherever I go almost all the time, except for Shabbos and Yom Tov. Very often they would appear whenever I needed something, offering their help in arranging the purchase of things I either wanted or needed. Then, when the purchase was over, they'd go back to their places and silently wait for me to call upon them again.

Their names were Mr. Visa and Mr. Mastercard.

Now, I am at least somewhat responsible about credit card use.

My credit is good, I always pay more than the minimum monthly payment and I absolutely make sure that the payment is in ahead of time. Yet, there they were with me, every day, racking up balances of $3,000 each.

Then, something happened - I lost Mr. Visa. Now, I have to admit that I am a bit messy around the house - I don't always know where everything is at every moment. I'm fairly sure that I lost Mr. Visa when I was cleaning out my wallet one night. I'm pretty sure it's not lost "outside;" - I still monitor the account and there have been no new charges for the last year or so - so I'm pretty sure that the card is lying around the house. Given the state of my messiness, I'm sure that some archaeologist will turn it up in a few hundred years.

I never bothered getting a replacement card - I found out that not having Mr. Visa by my side didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. And so, I simply go around with Mr. Mastercard these days.

In the meantime, however, I continued making payments on the Visa card, just as I always had. This might seem elementary to you, of course, but I was astounded to discover the balance going down. At this point, the card is nearly paid off - the balance is down to a few hundred now and in a few months, I'll be able to take the payments that I making to Visa and do something with them. I might be responsible and start making the payments to Mastercard; I might be prudent and stick it in savings; heck, I might even splurge with some of it - but the point is that because I had the "good luck" to lose my credit card (in a safe place), I'll soon have an extra $100 a month to put somewhere else.

What's the point of this story? Well, I suppose that it's a lesson in how someone can overcome temptation if they voluntarily separate themselves from the object of their troubles. True, it was sheer laziness that prevented me from calling for a replacement card, true it was carelessness that caused me to lose the card in the first place, true it's my messy nature that prevents me from finding the card to this day - but, in the end, I'm happier without it and will soon have the card paid off.

If I can do that through sheer laziness, carelessness and slovenliness, imagine what I could do if I more careful.

The Wolf


Jack Steiner said...

Losing debt is always nice.

Anonymous said...


Perhaps I am missing a deliberate pun but, otherwise, the word "Loosing" in the post title ought to be "Losing."

Orthonomics said...

Just a typo. Sorry.

yitz said...


umm, i missed the point.. either you are spending twice as much on your mastercard now or you were wasting twice as much money as you needed.

Or you were paying very little of your debt for no particular reason. correct me if i'm wrong, but if you aren't paying a significant portion of your debt, you're giving a lot of the money you ARE paying to interest.

in any case, i'm not sure what lesson I was supposed to take away from all this.

Orthonomics said...

I can't answer for the Wolf, but serious studies show that credit card holders spend a significant percentage more (unnecessarily) that cash/check holders.

So basically by loosing a source of "spending money," the Wolf is spending less through the temptations of having a credit card.