Thursday, November 8, 2007

Disrupting a Belief System and My Consumer Universe

I remember having breakfast with a colleague and our boss about three years ago. My friend was saying that she'd like to get a credit card, but she didn't know how to go about applying for one. The boss said something, then my friend said something and before anybody could exclaim "Charge this breakfast on my platinum!", I had been dragged into the conversation and was already apologetically confessing (if "apologetically" is synoymous to "snootily" and "challengingly") that I didn't believe in credit cards. Of course, having been given an opening to poke fun at yours truly, the boss started teasing me about this claim. How can I not believe in credit cards? They're not like ghosts; anybody can see them. Then when he was about to pay the bill, using his credit card, of course, he made a big production of covering up the card because he "didn't want to shock me". Harhar. :)
The thing is, I don't remember if my Dad ever said anything to outright discourage me from getting a credit card. I do remember when I was a kid that he gave up his credit cards because they were too habit-forming. He would always find himself charging even the smallest item because it was just easier to do so. My Dad has always had admirable discipline and when it comes to temptation, his way of dealing with it is to steer clear. Thus, the credit cards were banished from our home. When he began traveling abroad a lot, he started using credit cards again, but he made it a point to pay off everything on or before the due date. He's a firm believer in staying debt-free, something that has obviously rubbed off on his children. Sometimes, I muse in a philosophical vein, peace is having all of your bills paid, being able to count on a steady income, and regularly salting away a little extra for emergencies. Hmmm, good habits, but where does faith come in? That's another topic though. Going back to Dad, he made my Mom and Sister supplementary cardholders. He offered to make me one too, but I declined.
I spent the first three decades of my life credit card-free. Of late though, what with traveling abroad (I'm making myself sound like a jetsetter, but I haven't gone out of the country in three years.) and doing business online, credit cards are beginning to make sense to me. To cut to the chase and relieve you of this inane chatter, I want you to know that I now have a credit card. I've had it for a couple of months now. It's a supplementary account to that of my husband's and I have yet to use it (habit dies hard), but, yeah, I've conceded to the times (The end is nigh! OT: Do you believe credit cards would lead to the actual mark of the beast?). I do still believe that we must have the actual cash for our purchases. We'll just pool the different amounts aside to later pay off the credit card bill and we must always pay in full! Always! I get hives if I owe money. Husband finds this trait incredibly tiresome, but "peace is having all of ..." The question would be, if you have the cash, why not just use it instead of the credit card? And the answer would be, because of the reward points. We may only spend for necessities (how I wish this was true!), but if we garner enough points, we can get some extra at zero expense. Now we just have to be careful and extremely disciplined. You'll know if we actually are by asking me in a few months if we still have our credit cards because the very minute I find out that we can't pay the bill in full, I'm taking the scissors to them.


chona said...

credit cards:
i totally relate to what you're saying! i literally cannot sleep at night with the due date the next day. and i really make it a point to pay in full. every single time. so far...hehehe

i guess maybe that's why i now have two plastic wonders in my purse (as of this week!), cause i've been a good girl and those credit card companies want me to fall down the rabbit hole of debt.

anyway, i got a call from another company, also this week, and guess what? i might have a third one soon. and to think i got the first one out of pakikisama to my officemate.

glad to know im not the only one anal about these things!

spinninglovelydays said...

CHONA!!!!! I'm so glad you could visit! Mwah!

And thanks for leaving a commentm hehe

maf said...

oh those credit cards!
i actually have three!
very soon, we'll be keeping only one! :=)