Why I Avoid Using Credit Cards for Everyday Purchases (And Maybe You Should Too) - Savvy Savers Academy

Why I Avoid Using Credit Cards for Everyday Purchases (And Maybe You Should Too)

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Yep, I’m the one at the grocery store holding up the line while I count our dollars and cents to pay my bill.

Call me old fashioned. I prefer cash. Here's why ...


FACT 1: Cash has an emotional attachment.​

As for credit cards, not so much. Why is detachement a problem?

We could swipe all day, everyday (and some people do) and not feel a thing. Credit cards turn money into a mystical unseen thing that doesn’t exist. This makes it SO easy to lose track of how much we are spending.

The emotional attachment to cash can work to our benefit. It’s a lot harder to part with our money when it’s cash. It gives us a little pang right in the heart. Ultimately we are more selective of what we buy and will tend to keep more of our money.

This first fact is the base emotion that forms other problems associated with credit (and debit) cards. 

FACT #2: People spend more money when they use a card (even a debit card)

Using a card to pay makes it especially easy to go over budget and run out of money sooner. It's directly related to the first fact that we just discussed. We simply don't feel any pain when spend on a card and so spending too doesn't register.

I’ve tested the theory myself. I had a set budget for groceries and was paying for them with a debit card on a regular basis. When I looked back, I consistently went over my budget by an average of 18%.

I’m an avid budgeter, so how’d it happen?

That little impulse-buy voice in the back of my head that says, “Yeah, buy the jeans, they're only a little more than you were planning to spend.” Or “Sure, put it in the cart. It’ll be fine.”

Which leads to my next point …

The true cost of a credit card

Balance: $3,000

​Minimum Payment: $60

Interest: 12% (Low)​

208 Months to Pay Off
$ 2544 Interest Paid

FACT #3: Credit card users purchase more unhealthy foods

Those paying with a card are more likely to cave to impulse buys and add extra junk food to their cart.


According to research, it goes back to that “cash = emotion” thing. “Since paying with cash feels more painful than paying by credit or debit cards, paying in cash can reduce the purchase of unhealthy food items.”

FACT #4: Cash payers hold their “stuff” at a higher value

When you’ve created an emotional bond with something you paid your hard earned dollars to get, you tend to take better care of it.

Researchers tested this and found that credit card payers were also willing to part with their stuff for a lower price when asked to resell the item.

For example: Two people buy an identical lamp for the same price. One pays cash, one pays with a card. When asked how much they'd resell the lamp for, the card payer would give a lower resell amount than the cash payer.

FACT #5: When cash is gone, you can’t spend anymore

​Let’s say you go to the grocery store and all you have is $50. You bet your booty you’re not going 1 solitary penny over your $50 budget. No extra ice cream jumping in the cart. You’re even going to pay close enough attention to know that sales tax won’t put you over. Who wants to be embarrassed at checkout and have to put something back because you don’t have enough money to cover it?

Is using a card ever ok?

Using cash for everyday items would include my groceries, clothes, housewares, etc. In other words, if you go into a store, use cash.

I do realize there are many places you can’t use cash, so I use a debit card. For example, paying at the gas pump …

I have little kids so it makes getting out of the car to go in to pay is difficult.

Anything online, car rentals, etc. have all accepted debit cards. I can think of only 1 instance where someone said they only took credit cards, not debit cards. So, I went to the next business and they accepted my debit card just fine.

I haven’t had an actual credit card for YEARS because I find that I don’t need one.

Are credit cards evil? No, that’s just silly. It's a piece of plastic. It has no morals. It only does what it's owner asks it to do.

Can they get well-meaning people into debt trouble? Yes.

And spending your own money will not.

I didn’t willy-nilly make up these facts. I’m not the type to trust just anything. There are plenty of resources and researchers who have verified this information. References for this article can be found here, here, and here. These are just a few of many other reports available.


Cameron is a Financial Coach who works with couples and individuals to achieve financial freedom and peace of mind. She believes being in control of money = less stress + more fun! Join her on the journey to think about money less and enjoy life more.