Becoming Debt Free in 2009

April 28, 2009

Perception of Credit Card Users

Filed under: Credit Cards — ambercouric @ 8:33 am

I spent the weekend shopping.  I’m not one that likes to shop but in order to get the best deal sometimes I just have to bite the bullet and shop.   Many times the first place I check has the best price but that is a whole other story.

So, this weekend my son and I had to shop.  He had no desire to be there any more than I did but we suffered through.   The entire day ended up being a conversation about credit cards.  As we would go through each checkout, Kennedy would listen to see if shoppers were paying with debit or credit – I think we were the only ones with cash at the few stores we went to.

I have never paid any attention to who pays with credit and who pays with debit.  But, Kennedy was quick to note how many people used a credit card even in the grocery store.  In his limited understanding of shopping, he came to the conclusion that these people probably didn’t have much money.  I on the other hand immediately thought maybe they just wanted airline miles.

Then I was talking to my neighbor and she was complaining about her husband using credit cards.  He does pay off the cards each month but she is embarrassed when they go out to dinner and he uses his LL Bean card to get the points.  She said she actually feels poor when they use the credit card.

I have never been one to use a credit card for minor purchases but I often used it for big purchases $500+.  I also have never given much thought to the people who use cards as to if they can afford or not whatever the purchase.

So, I want you thoughts.  Do you have a perception of people who use credit cards?  Do you use your card for minor everyday purchases? Or are you in the  Dave Ramsey credit cards are evil camp?



  1. I don’t really have that perception of OTHER people using credit cards (being poor, I mean), but if I’m using a credit card for a small purchase, I feel like it makes ME look that way. Probably because in the past when I’d use a credit card for a small purchase it WAS because I was poor and probably couldn’t afford to purchase what I was buying.

    Comment by Jennifer — April 28, 2009 @ 8:55 am

  2. Way before the BK and my life falling apart, I used to use my Am Ex and another credit card because of the points towards miles all the time. I also paid them off like a responsible person. I don’t think I used it for a $5 charge, but anything over $10 was fair game. I use my debit card almost exclusively for the same reason, my bank has a rewards program, not a great one, but If I can earn a few gift cards for spending my money, I might as well take advantage of it.

    And to answer your question, I don’t think credit cards are evil if used prudently and wisely, just the universal default clause is evil.

    Comment by bouncing back betty — April 28, 2009 @ 9:49 am

  3. I use my check card for just about every purchase I make. It’s technically not a debit card as I say credit when asked and don’t use a PIN but it does pull the money straight from my checking account so it’s not a true “credit” card. I can see how it might look like I’m buying even my $7 pack of stamps with a credit card though. I have no qualms about using it. I also have no issues with using a “real” credit card for purchases and I don’t look at others in any negative way either. Go get those points/miles/cash back if you can. More power to you! I would but it’s easier for me to update my budget when I use my check card exclusively. I do usually use a credit card for larger $ purchases so I can get the rewards and then pay it off before any interest accrues.

    Comment by Cynthia — April 28, 2009 @ 1:49 pm

  4. I love my credit cards and use them for EVERYTHING. Very rarely do I use cash. Of course, I pay them off every month, unless gaining interest on the dollars through a zero percent deal. I find them a great budgeting tool and tracker of all my spending. No secrets or lost dollars at McDonalds.

    And still, I am a bit embarrassed when telling the clerk at my local grocer “credit” when asked how I am paying. She has no idea I made over $500 in cash back last year. Go figure – the human brain is a goofy machine.

    Comment by Dedicated — April 28, 2009 @ 1:57 pm

  5. I use credit cards for everything; I never carry cash. In addition to getting cash back or points for my purchases, it minimizes my losses in the event of purse theft or mugging. Additionally, I never have to decide whether to give money to panhandlers – I can always tell them with complete honesty that I never carry any cash.
    I didn’t know that anyone even considered payment methods as status symbols, except for those who are willing to shell out the big bucks for the black Amex, an extravagance that I have never understood. I certainly don’t consider the cashier’s opinion of me when deciding what method of payment to use at the grocery store.

    Comment by Cat — April 28, 2009 @ 2:38 pm

  6. Since I am following the Dave Ramsey plan I usually use cash now. But if for some reason I use my debit card, I have them run it through like a credit card because I was sent a new pin and don’t know it by heart yet, and I do sometimes feel a little embarassed to be using a credit card at the grocery store or corner store. But, like another commentor said, I don’t really judge others that way. I usually assume they are doing it to get the rewards points. Go figure!

    Comment by Jennifer — April 28, 2009 @ 9:49 pm

  7. I don’t use them (don’t have one), but not because I think they are evil. It is just one more (at least) bill to pay, and I’d rather keep it simple with my debit card, checkbook, or cash. I’m not really concerned with the rewards aspect because I don’t spend very much at all.

    Comment by Over the Cubicle Wall — April 28, 2009 @ 10:20 pm

  8. Wow – I never thought to stop & think about others with credit cards. Sometimes when I see one of my friends doing, doing, doing, spending, spending, spending ~ I will think, there is no way that they have that much $ set aside… they must be like us (before my no cc days) How smart of him to notice – that is amazing that he is learning this sort of stuff now… maybe it will keep him out of the ‘debt’ problem that many of us are working our way out of now.

    Comment by jpkittie — April 29, 2009 @ 6:44 am

  9. I use my ‘card’ to pay for almost everything–but its a debit card not a credit. I suppose standing in a line most folks wouldn’t know the difference. I like it because my online banking with our credit union supplies me with a great record that I can click and sort and pull budget info from very easily. I also pay bills online from the credit union site. No postage and no envelopes and its free, plus it also keeps a great record for me.

    I’ve gotten away from forming opinions of people based on food stamps, wic or credit cards. I guess because I’ve been through some things in life and I know that there’s no one who really knows another person’s situation just by what happens in line. 😉

    I’m actually somewhat afraid to have a bad opinion of folks I don’t know know–lest some worse fate appear in my own life.. I know– kind of weird–but I’ve learned some lessons the hard way. 😉

    Comment by pokeberry mary — April 29, 2009 @ 8:41 am

  10. I have no perceptions of other’s credit card usage. It also never occurred to me that anyone one else would have a perception of me when I pull mine out in the grocery store, or wherever. How interesting. I use my Southwest card for lots of things. I use the travel points for free airline tickets, which saves me money.

    Comment by SimplyForties — April 29, 2009 @ 8:06 pm

  11. I funnel every possible outlay through a credit card. I am the credit card cashback queen. I debit it from my chequing account immediately and pay the balance in full, on time.

    Comment by Money Minder — April 30, 2009 @ 9:12 am

  12. I funnel as much of my bills as possible through a credit card with airline miles.

    Comment by Herbalife Las Vegas — May 1, 2009 @ 4:52 am

  13. I use my CC for all my purchases. I use the Disney points for vacation. But I also pay it off every month!

    Comment by kim — May 9, 2009 @ 10:36 am

  14. I prefer to use a debit card because it comes directly out of my checking account thereby preventing the illusion that I have more money than I actually do.

    Comment by Don Draper — December 18, 2009 @ 7:52 am

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