Why I love credit cards {Daily Money Saving Tidbit}

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Welcome to my next installment of the “Daily Money Saving Tidbit”:
Most “heavy shoppers” love credit cards. I used to be a “heavy shopper”, groceries, clothes, dog food, it didn’t matter, if you could buy it, I wanted to buy it. If I could use a credit card a credit card to pay for it, even better… Then came kids. My whole life changed. Shopping took on a whole new meaning. I was now responsible for someone else and I could care less about shopping for all the crap I did before. I shopped for diapers, formula and baby food, for baby clothes, medicine and juice, then one day it hit me… this baby is just going to poop in these diapers, and I’m going to need to buy even more to be pooped and peed in. Why not try to get the best deal on something that’s not going to increase my net worth and that in essence will be thrown away as quickly as I can buy it.

This is where my love affair with credit cards came from. It wasn’t during the days of my overspending, it was from my days of deal shopping (today).

With any love affair there are the good days and the bad days, but the following make my good days far better than the bad days!

1. Choose a card that offers rewards you will actually use. If you are scared to fly and only will do so once every 10 years to go to a funeral, your miles will expire before any friends or relatives will {thankfully}.

2. Pay attention to the interest rate. On the off chance that something comes up and you have to carry a balance choose a card that had a lower interest rate. Start with your local credit union.

3. Pick a good card. Stay away from double billing cycles or other credit card tricks.

4. Be aware of any extras your credit card offers. Some offer extended warranties for all products bought on the card, others offer rental car insurance, shop around for the benefits that you will use the most.

5. Do you drive a lot for work? Consider a gas card that gives you cash back on your gas/fuel purchases.

I often remember a story that coupon friend “Sue” shared with me when I talk about the difference between credit cards and debit cards.

Sue sent me an e-mail explaining her situation. Sue was working with very limited funds for this Christmas. Her husband had just taken a new job (a better one) but she would be loosing out on one paycheck since her husbands new job required 2 weeks of training at no pay. She budgeted enough to buy each of her grandchildren one special gift. She watched for sales and saw a great deal… she spent her budgeted amount at the retailer using her debit card. They were to ship her the item as soon as they came in. By mid December she was worried, the product had not arrived. She called the retailer and was told they were not going to be able to fill her order… and no substitutions were allowed. The worst part was that the refund was expected to take 8 weeks because they process it via check as it was a debit card transaction, had she used a credit card, it would have been in her account within 48 hours. To say she was crushed was an understatement.

I often say that credit cards can be one of the best tools for your financial success and I’m saying it again today… when used responsibly, you might fall in love with credit cards too!


Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • Ooh… I loooooove credit cards! Love everything about them, right down to how they look. Some of them are so pretty! I am NOT the kind of girl who's into pretty things, but I sure do find those credit card PRETTY!

    I don't entirely agree with #2, but I do also think this depends on the person. Don't ask me what any of my interest rates are… I don't have the slightest idea! I pay in full every month with the exception of my current 0% balance transfer. The only reason I have a BT is because hubby decided he *needed* to buy a new vehicle right in the middle of our mortgage refi. *sigh* I have financed his last two car purchases with a balance transfer check and it has been so easy. No need for a credit check and a loan. Yes there was a fee for the transfer, but that far outweighed all other options. It's GREAT when you have credit available for things like this. I have the cash to pay it off, but no rush at the moment.

    I'm still grandfathered (shhhhh, don't tell them) into an old Chase card that gives 5% cash back on gas/groceries/pharmacy. NICE! We both have long commutes to work, so rack up the miles and the gas purchases. Even worse since hubby *needed* to buy a truck. *sigh* I just drive a little 4 cylinder 5 speed car.

    Interestingly enough, credit cards have really helped with tracking finances in our house. Hubby is ADHD and really can not handle turning in receipts so I can track a checking account. ALL purchases go on the credit cards and I monitor them at least once a week. Thankfully, he doesn't have a spending problem as he is well trained in the frugal ways. So he doesn't always use the correct card for the rewards – oh well. The rewards still rack up so fast! Every time I turn around we have enough for another check. 😀 I have things running so smoothly with this system, he doesn't have to worry about "enough money" in an account if he needs to buy something. His purchases are just groceries/gas/fast food/tools, and he knows what's available to spend.

    As a side note: just this morning he reported that we're coming up on the 1 year anniversary of him not using his debit card for his personal account. In that time, the account has gone from $68 to over $1100. Some of the spending shifted to the credit cards, but most of it has stopped. 🙂

  • I like this post and it is rare to find. I am obsessed with finances too. My degree is in Finance, I’m a Retirement Planner full-time, my wonderful husband is very willing to let me take over our personal finances and I blog about it! I always say, “make your money work smarter for you” and credit cards have the ability to do just that with responsible care. We use our credit card on everyday purchases earning cash back reward points and at the end of the year we cash them in. It feels like a bonus around the time we need it most…Christmas! And best of all we have never been penalyzed by interest charges or fees!!

  • Thank you for this post. I believe credit cards can have there benefits if you have self control. My husband and I decided 4yr ago to do away with our credit cards after going through the Dave Ramsey study.

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