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Could You Go Without Credit Cards For One Month?

A recent study showed that people spend up to 20 percent less when they use cash instead of cards, so Good Morning America wanted to test the study's accuracy by introducing its own credit card challenge. The Farhat family of Arlington, TX, is going cold turkey with their addiction to plastic in response to the challenge — quite the undertaking for a family that relies on nine credit cards.

The Farhats manage to pay off their balances each month but admit they're spending more than they'd like. They were recruited by Gail Cunningham from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling to participate in the challenge, and she says: "It is by design that the lenders have distanced us from our hard-earned cash. It makes spending easier. It has a sense of unreality about it."

Rather than store their cards in a secret location until the month's end, Gail opted for more dramatic strategies like making the Farhats mow over one of their cards with a lawnmower. I'll be interested to see whether or not the challenge forces them to spend less money. Could you go a month without using any credit? Do you think it would help limit your spending?


Join The Conversation
alethia037 alethia037 8 years
I don't have a credit card... my husband does, but we use it for emergencies only.
daisymay81 daisymay81 8 years
As I live an hour from a mall I do use my credit cards often but always pay them off in full at the end of the month. We also have a credit card just for gas, we get 5% on all gas purchases. Day to day things we either use cash or debit.
gabiushka gabiushka 8 years
Never owned a credit card, and don't plan to. Cash and debit over here.
katherynn katherynn 8 years
I could definitely go a month without using my credit cards.. infact, I've gone two years! I use cash or my debit card for online purcahses and online bill payment. I stick to a budget, and, like Sundrops said, if I dont have the money, I work more to earn the extra money. It definitely gives me a sense of pride and I dont take the things I earn for granted like I used to when I purchased with my credit card. I saw the movie Maxed Out and it REALLY helped me say goodbye to my credit cards. If you're on the fence, watch this movie!! It made me a true believer in NEVER wanting to owe these people. The debtor IS SLAVE to the Lendor! And the Lendors are the Devil!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
a few years ago i would have said no way - cause i wasn't making enough money to even afford any food and i HAD to use my credit cards. now i don't use them if there's any way around it. i actually haven't used a credit card in the LONGEST time - i have an American Express but i don't consider that to be a 'credit card' since i have to pay it in full each month. i use my debit card or cash which is really the same thing all the time, and that's probably the best way for me to be financially responsible.
KawaiiAyu KawaiiAyu 8 years
I haven't used my credit card in months. :D Trying to pay it off, altho thats becoming more difficult since I'm buying a house... but it's still a better step from using it as much as I used to.
jessie jessie 8 years
debit all the way. we are trying to get rid of our current credit card balances....
sundrops sundrops 8 years
I've gone without for a year now. It's freakin' hard!!! When we don't make sure to use our cash budget we always run out of cash way before payday, but instead of using credit we sell things or work more to get the money from somewhere - and work harder on our budget than if we fell back on credit. A year ago I probably would've died of miserableness if somebody had suggested taking my credit cards away for a month without any kind of goal to pay things off and keep the cash flowing in the meantime.
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 8 years
Oh and when I hid my credit cards- I forgot where i hid them. So now they are REALLY gone! haha
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 8 years
On my heavy savings plan- I have stopped using my credit cards all together and pay for everything in cash. I have an alloted amount of cash per week that I take out every sunday, and when its gone- its gone!
tee0206 tee0206 8 years
I currently use my debit card about 70% of the time, cash about 25% of the time, and credit about 5% of the time. I'm working on paying off my credit cards, so I only keep one in my wallet for emergencies. I keep the rest of them hidden.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I could live without my MasterCard, but we use it for most of our purchases because we get rebates. Plus, it's way more secure to use credit cards to buy things online and to buy gasoline and whatnot. We don't carry a balance on our card, so we basically only use it because of the convenience, rebates, and safety factors.
rickimc rickimc 8 years
Credit Card? Yes. Debit Card? No.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
The only plastic im addicted to is my debit, since im unemployed ive slowed that down to until i can find a new job. I wont be getting a credit card until things are super steady.
verily verily 8 years
I only use credit cards for really large purchases, like airplane tickets. So that is easy enough to avoid. As for debit cards, I would be soooo screwed. I never keep more than $10-15 on hand, and that's just my weekly lunch money for work since the cafeteria doesn't do plastic.
bchicgrl bchicgrl 8 years
i could since i have gone without for the last 8 years since i messed up my credit :( but now that it's getting back to the point where it's like i have no credit except for my car loan i think i should probably get one so i can rebuild my history in a good way.
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 8 years
I am trying to pay off my credit cards and get rid of a few of them right now. I mostly use my check card anyway, but I have noticed my credit cards becoming a crutch. Its a great time to try to stop using them so much!
iamangiepooh iamangiepooh 8 years
I just paid off my credit card. I mostly just use my debit card. Like the some of the above posters, if I have cash around, I am more inclined to spend it. That's why I love having my debit card. I have gotten money stolen from me way too many times, and it's not because I'm careless.
oliveoyle625 oliveoyle625 8 years
CoralAmber CoralAmber 8 years
I pay off my credit card every month, so I use it for convenience and the rewards. I probably would spend less because it would be a hassle carrying around enough cash. Imagine carrying around $70 for gas, $50 for some groceries, and more for when you go out shopping for something specific.
chicagojlo chicagojlo 8 years
I use my debit card for day to day purchases, and our Amex only for things we get rebates on such as gas and eating out. I rarely carry cash, sometimes I can have $20 in my wallet for a whole month. I check my balance daily as I get paid on a weekly basis, meaning I have to balance all my bills out carefully with the little amount I get! We also use Quicken to track what we spend our money on, which would be a lot harder if it was all cash. Although I remember one colleague from years ago who would track every SINGLE purchase she made on her PDA, even a candy bar. She had a little spreadsheet set up and would monitor it constantly. She was a little too careful I think!
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
I'm paying off my credit cards as they're off limits at the moment. I haven't used them for months :) My debit card I treat as cash as well...since I don't carry a lot of cash on me.
LuvLeoDiCaprio LuvLeoDiCaprio 8 years
I don't even have a credit card, luckily haven't needed one.
rannew rannew 8 years
I could go without and have in the past, yet I only use one right now for the rewards, paid in full each time I make a purchase (when I get home I make an online bill payment). The biggest problem I have with the statements/studies that say you spend more is that I feel that the participants in these studies end up spending less not just because they are using cash but because they are focused on what they are buying, perhaps for the first time. Having to track what you are doing might make people think twice, whether they use a card or cash. I spend the same amount either way cause I only by things I budget and plan for and have the cash on hand for, but I use my card responsibly for the rewards it gives me.
bengalspice bengalspice 8 years
I don't even have a credit card ... and the one I might have from GAP is the one I don't use at all. I rely on my check card to watch my spending.
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