One of the biggest marketing ploys by stores this year is store credit cards.
My husband came home and talked to me about credit cards the other day.
On Thursday, he proposed to me cutting up all of our credit cards except for the main one we use. His reasoning was two-fold. 1) They're a time consumer. 2) They're a liability.
1. They are a time consumer on so many levels. When you have a credit card for a store, you are more likely to think about think about shopping at that store and feel like you should comparison shop. When you get ads in the mail, you're more likely to look through them when they have an added store credit card discount. Then at the end of the month, you have to pay one more credit card bill and take the time to do it. You also have to keep track of what stores and with what cards you've shopped with each month--because of reason #2.
2. They're a liability if your purse/wallet gets stolen. They're also a liability if the bill gets lost in the mail and you don't get it in time. You're going to be liable for interest or you're going to have to take the pains to fight the interest fees with the store--not something I'd want to do.
Many stores, but not all, make it only a really good deal to shop at those stores if you have their store credit card. Target is now offering a Debit or Credit Card option. But, the debit card introduces its own source of liability--once that money is withdrawn from your checking account, it is gone. With a credit card, you do have recourse with the company if purchases are made on it that aren't yours.
In this age of comparison shopping, I'm realizing that we shop around a lot. I do this all the time. But, with the money I save am I only shopping more? Is that worth all the effort? Am I missing out on living and on other things I should do with my time--because I'm shopping (whether online or physically in the stores)?
My husband has been talking to me this week about not being so consumed by getting the best deal, but rather focusing on buying less instead. I think there's got to be a balance. I'm hoping that I will take a few minutes in the future to do some quick comparison shopping online, but then after that to let it go. The problem with comparison shopping is that it makes me feel bad if I don't get the best deal out there. But, have I really gotten the best deal when I've lost a half hour surfing the web instead of making a batch of homemade cookies?
I'm starting to rethink how I shop as I get ready for this holiday season.
Conclusion: We decided to close several accounts. I appreciate my husband's desire to help me be wiser with the limited time we have. As he said to me, right now money is not our most precious commodity--time is.