1) you do not NEED a credit card to make ANY purchase. By federal law, if a company accepts a credit card, they must also accept a debit card from that same company. For instance, if I had a MasterCard credit card in my wallet, and a MasterCard debit card in my wallet, a hotel or merchant or restaurant could not tell me they’ll take the credit card but not the debit card. They must accept both. That didn’t used to be the case. Now it is. Which means that there is no longer a reason to carry a credit card, unless you want to spend more money than you have. Which is EXACTLY what the credit card companies want.
2) You do not NEED to “build credit”. The vast majority of us already have credit reports, from a variety of sources – paying your utility bills, paying rent, paying mortgage, paying doctor bills, etc. If you are on time with all of your bills, that’s all you need. If you are behind on any bill, getting a credit card will NOT improve your credit score. Getting caught up on your bills will. The only ones who tell us that we need to “build credit” are the companies who sell us the credit. Which is nothing more than any other merchant yelling at the top of his lungs “BUY MY STUFF!” No more, no less.
3) If you and your husband really truly want to get ahead financially, Dave Ramsey, through his books, his classes and/or his free radio show, can give you a clear roadmap for how to do so. Listening to the banks and the credit card companies and their claims is only a map for how to get deeper into debt with them. The two approaches are mutually exclusive. We talk here on the list about strategies for meeting Dave Ramsey’s taught goals; reading through his books will help you understand why we have those goals, what they are, and why they are so important to do in a particular order.
Please know that you are standing now where a lot of us have been in the past – either months or years ago, and you’re asking questions that many of us asked at that point (and since then). Dave is not some new age touchy-feely magician. He is a financial counselor with decades of experience studying why people go into debt, and developing ways for them to get out of debt and build solid financial lives. But to tap into that knowledge, you WILL need to either listen regularly to his show, read his books, and/or take his class. Merely reading the posts on this Yahoo group will give you the “working end” of his strategy. You need the whole picture before you can make it work. But it will work, and it is working for folks who stick with it. I hope you AND your husband make the decision to learn more about the Dave Ramsey approach, by whatever means.