I remember growing up and seeing my mom cut a credit card over the trash. That was it – no more credit cards. It seemed to be something I saw regularly in personal finance advice forums and tips sections. “Cut up your credit cards.” But do people still cut credit cards these days?
An Old-Fashioned Idea
Cutting your cards is a fairly old-fashioned idea. As I said, I saw my mom do it about 20 years ago. In fact, they used to cut your card in the store if it was declined at one time (what a concept, eh?). Physically cutting up the credit cards is more symbolic than anything though.
When my mom chopped hers into little pieces over the kitchen trash can, she undoubtedly still held debt on that card. Cutting it up was to get rid of the temptation to use the line of credit. Cutting it up got rid of the ability to dig herself (and the family) further into debt.
Thinking back, I wonder what personal finance guru told mom to do this (or maybe it was my Paw-paw). Either way, it was one of the key things I remember about money in my home growing up. I may get around to eventually sharing some of the others, but this one came up more recently on Reddit.
Do People Still Cut Credit Cards?
So, do people still really cut their cards? Of course, you should cut it up before you throw away an expired or canceled card, but what about an open account?
When I was scrolling on Reddit, I found people are actually still doing this. It came as a surprise to me (just like it does when someone uses cash envelopes still), but I kind of liked it. This is grassroots personal finance to me. It is relatable and, more importantly, it works for some people.
Credit cards for me, personally, were never a huge thing to triumph. The majority of our debt is medical debt, student loans, and car notes. Credit cards never came into the picture much. I hold about a $500 balance on one card. So, whether or not I should cut credit cards never entered my mind, but it could be beneficial for some individuals.
Should You Cut Your Cards?
If you do not trust yourself not to swipe the card, by all means, cut it. However, you should not cancel or close credit accounts if you can help it. That can damage your credit and keep you from doing things like buying a home or starting a business.
In short, if you think cutting your cards will make it easier for you to control your spending and wrangle your debt, do it. There is nothing to ever be lost from seeking debt freedom.
Readers, have you cut credit cards?
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Amanda Blankenship is the Director of Social Media for District Media. In addition to her duties handling everything social media, she frequently writes for a handful of blogs and loves to share her own personal finance story with others. When she isn’t typing away at her desk, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, and dog. During her free time, you’re likely to find her with her nose in a book, hiking, or playing RPG video games.