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5 Things I Learned During The 21 Day Credit-Free Challenge #21DaysCreditFreeChallenge #SKExperts

Here I am three weeks after starting the Interac 21 Day Credit-Free Challenge and it is time to tell you whether I was successful or not with this adventure.

It takes three weeks to change a habit. So that’s why I started this journey with my Interac Debit card and put my credit cards on ice. I shared my first two weeks here last month. Week One – Five Ways to Stay on Top of Debt can be read here. Week Two was Window Shopping. So how has it been overall?

I work from home. I have a consulting business I love. But working from home requires a huge amount of discipline. It’s really easy to get sucked into doing the laundry, for instance, and it’s even easier to get drawn into online shopping when your job is working on a computer all day. So, that part last week was the most challenging really. It is the start of fall, and in retail there are tons of sales happening right now. I see them every single day when I log onto my computer and start work. It’s easy to get distracted and want to buy that clearance swimsuit, just because. And it’s tremendously easy to whip out the plastic and buy what you want. But I also know that’s not the best choice.

What 5 Things Have I Learned Over the last three weeks during the Interac 21 Day Credit-Free challenge?

  1. Challenging our family to avoid using credit cards has helped me to be less impulsive. When I see the impulsive sale flyers taunting me as I am working, it’s easier now for me to stop myself and say I don’t need that and I move on. That’s progress.
  2. A lot of activities and stores and extra-curricular activities for the kids seem to rely on people using credit. It’s hard to avoid. BUT try to anyways. I wrote a cheque for a few things instead of using credit and I used my Interac Debit card often when that is an option. I wish personally that more businesses allowed you to pay directly via debit card. I think that businesses have a long way to go to be more consumer friendly right now. I am awake to that and aware of the fact that they have a stake in what I spend. BUT I am the one in charge of how and when I spend my money.
  3. I am forced to keep a closer eye on my bank account, which takes time. I often struggle with that, so I need to build a half hour into my week to monitor the bank account. When I know what is in there, I can spend effectively and stop when I am spending too much. I spend less this way.
  4. Credit is money that you don’t have. It is not a loan. It is borrowing against your future. You can’t do that endlessly. It robs you of being in control of your future.  Pay as you go with debit is a much better, simpler way to remain in charge of your present and your future.
  5. Debit is as easy to use as credit once you commit to changing that habit. It might take three weeks as it did for me but that’s completely doable and worth it!

The Interac 21 Day Credit-Fee Challenge is aimed at helping Canadians live better by being debt free. Life is better when you don’t have to worry about debt. The easiest way to avoid debt is by using your own money. Avoid using credit cards to make purchases. The credit card bill is a budget killer. That’s what the Interac 21 Day Credit-Free challenge is all about – living well and within your means is possible.

Disclosure: This post was part of a sponsored collaboration between Interac Association and SheKnows. 

Interac is a registered trade-mark of Interac Inc. Used under licence.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.

6 Comments

  • Merry120

    My mantra has always been “Use credit for convenience, not for credit”. I use my credit card a lot and don’t plan on giving it up. 🙂 BUT I love my Interact debit card!

  • Lisa

    I use debit as my regular form of payment, and it definitely does keep me more accountable for what I spend. Love interac!

  • Randa @ TBK

    I usually only use my debit. This month I am doing my own personal challenge (no online shopping). With paying rent in addition to my mortgage and normal bills now I have to be mindful of my spending.

    • Paula schuck

      Challenging but worth it. I could use more help with this from.the business side of things too I think. Knowing what to spend on and when to use interac there too could be my next challenge I think. It would be good to watch my business expenses more closely.

  • Suzanne Rudge

    These are some excellent tips (and reminders) Paula, thank you. I really need to put some into practice and challenge my family as well. We are so quick to put it on credit and then regret the purchase later. It has to stop (and start) somewhere and before the holidays really kick in is the best time.