Monday, September 10, 2007
Was There Really Life Before The ATM ?
Over the last few days I have been flung back into time. Before the ease of debit and credit cards. When people actually had to go to the bank.

You see, I had this great idea a while back to get rid of all our credit cards. We currently have no balances on any cards and I wanted to keep it that way. With the holidays not to far away (gasp) and the fact that I have no real self control regarding such matters I decided it would be best to get rid of them all.

We had Visa's, Master Card's, Gas Credit Cards and Department store credit cards. To many cards and not enough time to keep track of them all.

So, hubby and I decided to keep one Credit Card for gas and emergencies along with our debit card.

I have to confess about having a little panic attack regarding this. I like the perceived security that all those cards hold for me. Somehow the fact that I had a wallet filled with plastic made me feel better. Even if I wasn't going to use them, I liked having them with me.

Last week I took the plunge and threw them all away except one Master Card and my Debit Visa Card.

I called my bank to request a new debit Visa card because mine had that three digit number on the back scratched off (from to much use, no doubt) so I couldn't order things online. I was told no problem and my new card would be here sometime this week.

In the afternoon of the same day I had to call Worldstride to pay the balance for Tyler's 8th grade trip to Washington DC next month. I had to use the Master Card because I had to pay over the phone. This was a new card that I had just activated.

Later in the afternoon I picked up the kids at school and since I had a few errands to run I went through a drive thru to get them an after school snack. I handed over my debit card to pay for their drinks and snacks. The nice teenage cashier looks at me and say's the wonderful words "I am sorry, your card has been declined". Excuse me? That's not possible. She runs it through again. Still declined.

It seems when I requested a replacement card they cancelled my existing one. Don't you think they should have told me they would be doing this?

Anyway, I figured no problem. I will just use the Master Card. I hand it over to the nice cashier with my children leering at me in embarrassment. She sweetly looks at me and says "I'm sorry, this card has also been declined". What??????

It seems because I had put such a large purchase on the card as its first transaction they had suspended usage until they spoke with me to verify the charge.


All I can say is thank goodness for the ashtray in my car where I keep all my change. I was able to count out just enough for the kids snack.

After this little adventure the kids were asking me what is going on? Are we poor now? I thought the whole thing was a little funny, unfortunately the kids did not. They informed me they actually knew people in the restaurant. OH MY!

That evening I ask Dave if he will please get me some cash the next day (Saturday) so I can have some money (I am surprised I wasn't breaking out in hives at the thought that I was penniless).

Garrett had a baseball game the next day. When I went to drive to his game across town I noticed that my gas tank was on empty. I stopped at the corner gas station when to my horror I remembered "I HAVE NO MONEY", "NO WAY TO PAY FOR GAS, AND I AM ON EMPTY!!!!!".

This is really not a good scenario for a control freak like myself.

I have a little coin purse that I keep with me with odds and ends in it. I looked in there to see if their was any cash so I could at least get a couple dollars worth of gas (which we all know is only 1 gallon) when I was so excited to find my American Express Card. I guess I had forgotten to cut that one up.

I was saved.

Anyway, this got me to thinking. How did my parent's survive without the ease of whipping out a card to pay for something? I can vaguely remember my Dad saying he wouldn't have any money until he went to the bank the next day. I think they went on Friday and got cash for the whole week? I couldn't imagine doing this? How would you know how much to get??? Maybe they just budgeted better than I do.

I had to write a check at the grocery store (because I didn't have my trusty debit card) and was a little surprised at how foreign it felt. I never write checks any more.

So, I thought I would take a little poll and see if I am the only weirdo out their who can't survive without a debit card. Do you have one? Do you still write checks? Do you pay bills online or do you do it (what my kids say) the old fashioned way and write a check?

Let me know, I can't wait to hear from you.

  posted at 11:32 AM  

At 3:25 PM, Blogger Kelli said...


Those were those paper things in a plastic case.

Yeah - I vaguely remember my parents telling em about those.

As Wilma and Betty say "Chaaaaaaaarge it!"

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Lori said...

I use checks a lot. Don't get me started on finances and credit cards, ugh!! We've had so many bills as of late, dental, medical, etc. that we carry a balance on 2 cards. With the holiday's coming, I don't know we will have to cut back. It's just all yuck! I take one day at a time and pray and it all seems to work out. We've had 3 root canals in this family recently, and that alone has set us back. Everything is so expensive and it doesn't look like it's going to get better (sigh).

At 12:53 PM, Blogger Joy said...

We're a plastic family here. Love the cashback on those credit cards! We use just one credit card and have a second only as a backup, for those times like you mentioned. We also be sure to pay off the credit card balance at the end of each month so there's no finance charges - because wow those can add up fast, ya know?! I don't use a debit card much though and checks for only a few things. But I love online banking. So, yes, I would be baffled to go back to only paper money...

At 2:26 PM, Blogger mom huebert said...

I used to be paranoid about cashless transactions. I think it had something to do with watching the evangelistic movie "Thief in the Night" too many times as a teenager. However, now I'm older, and I use my debit card for everything that will take it. Online we use PayPal, and in a pinch, our credit card. I only write checks to pay bills.

Last spring Hubby and I were on a trip and stopped to look at Navajo jewelry booths, and could buy nothing, since they could only take cash or check, and we had neither!

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Romie said...

I have cards and have thought about doing what you did - but now your story scares me :)

I do still write checks for any bills that come in the mail. But I do a lot of Internet shopping so I couldn't live without my cards.

At 8:20 PM, Blogger Ann said...

We're old fashioned--no debit card, no ATM card. We do have a Discover Card that we pay off every month for groceries, gas, etc. and a Visa for on-line purchases and stuff for work. My husband's paycheck still has to be manually deposited, so when we go to deposit his check, we get $80 which needs to last two weeks until the next check. When it's gone, it's gone...though we use our credit card a lot :)


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I am a spontaneous, out going, daughter of the King, who is married to a wonderful guy who is a quiet, shy, non-spontaneous, scientist who also loves the Lord. Truly a match made in heaven! We fight and argue, love and laugh, every single day. I am passionate about orphan care and love to tell our story to anyone who will listen. This blog is dedicated to that journey.

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