It was a giant step for me, but when I realized I haven't used the account since last February--12 months--I decided to call and close my Discover card account.
It was in February 2008 that Eli and I started Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University (FPU) at our church in Tuscaloosa. It was in February that I put that card in a bag full of water in the freezer to see if I needed it. I thawed it when we graduated FPU and did "plastic surgery" in front of everyone at class. But... It was emotional, and I couldn't close the account just in case. After all, I had some sort of sentimental value attached to it. It was my first card. And now, a year later, I haven't needed it. But, more importantly, I don't want it. They sent me a new card right after we moved here, but I never activated it.
When I called customer service, he gave me a hard time. Started talking to me about my FICO score and how closing an account that I've had for 11 years would adversely affect my future credit. But here's the thing...I don't want future credit. From anyone. My goal is to be debt free. Eli and I are going to work to pay off our student loans and save up for a house. Not a down payment. A house. And yes, that may take us until this baby is in kindergarten, but that's the plan. And if, on the off chance that we find a house that costs more than we save up, we'll only get a mortgage for the amount we need. Our "down payment" will be greater than 60% and we won't have to borrow much, which means we won't need to have that much credit extended to us, which means that Discover can eat it. I don't need no stinkin' credit cards.
I'm eligible for my free credit report in a month or so, and I hope to go through that and make sure that I've closed all my inactive accounts--I'm pretty sure I have. And those wouldn't make a difference anyway since they were/are probably store accounts with only $100 credit limit or something. I was 18-22 when they were opened (haven't opened any since college, except for the Rooms To Go account 3 years ago, which we paid in full in a couple of months) and so they have long since been forgotten/closed/unused.
I will also have to go through Eli's credit report. He cut up a couple of credit cards in front of our FPU class (I did, admittedly shed a tear when the Tiffany & Co. card met the shears) but I don't think he closed any of the accounts. That is, obviously, his prerogative, but I do want to talk to him about it.
And yes, I'm a hypocrite of sorts, because I still have my USAA credit card. I'm not ready to be a 100% Dave Disciple yet, but I foresee that that card (another 11-year commitment) will go away within the next year as I pay it off. And Eli's Citi card will go away, too. We'll be debt free except for student loans. But, not, as I had hoped, consumer-debt free by the time I turn 30 (Eli will be by the time he's 30, though!).
Now onto something totally related, but different topic:
I've already decided that I will fight to become immune to baby-itis--the need to buy all new things for Baby Beaver--and have already accepted many second-hand items, including strollers and clothing. I know there are a few things that will need to be new and will purchase those accordingly (car seat, specifically), but for everything else, I'm going to stay strong. The baby won't know the difference. And I already have tons of children's books and games, so I won't be spending much money on entertainment for the baby. Simple toys. Nature. Imagination. Books. These are the things I want for my child to experience.
Shoot--I had a charmed childhood, and I don't remember having much. We played outside; we built forts with blankets; we did crafts (loved the Childcraft encyclopedia volume Make and Do); we pretended the bunk bed was a ship, a limo, a castle, a hospital; we made goodies (chocolate oatmeal no-bake cookies...mmm...I need that recipe, again); we invented our own games; we played kickball with the neighborhood kids; we ran around the playground; we did science experiments (again, thanks, Childcraft); we played board games and card games; we went camping as a family; and went to watch the 4th of July fireworks as a treat.
Yes, we had toys, but thankfully we didn't have everything we ever wanted. I had some My Little Ponies and a great imagination. I had two Cabbage Patch Kids. I played with my sister's Barbie dolls (when she would let me) and with my friends' Barbies (when she wouldn't). I had a bike that I rode it everywhere. The greatest treat for me was being able to get a book from the Scholastic book order. As I said, I had a charmed childhood. I think that's one of the greatest gifts a parent can give.