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Free Money Isn’t Really Free

You’re going to think I’m a little weird after you read this-and honestly I feel a little weird. Last weekend I turned down free money. I kid you not. I went shopping with my wife for some new suits. We had a budget, had done our homework and came in just $7 over budget because we bought a cool guitar t-shirt for our son, Cooper.


When we got to the register, the kind lady said “If you open a credit card today, I can save you an additional 25%”. TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT!? That was $75…another sport coat or some shirts! Maybe a swanky bowtie!


I declined.


I told her “I’m so sorry…I don’t do credit cards and I certainly can’t sign up for one and then go teach people in my finance class I lead that they should cut theirs up”. She looked at me like I had one eye smack in the middle of my forehead.


It hurt to walk away from that free money…and that’s the point. Had I taken the card I would have spent more and gone over my budget. I would have made a mistake that study after study after study shows…When we use plastic we are willing to, and DO, spend more…often times much more than we can afford. One of those studies pointed out that McDonalds reports its average ticket is $7 when people use credit versus $4.50 when thy use cash. NOW you know why they put card machines in their stores.


A “normal” person would have taken the credit card, spent the extra money and been happy. The normal American family though has about $7,000 in debt – and that’s just credit cards (don’t even get me started on car loans!). Dave Ramsey has a great saying: “Debt is normal. Be weird!”


I kinda like being weird.


Let me know what you think!

– Greg Murray

The River

Author The River

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