There is a lot of debate in the PF world about credit cards. On the one hand, they can get you into major trouble if you’re irresponsible (this was me, circa 2006-2007). On the other hand, they offer some great benefits and rewards. My credit card gives me 1% cash back on every purchase, 3% on purchases from select stores. It’s pretty nice to get $50 in the mail every few months, just because I bought the stuff that I would have normally bought, with or without a credit card. But credit cards also offer fraud protection services that most debit cards don’t. For example:
I woke up on Wednesday morning with a text message from my credit card company letting me know that my account was under investigation for suspicious activity and I should call them ASAP. I know that sometimes hackers send out those texts, so I logged onto my account to check it out. Sure enough, there was another fraud notice. WTF?! I checked my wallet for my card, and when I found it right away I called the fraud department of my credit card company in a panic. It turns out they were just concerned because they noticed that a bunch of charges in NYC had popped up suddenly. I assured the nice man on the phone that I was in NYC for a visit, but I told him that I really appreciated being contacted. And I really do. A few weekends ago I was in Maine, and I was mostly using my debit card and my bank never contacted me to question why there were suddenly a bunch of charges taking place in another state. It really drove the point home that credit cards aren’t necessarily the most horrible creation since Twinkies (my weakness!), or at least they can be safer option than cash or debit cards.
Am I converting back to using my credit card all the time? Not yet. I’m still a little gun shy because of the debt I racked up so quickly – and just paid off. But the tide might turn in the next year or so.
As for NYC, we had a blast. Price-wise, most stuff was pretty much the same as the DC area. The beers at Yankee Stadium were just a few dollars more than the beers at the National’s park, and food prices were very comparable. Other than the heat, it was the perfect few days in my favorite American city.
School starts for teachers on Tuesday, so these are my last few days of freedom! I’m going to try to savor them as frugally as possible…enjoy the weekend!