Fool.com: Older, Wiser, and Snipping Plastic (Fribble) August 4, 2000

Fribble Older, Wiser, and Snipping Plastic

By Paul Aughey (caveguy@mindspring.com)
August 4, 2000

Recently, while evaluating my financial decisions in preparation to buy a home, I stumbled upon some financial decisions that were good ideas 10 years previous, but which were now wasting money.

You see, 10 years ago when I was in college, like most students I had a high balance on my credit card. At that time, I applied for two gas cards to big-name companies. I decided I'd use gas cards to pay for my gas, and pay off those bills monthly instead of using the high balance credit card. It worked well, keeping my balance lower on the BIG credit card bill.

Ten years older, wiser, and with no credit card debt, I no longer need these cards. I pay off my credit card debt monthly, so the gas cards no longer provide a benefit. Instead, they prevent some benefits. I thought this over and decided to close the accounts. Here's why:

1. I now have two credit cards: an American Express that gives me frequent flyer miles, and a MasterCard that gives me a percentage back on outdoor gear each time I use it. I'll use these cards to buy the gas and get the benefits.

2. Using the gas cards, I would be going to places that charge five or ten cents per gallon more than the local convenience store. Instead, I'll now go to the convenience store, which saves $0.75 - $1.50 per fill-up on a 15-gallon tank!

3.By getting rid of two gas cards I will be getting rid of two more bills. Sure, I'll be paying the bills, but that's two less pieces of paper in my mail box, two less companies trying to sell me junk in their billing statements, and two less checks and stamps each month (actually I bank electronically, but you get the picture).

Those are the pros, and good ones they are.

What are the cons? Well, if you pay off your credit card monthly, there aren't any.

So, pay off that debt if you have it -- and stop using those gas cards!