Responsible Credit Card Use

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We don't have any unhealthy relationships with our credit cards. We use them when we need to, and don't feel any compulsion to max out a card as soon as humanly possible. I had a friend who mistakenly thought of her Visa's credit limit as a goal to reach, a finish line of sorts. She learned some life lessons the expensive way.

Please, don't let it happen to you.

We got a credit card associated with REI, because it had no annual fee, they gave us a $40 credit at REI just for signing up, and we get cash back on any purchases made at REI. I don't keep mine in my wallet, and just take it with me whenever I'm headed out to shop at there. So I've used it less than a handful of times since I got it back in October.

Imagine my surprise when I received a letter from the bank that issued the REI credit card with these ominous words printed in red: IMPORTANT MESSAGE REGARDING YOUR ACCOUNT. I was worried I had been a victim of identity theft, since I know the last time I used the card was back in March.

Unbelieveable! It was a letter from the bank saying they'd noticed I hadn't had activity on my card in a few months, and they wanted to remind me that I had a large credit limit to max out. It was the opposite of an identity theft letter!

Is something wrong? You haven't used your credit card! Don't you know that's the way to achieving the American Dream? Shall we send you a replacement?

That, in a nutshell, is how we got into this credit crisis, economic collapse, and resulting recession. Don't be fooled by easy credit (well, it's gone the way of the dodo bird now)

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