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It’s Sinking In…


I received a new credit card yesterday to replace an older one. I always dread calling to activate new cards because I always seem to get someone who talks really fast and tries to sell additional services. You say no and then they read another script worded a little differently to try to seal the deal.

I didn’t get a fast talker this time but I did get a persistent person trying to sell me a program that would make my monthly payment if I lose my job, etc. The charge for this program depends on the balance on your card and this card is the one with the last of our credit card debt.

I’m not interested in a program like that and told the woman, “No thank you.” She went on again. I said, “No.” Then she got a little personal. “Do you have anything that will pay off your balance if you happen to lose your job?”

I am not a quick thinker. If my fifth grade teacher hadn’t of zapped the word, “Um…” from my vocabulary, I would be saying it all of the time (thanks, Mrs. R!). I don’t know where it came from, but I had a quick answer for her…

“My emergency fund.”

Dead silence on her end. I don’t think she expected to hear that. I didn’t expect to myself to say that! After a few seconds, she said, “Ok.” She didn’t discuss the program again and our call ended shortly after that.

I know we have more in savings than credit card debt. The whole thing is still a little surreal even though I’ve written about it on here and discussed it with my husband. Saying it out loud to someone else other than my husband made it really sink in. I can definitely understand why some people who have paid off their debt call into a radio show to yell that they are debt free.


  • Reply CanadianKate |

    “I can definitely understand why some people who have paid off their debt call into a radio show to yell that they are debt free.”

    I expect to see some serious yelling, and balloons and confetti here when that happens.

    And I’m pleased you are not using your emergency fund to declare yourself rid of your credit card debt. That shows me that you see it as a separate tool from you credit card and that is good. Just as your mortgage and student loans are separate, so is the emergency fund. The only difference is we expect it to grow (along with your savings accounts in the years down the road) while your loans decrease until you are at the point where you are truly debt free.

  • Reply Wojciech @ Fiscal Fizzle |

    That must be an awesome feeling after such a long journey! Congratulations.

    The rep’s response to your quick-thinking outburst is so telling! So many of us have nothing to fall back on if we lose our jobs; I bet she had never heard anyone say anything like that before, even though it’s common financial advice to set up an emergency fund.

    Way to stick it to the credit card! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Beth |

    Nice response! That’s very sneaky about using the “if you lose your job” contingency in today’s economy. I love not needing those kind of products or services.

    You know you’ve reached a certain level of financial freedom when you can laugh at the scare tactics πŸ™‚

  • Reply cheryl |

    Good for you!! I just had to activate a new card to replace an expired one yesterday and I fortunately got an automated message trying to sell me everything else.

    So glad to know though what puts those people in their place.

  • Reply Jen |


    Very cool!

    It’ll be interesting if a few years after paying off your credit cards if you get the same pitch when you activate a new one. I’ve been debt free for nearly 10 years (excluding my mortgage), and when I call to activate I don’t get a hard sell on the payment protection plans. In fact, I don’t even remember what they try to sell me… I just say no once to whatever they’re selling and the call is done.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they flag different accounts for different sales pitches based on your payment history, whether you carry a balance, etc.

    I’m just curious, though, after the surrealism wore off did you feel more powerful, or in control of your life?

  • Reply Corporate Barbarian |

    That was quick thinking. I bet it felt good to say it. Good for you! I’ll have to keep that one in mind for the future.

  • Reply Kevin |

    Another thing about these security plans they offer. If you do the math, you find that they would add about another 1/3rd to 1/4 of the monthly payment.

    So my response to them when they ask this is always to tell them, well, I can save the extra 1/3rd and 1/4th of the payment that would be tacked on extra, and use it to make payments should I become unemployed. They really don’t know how to deal with that one.

  • Reply sara |

    My husband is such a sucker for those sales pitches! I have to admit that we do have the payment protection program on our 2 main cards and it has proved its worth since I have been out on maternity leave. It canceled our monthly payments and deferred interest charges.

  • Reply Monkey Mama |

    I’d hang up on them. I prefer not to hang up on people, but none of their damn business – they can be so freaking annoying. When you tell them no 5 times, and they go on and on, I hang up.

    That being said – that was priceless. My parents have been mortgage free for a few years and haven’t had any other debts since their 20s probably. My mom often gets phone calls about “consolidating her debts.” She always says, “I don’t have any.” Which usually leaves the caller speechless. Teehee!

  • Reply The Mommys Place |

    That is an awesome post, I look forward to the day when my emergency fund is completely funded. I am just tickled pink at your reply, way to go.

  • Reply Danielle |

    I had a similar experience recently when I was trying to add my husband to my credit cards to get him a credit score. The woman on the other line could not believe that he had never borrowed money for anything. She said, “Hasn’t he ever HAD A CAR?” I said, yes, we’ve bought cars, but we paid cash for them. She was shocked.

  • Reply My Life ROI |

    Haha… that is awesome.

    The expectation that 99% of people have no way to pay off their debt if something happened (job loss, illness) is surreal to me.

    Emergency Fund – 1
    Credit Card – 0

  • Reply Adam |

    Congrats on your journey! I used to read your blog a few years ago when I was paying off my debt and writing my blog. It was helpful to read yours as well as other peoples experiences. Welcome to the club!!

So, what do you think ?