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Cash or Credit?

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There are certainly benefits to using cash.

woman holding credit card

Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: I think I don't spend as much, and I can't spend more than I have. But I have found that if you have a credit card you can pay off each month to avoid finance charges, there are some perks that you just don't get otherwise.

My daughter recently broke her glasses. They were bought less than two months ago, so I checked my American Express Purchase Protection. A few years ago, they sent a check for a stolen cell phone just a week after I submitted a claim. Turns out, I used a Chase Visa card for the transaction, because American Express wasn't accepted at the optician's office.

After some research, I saw that they have a similar purchase protection program that also covers breakage. I am currently working on my claim for that item and expect to be reimbursed shortly.

We also get cash back on both these cards. Some of my family and friends prefer to get airline miles, but we have trouble using them when we take our family trips and don't mind getting our own deals on travel. Before American Express, Visa, and MasterCard offered cash back, I had a Marshalls/TJ Maxx Visa where I got several percent back in gift certificates for the store. I was able to do the majority of my Christmas shopping there using those certificates -- and didn't feel the pinch that season at all. Target cards are a good option for the same reason, if there is a Target convenient to you.

The bottom line is, these cards work for you. Some of them offer extended warranties, trip and rental car insurance, traveler's assistance, and even concierge service to help you get tickets to a show or reservations at popular restaurants. There are so many out there competing for your business -- the perks can really be great.

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