4040-01 PLASTIC/Credit Cards - BLVR Use thereof -- ZZqve

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                        TO:  Interested   Christian BLVRs                                                      FROM: Jim  Bramer, Retired Auditor CPA
                                                                                                                                             FILE:  4040-01/qve

                         RE:  Plastic/Credit Cards - Christian BLVR Use thereof             Originated in June 2000                                    

Be sure and read about "Personal Finance Spending Control" resources found at  0400        

     I read that someone phoned into a retail store and asked: "Do you honor Credit Cards here?" The answer was: "Oh my, yes, we not only honor Credit Cars we worship them. !!"    Or did you see that recent cartoon where the restaurant server was informing their customer that we accept a whole long list of Credit cards.  And the customer asks if it is OK to pay with cash. 

        It is a fact of life today that most all  Christian BLVRs  use Plastic (Debit Card (eCHECKS) and especially Credit Cards) -- it is just part of our present society. But like many other aspects of today's life styles, like TV or Computers/Internet, there is always the danger of unrighteous use, or abuse. We all have heard of advocates saying that since you use Plastic unrighteously, you should destroy them so that they are no longer a temptation, etc. Guess we should do the same with our TVs and Computers.

        Let's face it ---- the real issue is discipline, or control of such things as Plastic. The Christian BLVR  not only can experience God enhanced spiritual victory in this area of their life (Go to www.Crown.org, for help), but they can reap some economic benefits from such a resource within the context of their pursuit of Righteous Personal Finance - RPFin.  We maintain that the local Church should be assisting  BLVRs in this area of their financial stewardship -  go to  5011   for more info.. 

        Like so many things in our life, let's examine how the use of Credit Cards, or Plastic, can either be a "Tool (Blessing)" or a "Tyrant (Curse)." 

"Blessing"  issues include .....

        1> Almost all vendors these days allow you to buy via Plastic where you can take advantage of 'bargain buys'; or obtain Plastic volume incentives, like FREQUENT FLYER programs. Perhaps you are like many of us who have taken free airplane trips directly from a result of these perks..

        2> I need to carry less  'green stuff'  with me (safer and less likely to be lost); thereby reducing the need for going to ATM or cashing checks for cash, etc.  I do not keep good purchase records when I pay for things with cash.  On the other hand, since I get a  Plastic  'charge slip',  or purchase documentation, it contributes to complete finance record keeping. See
proposed  BuxBox  and QVE plans.

        3> I write fewer checks as I deal with one Credit Card (or Plastic) account rather than a whole bunch of individual vendors to whom I write checks, etc. 

        4> Proper use allows me to make righteous use of credit (temporary borrowing), but NOT  pay Plastic finance charges, or interest.  It allows me to take advantage of the "buffer or float" -- I do appropriate buying now and pay for it, interest free, some 30 days later.  If interested, please discuss with us at Jim@bcidot.org  how to write the weekly checks below and yet utilize this "float" feature by releasing all such checks monthly.

        5> Please view some current resources found at 0400.  You will note under the  BuxBox  method, we advocate that the Christian BLVR pay for their Credit Card (Plastic)  purchases during the month .... actually we prefer that it be done weekly.  The Christian BLVR accumulates all of the Credit Card slips to date and writes a check for the weekly total; then distributes this total to the applicable BuxBox (or to the applicable Quite Virtual Envelope-QVE).  Obtaining all of the Credit Card slips is always a problem ... they are so small they seem to easily get lost.  Perhaps placing them next to your green stuff in the wallet or purse would help. When the monthly Credit Card statement comes,  you write a check for unpaid balance.  You, of course, will want to be satisfied, as much as possible, with the individual charges and credits that make up the unpaid balance.  See above paragraph about "Float or Buffer" feature.    

"Curse" issues include ....

        A> Unrighteous buying beyond my income and far too much debt, etc.   .... which enslaves. Often the major reason I have finance problems. Too much of my Plastic monthly payment is interest expense (at a high interest rate) and too little goes toward reducing my debt.  

        B> Opens up the Christian BLVR  to the prospect of improper buying, or perhaps to unrighteous impulse buying since this person does not have to write a check or use 'green stuff'. 

        C> Since it is so convenient to use, It can contribute to me being undisciplined and NOT living within my income.

        D> Since it does not immediately go out of the Christian BLVR's Bank or pocket, Plastic transactions can contribute to NOT living in accordance with a Budget. See QVE or BuxBox plans.

Self Evaluation:

        Plse go to   4001 and do a RPFin self examination. Evaluation step #6 says: "I borrow money very discretely. I do NOT borrow to live on. Long term borrowings are because of asset acquisition, like property or necessary equipment."
        When the Christian BLVR is making installment payments on more than one Plastic Account, it seems you should get a poor grade  --- therefore buying beyond your income and paying inappropriate interest expense. 

Sources of Help:

        If a Christian BLVR has poor Self Evaluation grades then they need to change. Please go to  4999  for sources of help in making such a necessary change..

BLVR's Vow re Plastic to the Lord and self :

        If a Christian BLVR sincerely wants to change and ultimately get good Self Evaluation grades, then the following material from the Leadership of a Church may help this person to go forward from here.

TO: XXXX Constituent   (1)                                                        FROM; Board of Leadership

RE: Plastic -- Debit or Credit Card Use                                    DATE: xx/xx/xx

    Thank you for using your Plastic Card here at XXXX.

    Frankly, we have concerns about providing this buying resource to our constituents. You no doubt are aware that too many people in today's society are abusing Credit Cards and incurring debt that they can not handle. Some people even inappropriately believe that a Plastic/Credit Card is in essence evil. 

    We do not want to contribute to these problems, but we also know that many of you are righteously using Plastic as part of your financial stewardship. We firmly believe, like many things in our world today, that Plastic/Credit can be either a "tool" or a "tyrant."  - especially when you use eCHECKS or Debit Cards and not Credit Cards.  Such matters are totally subjective, or personal issues between the individual Believer and the Lord.

    Accordingly, we respectfully provide you with this resource. But, your part is as follows:

    1>   That you prayerfully have your personal finances in order as unto the Lord. If you or your family need to be better stewards of such matters, ask us about certain "Righteous Personal Finance" help resources, 

    2>   Ideally you pay off your Credit Card balance electronically every week.  Or when you pay your Plastic charges at other times you incur NO Interest Expense, or loan charges, or you are using your Plastic as a "Tool" and not as a 'Tyrant'.

    3>   We, therefore, ask that you promise the Lord that you will regularly NOT pay Plastic/Credit Card Interest Expense on your use of Plastic with us. We join you in prayer as you keep this personal commitment

Methods and Procedures:

        Having current financial status reports, resulting from related record keeping, is essential . Please go to the resources at  0400 or at 4175   for FAQ info about the computerized "Quite Virtual Envelopes - QVE" system, whereby the BLVR does this using a personal finance Computer product (Quicken is an example) Please also  go to  4201 and learn about the BuxBox method and outside help provided by HOMERS.

        These recommended financial record keeping systems require the Christian BLVR to determine, or budget, in advance of a receipt just exactly how it is to be spent. Then the BLVR places their receipts into Virtual Envelopes (or Boxes), by expenditure group, and then spends within boundaries of the applicable Virtual Envelope. Spending includes both Plastic purchases and paid outs by cash/check. Weekly Status reports provide the BLVR buyers with answers to the basic question of: "Is there money available so we can appropriately buy something?"

        There may be merit in you prudently having different sets of Plastic --- see below.

Plastic #1
        You use this Plastic to make every-day purchases and you NEVER pay Finance Charge (or Interest Expense).

Plastic #2 
        When applicable, you prudently acquire one special asset at a time .... and your income, in line with righteous priorities of its use, permits you to pay off this Plastic with Finance Charges over a short number of months.

F I N I S:

        If you as a Christian BLVR have poor grades above, our prayer is that you will immediately seek help from indicated sources and gain spiritual victories by no longer being a slave to financial debt . 


              Christian BLVR = Believer in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior
QVE = "Quite Virtual Envelope" Computer Acctg System 
              PLASTIC = Credit Cards                  
              RPFin = Righteous Personal Finance

    This was updated on March 09, 2012  The bulk of this Publication originated in June 2000.