4040-01 RPFin use of Plastic/Credit Cards

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                     TO:  Interested  Christians                                                                FROM: Jim  Bramer,  Retired Auditor-CPA
                                                                                                                                       FILE:  4040-01/rpf

                     RE:  Plastic/Credit Cards - the Christian's Use thereof              Originated in June 2000                                    


             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 Cards 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 everyone uses Plastic (or 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 abuse, or unrighteous use. We all have heard of advocates saying that since you use Plastic (Credit Cards) 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/Internet.
            Let's face it ---- the real issue is discipline, or control of such things as Credit Card Plastic. The Christian not only can experience God enhanced spiritual victory in this area of their life (Go to CROWN , for help), but they can also 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 Christians in this area of their financial stewardship -  go to  5011   for more information.  Like so many things in our life, let's examine how the use of Credit Cards (as you know, use of the Debit Card is the same as writing a check) can either be a "Tool (Blessing)" or a "Tyrant (Curse)." 

"Tool (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 rewards or perks.

        2>  I need to carry less  'green stuff, or cash''  with me (which is 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 Plastic  'charge slips',  or purchase documentation, it contributes to complete finance
            record keeping.
 
        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 I do    
       
      NOT pay Plastic finance charges, or interest expense.  It allows me to righteously take
             
advantage of the "buffer or float" -- I do appropriate buying now and pay for it, interest
              free, within 30 days, etc. 

        5>  Personally, I highly recommend that you weekly go Online and view your Credit Card
              information.  Then you stay Online and pay off the Credit Card balance.  Let me know at 
              Jim@bcidot.org  if you have questions about this.

        6>  If you do not have Online capabilities, you weekly accumulate all of the Credit Card slips
              to date and write a check for the total; then distribute this total to the applicable Spending
             Control Envelopes (or BuxBoxes).
  Please  Click Here  for more information about doing
             this.  Obtaining all of the Credit Card slips is always an issue ... they are so small t
             hey seem to so easily get lost.  Perhaps placing them next to your green stuff in
             the wallet/bag 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 with
             the individual charges and credits that make up the unpaid balance.  You may want
             to release all of these weekly checks once a month.  If interested, please contact
             me at Jim@bcidot.org for more specifics about this process.
  
 

      7>  Please view some current resources found at 0400.   What do you think of this  eFINFAX
             
 method?  Please also be aware of this  SPENDING CONTROL  website.

"Tyrant  (Curse)"  issues include ....

        A>  Unrighteous buying beyond my income and far too much outstanding debt, etc.   .... or undisciplined use which enslaves and is dishonoring to the Lord. 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 you up to the prospect of improper buying (out of control), or perhaps "unrighteous impulse" buying since you do not 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. Spending Controls via such a system as described here lets you know where you are weekly how as to how much money you can spend as shown by the applicable Spending Control area of such a system.
        D>  Since it does not immediately go out of your Bank or pocket, Plastic transactions can contribute to my NOT living in accordance with a
pre-designed Spending Controls, or my Budget. See   0400   for more info.

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. Also go to  0205  and make full use of this self-evaluation process.  Long term borrowings are because of asset acquisition, like property or the necessary equipment."
        When you make installment payments on more than one Plastic Account, it seems you should get a poor grade  --- since you are buying beyond your income and paying inappropriate Interest Expense. 

Sources of Help:

        If you have poor Righteous Personal Finance - RPFin  self evaluation grades,   then you need to change. Please go to  4999  for sources of help in making such a necessary change..

Vow re Plastic to the Lord and to yourself :

        If you sincerely want to change and ultimately get good Righteous Personal Finance - RPFin  Self Evaluation grades, then the following material from the Leadership of a Church may help this person to go forward from here.

TO: Named Church Member/Constituent (1)                                 FROM; Board of Leadership

RE: Plastic/Credit Card User                                                               DATE: xx/xx/xx

    Thank you for using your Plastic/Credit Card here at the Church.

    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 Plastic/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 can be either a "tool" or a "tyrant." 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> When you pay your Plastic charges and incur NO Interest Expense, or loan charges, you are using a 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 to Him.

Methods and Procedures:

        Having current financial status reports, resulting from related record keeping, is essential . Please go to the eEnvelope resources at  0400 .  A few years ago we set forth   these links   about the computerized "Quite Virtual Envelopes - QVE" system, whereby the Christian does this using a personal finance Computer product (Quicken is an example) Please also  learn about coaching helps via  CROWN .
        These recommended financial record keeping systems require you to determine, or budget, in advance of a receipt just exactly how it is to be spent. Then you place your receipts into an expenditure group, and then you spend within boundaries of the applicable
Virtual Envelope (or BuxBox). Spending includes both Plastic purchases and paid outs by cash/check. Weekly Status reports provide you with answers to the basic question of: "Is there money available so I 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, since you pay it off weekly/monthly, 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 Interest Expense/Finance Charges over a short number of months.

F I N I S:

        If you as a Christian 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 this type of financial debt . 


 " FREQUENTLY USED TERMS"   ABOVE  INCLUDE:

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


    The bulk of this Publication originated in June 2000 and was  UPTD: March 09, 2012 .     

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