A credit card? What’s that? For the last eight months, not only did we have to get used to other changes in our lives, but how to survive in a cash based country (continent). It was hard to wrap our heads around paying for everything in cash.
Back stateside, we had our debit cards and credit cards. Purchases were done with those too. One thing about living in America is that consumerism is rampant and they know how to get you to spend money. Target and Walmart are prime examples of this. “Oh I’m only going in for toothpaste” but you pass all these other great things that you must have along the way. That $3 trip just turned into a $100 expenditure. Credit cards make those kind of trips so easy to fall prey on, too. The “oh I’ll pay that off in “x” amount of months” mentality is a disease that most Americans have and it’s a very dangerous one indeed.
Living here in Austria, we learned quickly that cash is king. We do have “credit” cards here, but they work like debit cards. Whatever you swiped is taken out of your checking account at the end of the month. You really are forced to live within your means here. Which is awesome! It’s how it should be. Sure, there are still times that we are still getting used to it, but it also makes life less stressful. One less bill to worry about. And yet, we have a more comfortable lifestyle here than we did back Stateside. Who would have thought?
Speaking of bills, everything is done through bank transfers here. There are no such things as checks. You pay your rent and other bills directly to those in charge. Austrians love this. And you pay AFTER service is rendered. Hershey’s camp director comes and picks/drops him off and it is during drop-off that I hand over the cash.
The only thing Hubs complains about is how frustrating it is to do things that were once so simple: applying online for a credit card, set credit statements to send via email, or even get online access. All three of the tasks listed require a printed application, fully filled out, and SIGNED in pen. Then faxed or emailed back. A few DAYS later, you have what you want. Instant gratification is what we were used to, now, it’s very different.
So, the system has it’s pros and cons, but overall we feel it’s how it should be. Online shopping is no longer as tempting as it used to be to just click, ship, and be giddy a day or two later. And after getting rid of so much stuff when we were moving, we thrive on a more minimal lifestyle. Now, we really have to think about how a purchase fits into the bigger picture.