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Alternatives to life without credit cards.

COUNTRYSIDE: Re: "Is it possible to live without plastic?" in the July/August 2004 issue.

H. Licari does not indicate whether or not they have a savings account. If they do, I expect they can get a debit card based on that existing account. Otherwise, it would seem opening an account at a local credit union where you can actually "know" the folks, would be pretty painless. If you can closely estimate your trip spending, deposit only that amount. Most credit unions only require $5 or $10 to keep an account active, then have the debit card linked to the savings account.

If they are trying to avoid the entire banking industry then using http:/ / for a stored value card may be an alternative.

Best of luck to them. The more I read COUNTRYSIDE, the more I learn.--JD Waters

COUNTRYSIDE: Yes, H. Licari, it is possible to live and travel without plastic!

I am 77 years young and my husband is 87. We have lived in the city, on a dairy farm, and owned a service station/cafe. We did have a checking account but never credit cards.

We did travel almost every year, but we used travelers checks instead of credit cards. You can stay in motels and bed and breakfast places, and even make reservations and have them held for a certain length of time. We did get up early and did most of our traveling by 3:30 or 4:00 p.m. when we stopped for the day. That way we could relax and have a hot meal, and get beds before most traffic stopped. We traveled with sandwich material, nibblers and drinks to save on long stops, unless we wanted to stop for sights during the day. We had two children and later traveled with our toy poodle, and never had problems with either. Usually we stopped where there was something to keep children busy until bedtime.

We are retired now and live in a small town and still use only cash or checks. I do have some travelers checks yet, in case of an emergency which happens at night or on a weekend--don't they all? Some places still ask for my card number, but accept cash or check instead.

When we lived on the farm for 12 years, we were back to nature. We had only basic electric (lights), a cold water faucet in the house, a well in the barn, and a "two holer" out back. After three years we did get a hot water tank for the house. I cooked on a woodstove (from my folks) for the first five years and then we got a bottle gas range. We milked by hand for six years until we got a milking machine. We raised chickens for meat and eggs, pigs for meat, and sold eggs, milk and cream for income.

We had a large garden and I canned a lot. We had no deep freeze, so everything had to be canned or dried, even the meat. I canned chicken, pork, beef, and venison. It was a good life but my husband wanted to try a business and we wanted someplace where we could both be home to care for our son and daughter. I am a registered nurse and had worked out some on the farm, but after we adopted our daughter, we decided a change was due.

We bought the service station/cafe and ran it for 32 years and never carried accounts. We ended up without any loss and our customers were good about our idea and never asked for charge accounts. That is another thing we have never had ourselves--they are as bad as a credit card we think! We closed our station because Uncle Sam said that any storage tank buried in the ground over 30 years had to be replaced. We found ours were perfect but still couldn't reuse them, so we decided not to put our retirement money in a hole in the ground at our age.

We now have a three acre lot at the edge of town and have a large garden, two strawberry beds, six apple trees, and 12 cherry trees/ bushes. My husband had a stroke two years ago and I care for him 24/ 7 and keep up the place. It is nice to be back to basics, so to speak, even if it is a lot of work--but I am used to it! We were fire wardens for 18 years at the station so we did our bit to keep life clean and safe. We love living off the land, so call us homesteaders!--Mrs. Ardyse Dallager, Park Rapids, Minnesota
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Title Annotation:Country conversation & feedback
Author:Waters, J.D.; Dallager, Ardyse
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Sep 1, 2004
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