Can you go a month without a credit card?


Shelina Merani says her credit card is “a way of life”.

The 47-year-old director of communications and comics admits she’s a bit of a shopaholic, and that’s why she agreed to take part in the CBC Credit Card Challenge.

CBC Ottawa challenged four people to stop using their credit cards for the entire month of October. They will share their traps and their progress on our Facebook group.

In preparation for the challenge, Merani decided to freeze her credit card in a block of ice.

“It’s really weird,” Merani says. “It is a bit like Ramadan when you abstain from something.”

Civil servant Riyad Nazerally, 24, also agreed to participate in the challenge.

He says he uses his credit card daily to pay for everything from coffee to mattresses.

When he was 20 and got his first credit card he had debt problems and today he is terrified of owing interest on his credit card and paying it off in full every. month.

For him, the hardest part of the challenge will be the technology, as many of the services he uses, like Uber, are designed for credit card users.

Erma Caissie Richard, 55, says losing the convenience of her credit card will be difficult. Her husband recently retired and they are using the challenge as a way to reassess their spending.

“October tends to be a month that I overspend as we get ready for Christmas,” says Richard. “Will paying with cash or debit make me think twice?” “

The great debt

Throughout the week, CBC Ottawa will be taking a personal look at debt and its impact on people’s lives.

Here is an overview:

Credit counselor Pamela George shows off the credit cards her clients had to cut up. (Ashley Burke / CBC Ottawa)

  • Credit card debt. CBC is a portrait of two women who ended up owing $ 85,000 on their credit cards and the credit counselor who helped them break the cycle.
Troy Curtis is a graduate of Carleton University and owes approximately $ 13,000. (Trevor Pritchard / CBC Ottawa)

  • Student debt. According to Statistics Canada, the average student who borrows for their post-secondary education graduates with over $ 26,000 in debt. CBC explains to students how this debt is delaying their future.
The Bank of Canada has raised rates twice since Gerry Concoran bought his condo. (Ashley Burke / CBC Ottawa)

  • Rising mortgage rates. After seven years of record high rates, mortgage holders are now seeing rates start to rise. CBC is examining who is most affected by the mortgage rate hike, ahead of the Bank of Canada’s next rate announcement on October 25.
Robbie McColl says he paid thousands of dollars in interest to pay off lenders. (Ashley Burke / CBC Ottawa)

  • Payday loans. People who cannot get credit from traditional lenders often rely on payday lenders. CBC examines the debt cycle created by high-interest payday loans and a program designed in Ottawa that attempts to provide an alternative.


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