Taking Control of Credit Card Spending
Debt and credit cards have become nearly synonymous. Most people think of debt when they think of credit cards in part because they’re one of the easiest and quickest ways that consumers become saddled with debt. Credit cards are a useful tool to build your credit and prove your reliability as a borrower, but they shouldn’t be a way to drag you further into debt. We’re here to help you out. Here are some ways to take control of your credit card spending.
- Ask questions
Do you really need it? Is it worth the number of hours you’d need to work to pay for it? Ask yourself these questions when tempted by purchases you know you don’t need. Distinguish a want from a need, and remember that the money could go toward paying off your debt instead of the item you’re buying. Also, ask yourself if you actually need to go to the store. Try not to put yourself in situations where you’ll be forced to ask yourself these questions.
- Say “no” to fees and deals
Plenty of credit card vendors don’t require much from you except consistent, timely payment. Other types of cards, such as store credit cards, can cause all sorts of problems with your credit and your finances. Not only do they constitute a hard inquiry on your credit report, but they also usually charge high interest rates. It’s quite generous of a store to give you 40% off your purchase when you sign up for their credit card, but it also presents a risk to your credit health when you obtain the card in the first place.
- Consider Timing
When do you get your paycheck and when do you get your credit card statements? Make sure you have enough money to cover the bill and pay it on time, but also consider timing. You can better plan payments to coincide with your paychecks to help you save more money. Put away what you don’t use after each bill. It may be difficult to manage, but there are plenty of ways to stay on track when paying off credit cards.
- Don’t depend on plastic
If you’re having trouble controlling spending, it’s probably an indicator that you use your credit cards too often. Some people use credit cards as an alternative to their debit card or other methods of payment to help build their credit. They claim they only swipe if they know they have the funds. If that’s you, beware constant swiping. It can become a mindless activity each time you need to make a purchase. Try using your credit cards less, or only use them for bigger purchases rather than each small transaction.
- Grab a buddy
Do you have a friend in good financial standing? Spend more time with them and ask for their best personal finance advice. Ask them to help serve as a guide and take them shopping with you. Accomplishing goals can become easier when done in pairs or groups. You have someone else to hold you accountable for your spending, and if they’re a good friend, then they’ll want to help you reach success.
- Deprivation is not the answer
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: deprivation is not a way to reduce debt or control your spending. It’s only going to make you feel like you need to spend more. Try to slowly step away from bad habits; it’s not a task that can be accomplished overnight. Be smart about your spending, but don’t cut yourself off. Think about people who start a diet and cut out all the things they love. They start their diet the day after deciding they want to commit, only to find that they’re struggling because they didn’t ease into it. Health changes are a lifestyle change and the same goes for your credit card spending. Changing a habit requires a change in lifestyle.
If you need help taking control of your debt, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We look forward to getting to know you and finding the right debt reduction option that works for you.