Buying on credit, and carrying credit card debt, is getting more expensive.
Now is the time to rein it in at the source and put a lid on paying for things with plastic.
But no matter how many times you’ve said you were going to stop charging things to your credit cards, you haven’t. Why not?
It’s not your fault. Scientists have shown that it’s really tough for people to conceptualize making—and sticking—to financial budgets and goals.
According to Brad Klontz, a psychologist and financial planner, the word “budget” alone has the connotation of deprivation, suffering, agony, or depression, much like the word “diet” signifies impending famine.
Instead of useless ideas like sacrificing your much loved daily latté, which will only make you sad, here are some practical, real ways you can manage your credit card spending.
Leave the Cards at Home
It’s a simple concept, but it works. If you don’t have your credit cards with you, then you can’t use them to buy more things, which you probably don’t need anyway. When you’re not armed with plastic, then you can’t succumb to your urge to splurge.
Make it Difficult to Use Them
Ever heard of people who cut up their credit cards, or who lock or store them out of sight? Drastic credit card debt and spending requires drastic measures. If you do end up giving your credit cards a haircut, then replacing them (only after you’ve paid down your debt) is usually as easy as a phone call or online request.
Unlink Your Credit Cards from Your Smartphone
Delete your linked credit cards from Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and any other apps or auto-payment systems that allow seamless, cashless transactions. Nowadays, technology makes it super easy to buy things, but with this convenience comes added responsibility to spend wisely. Instead, pay for things only with your debit card or cash.
If You Must Spend, Get Rewarded for It
If you must make online purchases, then it is safer to buy with a credit card. And because life happens, there may come times when you must resort to paying for expenses with credit cards. In that case, try to sign up for better credit cards that will reward your actual needs, e.g., cash back or rewards cards that will give back on gas, restaurant, or travel purchases.
Ultimately, the goal is to rein it in before you get yourself in even worse shape.
The only way to do that is to stop buying on credit. Cut out spending on things that you want, and only spend on things that you need. If you must spend, try to be rewarded for it.