Here are 4 tools to help you get your credit card spending in control. Before you can work out paying off your credit card debt, you first need to cut the harmful spending habits that got you there in the first place.
1 Leave your credit card at home.
Firstly, some people take this a step further and freeze their credit card in a block of ice. Alternatively, many banks will allow you to digitally “freeze” your card from your online banking system. Do not bring your card out with you unless you ABSOLUTELY had to, and if you do have a plan for what you need to buy and stick to that list.
2 Do a cash-only cleanse.
Along similar lines to #1 switching to cash only has been a beneficial tool for a lot of people (myself included) for managing spending habits. This forces you to spend within your means and to borrow less. Switching to cash only can work great in conjunction with the Envelope Budgeting system.
3 Take a cooling off period.
Next, before swiping your credit card, or even making a big cash purchase take some time to consider your purchase. Make a list of your spending desires, wait 2 weeks and then review it. There is a good chance you won’t still feel like you need the items on that list
4 Know your balance.
Most banks have mobile apps these days which means it can be very easy to keep on top of your balance. Check in every day with your finances to make sure you are keeping your spending focused only on what you NEED. This will help keep you motivated to make your goals. Other apps like Mint.com and YNAB can be used as well and offer other insights into your spending habits.
5 Avoid spending triggers.
If you go to the mall to “window shop” or the equivalent with online stores try finding activities to replace these. Avoid malls, and stores (online included) unless you have a particular purchase you absolutely NEED and have budgeted accordingly. Try going for a walk, bike ride or inviting friends over instead. When you notice that when you have a bad day or are feeling upset the need to spend utilise #3 and take a cooling off period before making a purchase.
6 Always have a plan.
It isn’t just grocery shopping where you need to go in prepared with a list. Whether you’re going to the mall or running random errands you need to have a list with exactly what you have planned to buy. It is helpful to look at your budget ahead of time and see what you NEED. Understand what you can afford to pay for those items and STICK TO THAT LIST.
Lastly, check out the article we’ve shared from the lovely ladies at the financial diet “27 things you might be doing wrong with money.”