Keeping Your Credit Cards Out of Your Own Hands
Overspending is easy to do with a credit card – way too easy – and can often lead to debt.
Researchers have found that even for people who don’t carry a balance each month on their credit card, they overspend when using a credit card instead of cash. Credit cards can make people more willing to spend twice as much for something than they would when using cash.
A simple solution can be to keep your credit cards out of your wallet or purse so that you don’t conveniently have them at hand when you’re shopping. But there are other ways to keep credit cards out of sight, and hopefully out of mind:
Freeze them, literally
Put your credit cards in a plastic, ziplock bag, and then put that bag in another bag. Put the bag into either a bowl of water or another ziplock bag full of water, and put it all in the freezer.
To get your credit cards out, you’ll have to thaw the block of ice. That may give you enough time to reconsider your purchase.
If putting your credit cards in a freezer is too extreme, consider freezing the usage of them through your credit card company.
Some credit cards can be turned on and off, such as through an app, allowing you to turn access to them off when you don’t want to use them for a while. This can help deter thieves, but also requires you logging into your account to turn credit card access back on. Again, the point here is to create another step before you can use your credit card, giving you time to think about what you’re about to buy.
Set a budget and carry cash
Having a weekly or monthly budget can help keep spending in control, but not so much if you use a credit card. If you want to be faithful to your budget, try for a month to only buy things with the cash you have on hand.
Go to your bank and withdraw the amount of cash you have budgeted to spend that week. Once that cash is gone, you’ll have to come up with creative ways to do things. Walk instead of taking a taxi. Empty out your refrigerator to make lunch instead of eating out.
If you prefer not to walk around with a load of cash in your pocket, then put the money in a checking account and use a debit card to withdraw it as needed.
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