When it comes to shopping, your personality and tastes not only play a role in what you decide to buy. You can get a sense of a person’s taste and personality by looking at his or her credit card spending habits, too. Who knew, you might be using your credit card as a way to make you feel better about yourself or because you’ve convinced yourself doing so will save you money.
While your spending habits can work in line with a budget, it’s also all too easy for t hings to get out of hand, especially when plastic is involved. If you find yourself nodding while reading about the following habits, there are a few simple ways to correct your credit card spending habits and protect your finances.
You’ve Never Met a Sale You Didn’t Like
Those boots you were ambivalent about at full price suddenly become a must have item once they’re marked down 75 percent. You don’t need canned tomatoes right now, but who knows when they will go on sale again? If you use your credit card to make impulse purchases, particularly when something is on sale, you’re not alone. Mainstreet.com reported that 75 percent of people made impulse buys, according to a 2014 survey. While buying something on sale can save you money, it only does so if it was something you were going to buy anyway.
What can you do to get your sale influenced impulse buying under control? The best thing is to make a list of what you need and stick with it, whether you’re buying clothing or groceries. If you do see something that’s a great deal, but not on your list, don’t buy it. Instead, put it on a “to think about” list and wait until you have room in your budget for it. It might turn out that you change your mind and remember that you don’t really want those boots or that you don’t actually like canned tomatoes, after all.
You Want to Help Your Card Help You
If your credit card offers reward points, such as cash back or travel rewards, you might think that using your card as often as you can will help you in the long run, as you’ll be able to rack up a number of points. While getting reward points is a great bonus, it’s worth keeping in mind that getting 1 to 3 percent cash back isn’t enough to cover the cost of interest on most cards. Use your card to get points, if that makes you happy. But, set a limit for spending each month that lines up with your budget, or only use your card when you know what you have the cash on hand to pay off whatever you purchased.
You Forget About Your Budget
Do you overspend when you use your credit card? You’re not alone. A 2014 article in the New York Times described the ways using credit cards changed people’s spending habits. People are more likely to spend more when paying with a card or to focus less on the actual cost of items. If you’ve found that you’ve gone over budget when using your cards, try leaving them behind when you go out shopping. Restricting yourself to a cash diet can help you reset your spending habits and get back on track.
If your credit card spending has spiraled out of control, there is hope. CESI can help you make a plan to pay off your debts and a budget to keep your spending in check in the future.
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Consumer Education Services, Inc. empowers people to overcome their financial challenges and lead financially-healthy lives.
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