Curbing the Reflex to whip out the Credit Card
There is a blog named Get Rich Slowly that I subscribe to with my Bloglines reader and on my Google start page. The title of the blog alone motivates me to continue my path of saving money (not to mention the solid reminders on frugality). Today J.D. discusses an MSN article pertaining to escape from debt hell.
He pulls and discusses several excerpts from the article but the 1 that was most important to me when I started my crazy anti-spending spree was, “Abstain from Credit cards AND Debit Cards”.
This point actually made it hard for me to spend money. If I didn’t have any plastic in my wallet, I was forced to make a conscious decision every time I passed a McDonald’s. Was my last $5 bill going towards a Quarter Pounder w/ cheese?
I want to highlight my choice of words here for a second. I said, “conscious decision“. Whether you believe it or not many people reach into their wallet or purse for the plastic without making any real decision. It’s become a reflex – you have to pay for something so without thinking, you whip it out and sign. The next opportunity to think about the transaction is when your statement comes in the mail. At that point, it is obviously too late.
This was exactly my problem, spending wasn’t spending money until the statement came. Over 80% of the transactions on my statements were ones that I regretted. I would really encourage anyone, debt-free or not, to try going a week without any credit/debit cards. You will quickly notice that you are putting more thought into what you are buying.