Do you have a credit card spending addiction? Sure, applying for a credit card is easy. Getting accepted is pretty easy given that there is a credit card out there for almost anyone with nearly any credit history. But using your credit wisely – that can be a bit more difficult.
As you run around town with plastic in your pocket keep these tips to control credit card spending in mind to keep yourself out of trouble and avoid becoming one of the millions of Americans who are knee deep in credit card debt:
Overcome credit card spending addiction by leaving the credit cards at home. The best way not to overspend is to not have the temptation. If you simply don’t carry your cards with you then you can’t charge things. This is an important step for people who struggle to control their spending.
Use credit cards only for purchases you would make if you had to pay in cash. Too many people think of credit cards as free money because it is simply too easy to use them. In fact, you should think of it the opposite way – if you end up carrying a balance on your credit cards you sacrifice your future spending power and you end up paying more for the things you buy eventually. That is why you should only use credit cards to buy things that you would have no problem forking over cold hard cash to buy.
Don’t buy more than you can afford. Credit cards are not meant to allow you to buy things that you can’t afford. That is how people get into trouble. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that if you can make the minimum payment then you can afford it. If you don’t have enough money in the bank to buy something – or if you don’t know for certain that you can pay it off within just a couple of months – then you can’t afford it.
Pay your cards off in full each month. This is the most important rule. If you pay your cards off each month you not only will avoid interest but you never rack up debt and get yourself into trouble.
Pay more than the minimum payment. If you already have a credit card balance and it is too late to follow the above step and pay off the balance in full then you need to pay it off as quickly as you can. Paying the minimum payment will cost you a fortune and get you nowhere fast – pay as much as you can afford and get rid of that debt as quickly as possible.
Pay off smaller debt first. Once you overcome credit card spending addiction and you are ready to pay off your debt realize that from a purely financial perspective it makes sense to pay off your highest interest debt first. However, the reality is that psychologically people feel better, more accomplished, if they pay off smaller debt first and get some cards out of the way. That’s why financial experts Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman both say that paying off your smallest balances first is a valid way to get rid of your debt.
Ramsey, D. (2009). The truth about budgeting. Retrieved from,
Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on CreditCardIdeas.com are from credit card companies from which this site receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers.
Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on CreditCardIdeas.com is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.