Monday, August 8, 2011

Curbing the Credit Demon

For people like me who buy a lot of their knitting supplies online by necessity alone our credit card bills often begin to reflect this negatively. I was blessed to have a credit card with a 500 US limit which curbed me from spending more than I could feasibly afford too.

Even so, spending that much is not good. Although the yarn is a necessary to my favorite and most rewarding past-time, the additional cost of taxes, shipping and duties can turn a simply buy into a very costly out of pocket expense.

Suddenly along with the credit card bill for the initial tans-action, I end up paying out of pocket to collect and clear my packages. Shipping prices can also be restrictive, even if I go through a second hand mail carrier.

In this digital age where gratification is a swipe away, taking care of credit is not as simple as saying that 'I don't need it, so I won't get it," as nice as that mantra is, it does nothing to assuage the soul and ease the need.

Moderation and careful consideration of our budgets is the only way to truly manage our money but as we are humans who falter, indiscretions and indulgences should be worked in, where-ever possible. Treating and rewarding ourselves is a guilt-relieving system that can also lead to better credit habits.

My four tips for controlling your credit bill in your personal expenses department, without turning into a robot are:

1) Set yourself a realistic Goal. Decide how much you want to shave off of your credit bill each month but make sure that it is an attainable figure.

2) Write lists. Shop around online and in real life if applicable, look in your cupboards, yarn stash and storage bins, take stock of your life and decide what you want now and what you can stand to get later. Write each down on appropriately titled or themed list and constantly revise.

3) Forgive yourself. When you try to stick to your list and you find that you stray. Don't get down on yourself. See what triggered the over-spending and access if it was avoidable. From an unplanned birthday to a sale on Elann.com - there is always a reason. And once you have identified it, see if you can learn to plan for it but increasing your indulgence budget.

4) Un-automate Payment. In most cases paying for things online is too damn easy. Where-ever possible take the long way around and give yourself time to think about what you are about to do. Check your list and see which section it falls under and make a non-hype induced decision. It is far to easy to just hit the pay now button and commit to something you have not yet really considered.

Overall with a good dose of self-discipline and planning, credit can be conquered before it gets to be debt because if you look at your credit card bill, the average person will find that 55% of the purchases were gratuitous.

Let's make a difference to our financial lives. Cut your bill by 5%. It might seem like a little bit, however, it will all add up. When you notice a saving in your credit, save the extra money for a rainy day.

No comments:

Post a Comment