Dec 01 2010

Got a bit carried away with the credit card

November was a big spending month for us. We bought Christmas presents, birthday presents for our son, our car needed some repairs and its normal inspection, and I did lots of freezer cooking and pantry-stocking, and getting last-minute baby stuff.

I put most of these purchases on our credit card so we’d get some cash back.

It’s all well and good if you keep a close handle on your spending, but it is so easy to get carried away! I truly do think that buying something with a credit card feels different than using debit, and those methods are way different than paying in physical cash.

Fortunately we are able to pay our bill in full, but still! I need to be more mindful of what I’m doing with that credit card.

If I’m going to continue using that card, then I need to immediately transfer the purchase amount from my checking to the “reserve” section of our savings, so that when the bill is due, I have all of the money set aside for the credit card bill. It will help me not overspend for that month, since the money won’t be available in our checking account anymore.

I did that somewhat, but not for every purchase for whatever reason.

It’s kind of a bummer to see that I’m not as disciplined as I thought, but it’s a good lesson for me to remember: Don’t get carried away with credit!

Can anyone relate?

7 Responses to “Got a bit carried away with the credit card”

  1. Completely! I used to just put big purchases like airline tickets on my credit card (not really sure why I had this logic, but I did) and ended up with a balance of about $5K. I’ve since stopped using the card altogether and am working on paying it off. Lesson learned!

  2. Totally relate! We set our regular monthly bills to auto pay with a credit card and we put all of our gas purchases on the credit card. If we’re not careful with additional spending, we end up with a GIGANTIC credit card bill. We’ve always been able to pay it in full each month (and reap the rewards), but there have been some very painful bills!
    Christina @ Northern Cheapskate´s last post ..Reflections on The No Eating Out Challenge

  3. Yes, I agree using a credit card does feel different — like you are not really spending money. I’m pretty frugal and careful with money, but I’m certainly not immune to the tempation to spend more with a credit card.
    Trixie´s last post ..Christmas Cards

  4. It is definitely different than using debit. The same thing used to happen to us. We cancelled our credit cards over a year ago, because in our particular situation the problems (potential and actual) outweighed any benefits.

  5. I can so relate. For a while we would run short of money a few days before payday. Then I would use the credit card. I found I spent alot more on the card and didn’t keep track so lots of little purchases add up quick. I would pay it off on payday but of course that made us short for the next two weeks and the hole thing would start all over. We finally broke the cycle by taking some money out of our savings. We continue to be debt free though. Including our house. But I do spend more when I use the Credit card as opposed to the debit.

  6. I do the *exact* same thing… I always pay my cc in full every month, but I still spend more than what I want to, which is why i’ve went back to “cash only”. I do like earning the “rewards”, but end up literally saving more $$ when I use a cash only system!
    ~Carla~´s last post ..My Savings Goal…

  7. As soon as I leave this house, I know I will spend money, it’s inevitable – like on even a coffee at the gas station etc. And it will be on a credit card as I put all of my current expenses on the card to get rewards AND to track my spending. I keep track every day in a book and know exactly what I have spent in the month and how (card, bank or other[cash]. It helps me to know what I am facing in the way of bills the next month. I often stick a couple of extra payments on my cc to cover current expenses, use bill pay from my bank also. Four years ago I had a $40,000 credit card debt (helping my kids mostly) and now it is down to $30,000. On a $2,000/month income. I figure it will take me six more years to pay off completely. Take advantage of deals when they come up -0% apr’s for a while, etc., but they are really getting violent with their balance transfer fees (used to be a lot free). My credit score is not too bad- in the lower 700’s, but am sometimes denied credit because my balances are too great of a percentage of my lines of credit (because I have closed cards in the interim which I preferred to do at the time). Just keep plugging away — write down EVERYTHING EVERY PENNY you spend or have coming in, keep track, keep track, keep track. Make your own meals from scratch. You would be surprised how good a plain potato, a heap of veggies and salad, with a little meat or egg white (I am on a low-salt low-fat regimen) tastes when perked up with some nice herbs. And it’s easy and cheap. Do a lot of soups and stews, all the nutrients are saved in the broth. Nothing is wasted.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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