Ahhh, credit cards. They have really made it so, so easy for us to spend, without us even realizing just how much we’re spending. Many of us pull out our Amexs many times over the month without even thinking twice, then look at the bill at the end of the month and sigh as if it’s just another necessary bill. Here’s some quick and relatively painless ways to curb your credit card spending:

  • Give your self a cash allowance for the week. Use this for small things you may use your credit card for – lattes, gas, lunch, even happy hour…Using a cash allowance will you allow you to see just how much you are spending weekly on these small creature comforts. Making your allowance stretch all week will also put you on a budget. (Kinda takes you back to being 13 again.)
  • Stop shopping so often. Easier said than done, yes; but there are small steps you can take to do this. Many women in particular visit the mall when they have a bit of free time. This usually leads to spending on things you don’t need. Instead, use your free time to start a new hobby, call a friend or relative, or exercise. Say your hobby is interior design, or you have a passion for fashion, and this is your excuse for shopping – subscribe to a design or fashion magazine to get your fix. $15/yr is much cheaper than a weekly shopping trip.
  • Look at your bank statement every day. This will give you a constant reminder of just how much money you have (or don’t have) and how much you have recently spent. Get out of the habit of just glancing at your credit card statements when the bills arrive, and coughing it up as another necessity, like your electric bill or phone bill.
  • Stop driving so often. I would guess many of us use credit cards to fill up the tank, and I know credit cards are the most common payment for pricey automobile maintenance cost. Riding your bike or using public transportation is not only better for your pocketbook, but also for the environment.
  • Freeze your credit cards. Literally. This is kind of extreme, but a cool idea (no pun intended). Place your credit card in a mixing bowl full of water and put in it the freezer. Next time you are tempted to spend, you will be forced to go home and thaw out your card. This will give you some time to really evaluate your potential purchase. Sounds silly, and I have never actually tried it, but I bet it works.