Mind Candy

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How to avoid credit card impulse spending

Posted by mandyf on August 26, 2012

All impulse spending is dangerous but credit card impulse spending is like ingesting a poison that takes years to work through your system. You may have resolved time and again you wouldn’t let yourself get caught making that last second purchase of a “to die for” outfit you just happened to pass on the way to the checkout. You may have sworn countless times you wouldn’t keep plugging those numbers into the little box on your screen to buy that must have knick knack you are convinced will pull the entire living room together. You may have promised yourself a lot of things when it comes to curbing impulse spending with your credit cards, but what have you really done about it?

Most people don’t have the discipline to leave their little plastic friends at home when they go out and there are legitimate reasons you should have them handy just in case of an emergency. Actually you don’t need the card, just the numbers. If you are truly using your card for just an emergency the numbers can be input on the processing terminal so long as you have proper identification. I know what you’re thinking, that is a tremendous pain! You are absolutely correct, it is a tremendous pain, so much so in fact that you won’t want to go through the lengthy process with a line backing up behind you just to make an impulse purchase. You will learn to operate with just the cash you have on hand.

Many people feel that is unreasonable and toss the idea as soon as they hear it. There is however another way to go about the process. There are some people that find that hiding their credit card in the car before they go shopping works well. What this does is it affords you the card if their is an emergency but it keeps it out of your hands while you’re making your purchases. In order to impulse spend with it you would have to make your purchase, go to the car, get the card, and then go back and buy what several seconds earlier you couldn’t live with. It is surprising how often people change their mind under these conditions. Of course you could abandon your cart and go to the car to get it and come back and hope your cart hasn’t already been put with the other items for restocking. Either way you are in a situation in which using your card is an inconvenience.


While that works great at the store, what can you do about those at home purchases? For starters keep your credit cards far away from where your computer is. Again this echoes the idea of making yourself have to do something before the purchase which provides an opportunity to change your mind. If you are unwilling to walk to the other side of the house to get your card then you don’t need the purchase. Don’t store your number with anyone online. Having your number stored with online retailers, programs like Visa Verified, or anything of that nature just makes it easier for you to spend. Furthermore it’s never a good security idea to have your credit card information in many different retailers data banks, it only increases the odds it can be compromised.


In short you can make promises to just not use your credit card for impulse purchases or you can do something about it! Since it is unlikely you will give them up entirely or ever leave home without them, make them inconvenient to use by trying the above tips. In no time at all you’ll see your monthly debt balance dropping, fewer “must have” purchases you soon find you didn’t have to have, and a far healthier credit score. The key is to be disciplined!


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