People are always promising themselves that they will stop using their credit cards until their debt is paid off. In the end they’re left with a trail of broken promises. If you’re prone to forgetting the reality of your financial circumstances when the gimmies grab you, this idea is for you. Make yourself one of these and every time you open up your wallet you’ll be reminded of what you’re doing relative to your current financial situation.
What’s the trick? A credit card condom: an envelope into which your card slips snugly, which carries a pertinent message to stop you from going further into debt. Here are a few suggestions:
- Do you have the money to pay this purchase off in full when the bill comes in?
- You already owe $2,500 on this card.
- Is this a need or a want?
You’ll have to come up with a message that makes you stop and think. Perhaps it’s a message that reminds you of your goals.
- If you’re trying to save $2,600 for that trip down south next winter, will buying this get you closer to that goal?
- If you’re setting up an RESP, spend now, or use this money to prepare baby for the future!
- You want to be debt-free in 9 months? Instead of buying this, make a payment on your debt!
You can also make your credit card condom something you can use to track how you’re doing. Let’s say you decide you want to have $1,000 saved for an emergency by the end of the year. Write your goal on your credit card condom. Each time you choose not to spend money on the card, move that money to your emergency fund and add it to your total on your credit card condom.
While you’re at it, make yourself a debit dinger (Australian for condom) into which you can slide your debit card into so that each time you pull it out to make a purchase you’re reminded of something that is more important than blowing bucks on bull!
If you need more of a reminder than words provide, create a credit card condom or a debit dinger with a picture of whatever it is you’re trying to achieve: a picture of a beautiful house if you’re saving a downpayment, a picture of a gorgeous beach if you’re setting aside money for a vacation, a picture of your son or daughter if you’re trying to build a school fund.