Archive for March, 2013

Making a credit card feel like cash

Several years ago, when my oldest daughter was four years old, I told her that we could not make a particular purchase because I did not have enough money. She was disappointed, but undeterred  she sung out in her little voice, “well, just put it on the card . . .” After the conversation that ensued, I realized that she – at no fault of her own – had not made a connection between credit card purchases and cash purchases. To her, paying with cash was a completely different transaction than paying with plastic. It is obvious why it would seem this way to a young child. She has no awareness of the fact that my paycheck is directly deposited into my back account, that we spend that money via a credit or debit card and then pay it back with an electronic funds transfer or electronic bill. Cash transactions are pretty rare in our household.

How a credit card fast can help to get your budget under control

What is a credit card fast?

Pretty much what it sounds like: refusing to use one’s credit card for a period of time – a week, a month, three months, etc. Another variation of the credit card fast is to continue using credit cards, but restrict usage only to certain essential purchases such as gas, groceries or airfare, but not using the card for eating out, entertainment, clothes, electronics or any other kind of shopping.