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managing cards and spending

Frequent Contributor

managing cards and spending

I find since i started using a credit card to do all my spending that its harder to keep spending the same amount I used to when I used a debit card. Anyone else have that problem? I dont go crazy but I feel like Im spending too much. Also how often does everyone check their accounts online? Im on mine multiple times a day for some reason. Its a sickness I think. Ive only been using credit cards for everyday spending since late November so I guess it takes a little bit of time to get used to it. 


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Message 1 of 29
28 REPLIES
Established Contributor

Re: managing cards and spending


E150GT wrote:

I find since i started using a credit card to do all my spending that its harder to keep spending the same amount I used to when I used a debit card. Anyone else have that problem? I dont go crazy but I feel like Im spending too much. Also how often does everyone check their accounts online? Im on mine multiple times a day for some reason. Its a sickness I think. Ive only been using credit cards for everyday spending since late November so I guess it takes a little bit of time to get used to it. 


Use mint.com and mint app for your smartphone = problem solved

 

also if you really need to budget you can buy American Express gift cards using topcashback or bigcrumbs at a discount below face value (little bit) so you won't have to think about it, when it gets declined then you stop your spending ;p


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Message 2 of 29
Valued Contributor

Re: managing cards and spending

I use a detailed spreadsheet too record ALL spending and color code it to track what my balances are. It helps that I use only bank account, but basically what I do is start with my bank account balance at top, and record all credit card, debit card, and checking account spending (that includes paychecks) and make sure my bank balance stays at the proper level at all times. I also have an expected budget on a different tab of the spreadsheet to make sure my bank account is where it is supposed to be. When I start going lower than my expected budget, I see exactly how far below I am in big red letters. That basically helps me stop spending or find other alternatives to put myself back into a good position. For example, I just went on a little mini vacation and my car needed repairs so my bank balance is about $300 lower than it should be. Luckily, my tax return in a few months will fix this, and my spending will definitely decline over the next few weeks. 

 

Anyway, you need to track your spending more closely. Credit cards can be a dangerous thing if not monitored. Obviously, some people like other types of services because they don't want such hands-on methods, but I love seeing and handling my balances everyday. I'm weird like that. 

 

if you send me a PM, I would be happy to send my spreadsheet to you or anyone else!


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Message 3 of 29
Established Contributor

Re: managing cards and spending

I use Quicken 2010 software to manage all of my finances. It has really helped me see the whole picture and it helps keep track of all of my credit cards. I don't have it linked to any bank or credit card account, i enter all transactions and payments manually, but quicken remembers the transaction names so i can type less, and i am able to even schedule quicken to put in a transaction on a specific day of each month for like my blockbuster, netflix & hulu subscriptions that are auto charged to my credit cards.

 

I check all of my accounts online at least twice a day and i check them too if i just made a recent purchase.

 

by using quicken i am able to better predict and analyze my spending so i can avoid going broke & in debt. Smiley Very Happy

 

 

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Message 4 of 29
Valued Contributor

Re: managing cards and spending


E150GT wrote:

I find since i started using a credit card to do all my spending that its harder to keep spending the same amount I used to when I used a debit card. Anyone else have that problem? I dont go crazy but I feel like Im spending too much. Also how often does everyone check their accounts online? Im on mine multiple times a day for some reason. Its a sickness I think. Ive only been using credit cards for everyday spending since late November so I guess it takes a little bit of time to get used to it. 


Multiple studies have shown that people do spend more when they have reward cards than when they don't.  Much the same behavior as buying two of one item "because it's on sale"

Message 5 of 29
Super Contributor

Re: managing cards and spending

I definitely noticed the same thing.

 

When I used to use cash, I spent much less than when I switched to a debit card, where it was easier to just swipe the card.  

 

When I adopted credit cards, I found it was far easier to spend more than on a debit, mainly because I don't notice the decrease in my bank account.  With rewards cards, we can take this a step furthere, where I'll be prone to spend more.

 

I'm not sure how much more, but even if from convenience, I'm sure it's somewhere between 10% - 15%?  

Message 6 of 29
Valued Contributor

Re: managing cards and spending

I don't track spending particularly, just look at statements when they come in to check that they look ok and they all auto-PIF

 

I "know" I have a pretty good idea about how much I am spending on each card.  So... I was very surprised just now to check my year end statement for my Chase Amazon.   I have S/D this card for the last several months, and I would have said that my 2012 spend was $100-200 a month AT MOST.   Now I see that it was in fact $11K plus!   [EDIT: that's a year of course, not $11K a month.]

 

Looking at the detail of course it makes sense "Oh yes, I was using it for all drug store purchases then.  Oh, and I bought that expensive thing on it.."  But obviously I am not that good at informal tracking!

Message 7 of 29
Valued Contributor

Re: managing cards and spending

I keep my spending on track by only using my debit card on rare occasions so that I know I will have a certain amount of cash at certain periods in the month. I set a soft credit limit for myself that equals the total-in-full payment I can make on all my cards and still be able to save a certain amount per month and have excess income for bills I don't pay on my credit card like my student loans and car payment. Basically, it turns out I can spend $2000 total in credit every month. I put $500 on one card and $1500 on another card. Once those limits are reached, I know additional spending is being taken from my savings. I check my accounts frequently as when I start edging towards that soft limit, I only buy necessities unless it is a month that I am rewarding me and my family for something. It works really well. I used to do the spreadsheet thing but it got too time consuming and I found myself squeezing every last dollar out of the spreadsheet because it said things were great for the next 6 months...I got burned a couple of times doing that. So I have found that my blind estimating works better as it is more conservative.
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Message 8 of 29
Valued Contributor

Re: managing cards and spending

Although I use a budget spreadsheet, I set a monthly credit card limit also. Each month, I account for it by putting what my payment will be for each card on the spreadsheet....and on a separate tab, I add my daily purchases against what my payment will be.

It took a couple of months to get it tweaked how I like it, but it works like a charm now. All I have to do is log into my cards, get my balance, add to spreadsheet. this way, I can easily see when I'm close to my spending limit, and keep my budget/savings on track. Takes 5 mins tops.
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Message 9 of 29
Established Contributor

Re: managing cards and spending


frugalQ wrote:
Although I use a budget spreadsheet, I set a monthly credit card limit also. Each month, I account for it by putting what my payment will be for each card on the spreadsheet....and on a separate tab, I add my daily purchases against what my payment will be.

It took a couple of months to get it tweaked how I like it, but it works like a charm now. All I have to do is log into my cards, get my balance, add to spreadsheet. this way, I can easily see when I'm close to my spending limit, and keep my budget/savings on track. Takes 5 mins tops.

good thing to be doing. In quicken it already subtracts what i owe on credit cards before i even put a payment in, from the money coming in which is basically what you are doing. It helps to know exactly what you owe before you charge more or spend more, and thats the way to figure it out. Good Job! Smiley Very Happy

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Message 10 of 29