Over the weekend, I took a look at my last credit card bill and realized that I have been a bit too free with the plastic. With my husband’s most recent layoff, I realize that every penny counts toward my family’s financial goals and financial freedom.
So, in the last 31 days, I racked up $500 in credit card charges. And NOT $500 spent on important things/necessities like my Metrocard for transportation or planned purchases like my carpet from The Home Depot. When I seriously eyeballed my last credit card statement, it showed how irresponsible I was, with respect to spending on wants and whims. When I accounted for the important or the essential, my bill still showed that I had charged $250 on things that I couldn’t remember even buying.
If I am being honest with myself, I did not mindfully spend this month. I know that I have to be a bit more vigilant and circumspect when it comes to using my credit card so I don’t make it habitual.
Using credit cards is basically borrowing from your future wealth to pay for something today, which usually is not worth it.
Over the weekend, I learned so much about my financial self by just doing the following. Try doing the same with your next bill and tell me what you learned about yourself.
Count the Number of Purchases That You Made Last Month
Ever really sit down and look at how many times you were quick to swipe in a month? For me, I was feeling happy enough to pull out my plastic twenty times this past month. On one day in particular, I used my credit card four times to buy food and buy shoes.
Use a Highlighter to Categorize Purchases as Either “Wants”or “Needs.”
I used two highlighters to give me a visual of my spending for the month. With a blue highlighter, I highlighted all of my wants: stops at Starbucks, clothing stores, and convenient stores. With a yellow one, I highlighted all of those important and/or necessary purchases. My statement looked like the insides of a blueberry pie. This was a big sign that I have to rein in my spending for next month.
Remember that Financial Freedom Is a Lifelong Commitment and Requires Work
Were you one of those kids that never had to study to get good grades…. until that one test kicked you in the booty and reminded you that though you were gifted, you still had to work for what you got? Well, this analogy applies to me when it comes to my personal finances. I have been good about saving and eliminating debt since 2008, but I, too, have to keep my nose to the grind when it comes to ensuring that I am making smart money moves all of the time….in all areas of my personal finances.
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