What’s in Your Wallet?

I love these commercials!

But what does it have to do with the post?

Well, if you remember back in October 2008 I cut up all the Credit/Store Cards in my wallet. I know that some other people did the same, too. I wanted to let you know how its worked out.

Stores don’t need your Physical (store) Credit Card

I can simply punch in my Social Security number into the credit card processing machine, have the store clerk verify the account information with my driver’s license, and Wha La! Sign for the purchase and there is your receipt!

Or if you are using a regular credit card like a Visa or MasterCard then you learn to shop online (love Amazon) where your information is already stored for future purchases.

Defeats the purpose of cutting or freezing the credit card doesn’t it?

If you don’t use credit, I want to know what works for you

DH and I have reracked credit card debt in waves throughout our debt repayment journey. I find it difficult not to use my credit card, especially during the want-to-remodel-during-the-spring mode. If you’ve been successful in not chosing not to use your credit card(s) how to you keep the discipline?

Do you keep a big Vision Board posted to the back of the bedroom door? Do you tape affirmations of success on the bathroom window? What is it you do to keep yourself and your credit cards in check? Or does using your debit card do the trick (kind of gives you the slight satisfaction like your using a credit card)?

Or is there another way?

Have you learned to effectively discipline yourself in keeping your credit card spending under control? Of course, I am in the process of paying back alot of debt so I don’t want to use my card at all. But I would still love to hear your thoughts on effectively keeping your spending under control.

Oh my credit cards are still not in my wallet (except for one emergency card that I have not used). Along with:

  • my driver’s license
  • the family’s medical cards
  • 6 Dave & Buster’s game cards
  • 2 Disneyland ticket stubs (from when my daughter got to pull Arthur’s sword)
  • my much used library card
  • my grocery store saver cards and $5 for my son’s lunch later this week
  • What’s in Your Wallet?

    17 thoughts on “What’s in Your Wallet?

    1. shtinkykat

      I haven’t put a kibosh on credit card use. But I do struggle with the daily temptation of spending, especially at restaurants! I guess at the end of the month when I have to pay the credit card bill, I get angry when I go over budget since I have to find the money elsewhere. I guess that anger keeps my spending in check. Sometimes. πŸ˜›

      1. admin

        Ah, eating out is always a popular culprit. We used to eat out every Friday night. But, now we are limiting that to every other Friday. Especially since we want to definitely go to Hawaii and beable to have fun over there. LOL.

        And where you are living… there is many good places to eat. I can see where temptation haunts you. πŸ™‚

    2. Annie

      I admit that I still use my credit card, although I’m using it more for “big” things, like the car repairs I had done the other week. I’m not whipping it out for, say, a candy bar every day. I definitely think this is an improvement over the way I’ve been using it in the past. Not ideal, obviously, as the point is to try and stay away from revolving debt (and debt in general), but an improvement.

      I think what’s helping is the thought of a dreaded “five whole minute” walk downtown at lunch to do anything…ha ha! I’d rather sit and read while eating my (homemade!) lunch.

    3. admin

      LOL. I know what you mean about the lunch thing. It keeps me from expenditures, too.

      I think eventually when debt is under control it might be ideal to find a balance in using the credit cards. Personally, I like just having the one ’emergency’ card or like you use for bigger purchases. Makes sense.

      Well, I like having my Kohl’s card to for clothing purchase because I do get some great card holder savings benefits (great with kids). Of course, if I just used cash i may not spend as much.

      Hmmmm… balance I think will be key. But first, I need to get out of debt!

    4. Jessie

      I have far too many cards in my wallet – but only one credit card, and one debit card. The card’s I’m speaking of are the membership cards… clothing stores, gift stores, grocery stores – everyone has a membership card!

      One of the things I’m trying to do these days, is use all these ‘points’ I’ve been earning everywhere.

    5. Lizzie

      I use my debit card for everything. Its the cheapest way to spend and I it means I have to stop when I run out of cash in my account. Unfortunately my purse is still full of cards, since every store likes you to have one, but not payments cards anymore.


    6. admin

      @ Jessie: have you seen my key chain? it’s laddened with membership cards. πŸ˜‰

      @ Lizzie: Isn’t that the truth? Unless you have Overdraft protection like me; where the negative balance is covered by your savings account. Then, you can still spend until it truly is all gone! Good for you on not having the payment cards anymore. I have to say that I am glad I got rid of my Target card, because they have everything that I like in there! πŸ™‚

    7. Cat

      I’ve never really understood the “cut up your credit cards” mantra. I estimate that I made over 1K last year by putting everything I buy on credit cards and paying off the balance in full each month.

      I have a whiteboard on which I write all my budget categories and the amount allotted to each at the beginning of each month. Then, whenever my husband or I come home from the store, I write what we spent, and subtract that amount from the allotted amount. Thus, we have a good idea of how much we have left in each category at all times. It doesn’t matter if we paid with cash, a cheque, or a credit card – money is money, after all.

    8. Ms. MoneyChat

      you know, i really think everyone has to find their own groove. for me, i was sick and tired of going in and out of credit card debt. i’m telling you, i must have paid off the same credit cards 3 times before i said “enough is enough.” i’m just to the point now that if i don’t have the money, i don’t buy it, period. i plan for what i want, it doesn’t matter what it is. if it’s home improvements, new furniture, a vacation, another car, etc, i plan for it. it’s kind of like being an addict who hasn’t hit rock bottom yet; you keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. not until you truly get fed up with where you are and become absolutely, uncompromisingly (sp?) committed to doing what it takes to change your circumstances, you’ll continue in the same pattern. that’s just my 2 cents. i was that debt addict that had to hit rock bottom. maybe yall are not, but i sure was.

    9. Kim

      I cut up all but one of my credit cards because even though I have the absolute best of intentions, I apparently cannot be trusted with credit just yet! Last year I got a new points card with the intention of charging only things I needed, like groceries and then paying off the balance right away.. but then throughout the year I decided I needed a new digi cam, a new ipod, to stay for a couple of nights in Atlantic City.. and then I owed $2k and that was when I realized that me & credit cards aren’t a good idea! lol

      A vision board is a good idea though, I have many reno plans for the house!

    10. admin

      @ Cat: I am curious how you made 1K last year by putting everything on credit cards. Please indulge.

      I love to hear people’s methods in personal finance. I bet you and DH do a pretty good job of keeping the spending in check by writing it daily.

      @ Ms. Money Chat: I think you’re right. I wrote something to that point in my previous Coming Clean post… “Hi, My name is Christine and I am a debtaholic“. What I should of said was Recovering Debt Addict. LOL.

      Yes… our biggest card we paid off 3 times as well. And we didn’t get a darn different result at all! Why is that? πŸ˜‰

      And you do get pushed up against a wall… I hate the overwhelming feeling that comes with that, but it was definitely a wake up call! Then you start to realize that there is so much more to life than payin’ bills. Thank you for your 2 cents. I much agree with you.

      @ Kim: I have done the same with my BofA card. $2K credit line… started buying little stuff and charging Christmas. Before ya know it… I was at my limit. And will probably have paid $5K back when its done. All for stuff I probably don’t have anymore because I sure can’t remember what I bought on that card! πŸ˜‰

      I’d like to put a vision board together, too. I think a visual reminder of your destination(s) is a rather swell idea. If you put one together… I hope you’ll share.

    11. jpkittie

      I am with you — I have been horrible as well — I have found that dh & I are the only ones that can talk the other out of purchases… I will want to go buy something & then dh talks me out of it & then the reverse happens at other times… it is hard – just a complete battle. I guess you just really have to want it… I even found that if I have my bankcard/debit in my wallet & also my cash from my envelope – I will keep the cash & use the card b/c then I am saying to myself – goodness, if I use this $30 for my $26 grocery bill, I will only have $4 left… I am very bad!!!! If you figure something out, please share!!!!

    12. admin

      @ jpkittie: Ah, you both compliment each other. That’s wonderful! I wish I had that. LOL. Unfortunate for me, I can talk my DH into any purchase. He is particularily bad with sales people. Like when he bought a cuticle nail package made in Greece with natural sea salt. LOL. We’ve only used it once.

      And as for the latter… you’re not the only one that does that. I know many people who will use the cash card over there budgeted allotment. I will definitely let you know if I find the magic answer. πŸ™‚

    13. Revanche

      The magic answer for me is guilt. πŸ™‚ Well, not really. But mindfulness. A lot of spending control comes from being aware of: your budget, your income and committed expenses, the amount of wiggle room you have, how much of that wiggle room you’ve already used up, and how important is that item in question really?

      Sounds super Zen but it’s actually grounded in the real world. I keep a planner, and I write down every single purchase, every day. I add up each week’s purchases and make sure that I know how I spent it (cash, check, charge) so that I’m being completely honest.

      Like Kat, I put everything I can on my cards because it makes everything easier to track, I see what and how much I’ve spent in any given time frame, and I make money!

      Whenever I consider a new purchase I think about the category it falls under, the amount I’ve spent from that category (and check my notes if I’m not positive), and whether or not I really truly need it. This last bit is really helped along by my need for cleanliness and less mess. I find that wanting more simplicity and less clutter makes the decision not to buy more satisfying.

      I’m much less stringent now that I’m not paying off anyone’s debts, but still careful because all that money now has to go to savings so that I don’t live paycheck to paycheck and can make “frivolous” purchases. [aka, stuff for me and only me. just because I want it!]

    14. Emily

      I must be one of the lucky ones. I grew up watching my parents pay off their card every month. When I got my first card in college I used it for essentials like gas and paid it off every pay day. I still pay it off monthly but I do use it to treat myself to lunch and my hobbies. I also use Quicken so the transactions come through daily and I can see the balance growing. If it’s getting higher than usual I know it’s time to cut back on non-essentials this month.. It must be easier for me too as I don’t have kids to say “no” to.. Good luck finding your balance!

    15. Cat

      I have 4 cash-back credit cards, none of which have annual fees, and all of which give more cash back for different things. For example, one gives 1.5 or 5% (after 6K of annual spending) at grocery stores. One gives 2% back at restaurants. One gives 5% cash back on random stuff that changes monthly or quarterly. I put everything (and I mean every transaction where stores will let me) on credit cards, remembering to use each for whatever gives me the most cash back. I pay all balances in full, on time each month. Last year, I got a little more than 1K in cash back and gift cards for places I go regularly.

    16. admin

      @ Revanche: LOL. Your last sentence made me laugh. We can need to be a little selfish at times. ha! Guilt rules your spending, huh? That is good. I think writing down every single purchase is a bit tedious for me, but everyone has their own method. Although, I did start out that way… the current method I have for our family works out quite well because it omits the need to track each expenditure. Its good to hear that your keeping the lessons learned from prior debt. It’s become a lifestyle I think.

      @ Emily: Yes, I have to agree… definitely lucky. My parents were the complete opposite. Hence the fact we moved 3 times a year! I think you have a great method. Especially because you have a bit of wiggle room. Many people tend to bind themselves too tightly (me included). It’s like a bad diet if you restrict the budget too much cuz then it baloons the debt with rebound. Not good. lol.

      @ Cat: Thank you for explaining. I forgot about cash rewards or gift cards. I only have one CC that gives me Hawaiian air miles. Which I do have a one way ticket paid. Hmmm…. live in Hawaii? lol. Actually, you’ve set me onto a great idea. I think I will charge on my Hawaiian card since we are going next year. I may just rack enough to pay for most of our flight. Thanks!

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