Do you blame your credit card problems on your wife or husband spending habits while ignoring your own?
How I View Credit Cards:
First, let me say that I personally enjoy and using credit cards, but only when it’s to my financial advantage. I even use my Chase Freedom Credit Card when I buy items from fast food restaurants (every little bit adds up for reward credit cards!) That said, whenever I do use credit cards I try to live by 1 golden rule: “Pay My Total Credit Card Balance Off Each And Every Month”. This is my mantra and what I live by, not being able to do so means I lose the credit card game.
I guess to me, credit cards really are a game, and a game that so far I’m good at. I use the cards for the discounts on products but always pay off the balance in full each month so I don’t pay any fees of any sort.
But I’m fortunate in that I have a spouse that is playing the same game as I am, and even better at it, which leads me into my primary topic for this article:
Blaming Your Credit Card Debt On Your Spouse:
A few years ago, I had a friend that was complaining to me about how his wife continually spend money via their credit cards. He was telling me how buying “happy meals” at McDonalds and other small purchases like clothes for the kids, added up and was the crux of all of their credit card problems. Now I could have believe him, thinking that perhaps his wife wasn’t shopping frugally and that she would could cook at home instead of going to McDonalds every other day, but then he told me how he was going out to Vegas next month and again in late summer.
So my friend would come home and find McDonald’s toys from the “Happy Meals” and complain to his wife, but he would silently ignore his “big” purchases in the same breathe. Oh his wife would find out about some of his big purchases, after all, it’s kind of hard to hide a new big screen TV, but he would always have some deal saving story about how it only cost half the price it normally would have, or was almost free, or was sold to him by a friend cheap.
Dissection of Credit Card Debt:
So you might be thinking, what a jerk that guy must be, and to be honest, I thought so too. But a good chuck of people (if not the majority) that live by impulse. This is probably why the “pet rock” was able to somehow be a selling sensation… This action and behavior can be controlled much like any behavior can be controlled with the proper tools.
So if you aren’t logical and you don’t have any fear of spending money or going into debt, how will you improve? I hate to say this but I would recommend a decent “fee only” financial adviser. Someone that has a good reputation in your area that can dissect both your debt and who and how your money is getting spent.
Like Charles Dicken’s quote in his book “David Copperfield“:
“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery”
A good financial adviser should be able to give you tips to save money on certain spending habit you have, and could even setup some sort of practical budget for you and your spouse to follow.
If you are having credit card problems, consider using a spreadsheet to add up and account for the items that you purchased over the last 4 or 6 months, perhaps you’ll be surprise to find that the real credit card problem may be you…