Credit cards aren’t necessarily a bad thing and they can be a useful financial tool, but when they go beyond being a tool and become a way to go into debt things can get out of hand quickly. In the summer months it’s easy to swipe that plastic a little more often than usual, so here are a few tips to keep you out of trouble.
Cut Back on Travel
One of the biggest summer money drains is travel. Whether it’s just a long weekend road trip or a cross-country adventure, the entire trip can cost an arm and a leg. Airfare is costly, gas is very high compared to last year, and dining out while on the road adds up quick. So this year think about some ideas for fun activities that are local. Use this summer to explore your home state or locations nearby you’ve never thought of.
Watch the Impulse Buys
Summer is often a time for shopping, and that can mean danger for your credit card balance. When you are out shopping you should have an idea of what you want to buy. If you’re just shopping for the sake of getting out of the house you’re setting yourself up for unnecessary purchases that you may regret later.
Go To Yard Sales
Once the weather warms up it’s a sure sign of yard sales to start popping up. The great thing about yard sales is that they don’t even take credit cards. So not only can you satisfy your urge to shop, but you can probably find some inexpensive items and leave the credit card at home.
I know, you probably think the word budget is a four-letter word, but it isn’t as bad as it sounds. Nobody likes budgeting, especially in the summer, but it really is the key to getting your finances under control and it will help you avoid overspending on credit cards. Think of it this way. If you have ever tried dieting you probably know that you have to pay attention to what you eat and how many calories, carbs, and fat different foods have. Without knowing what you’re eating you have no way of knowing whether or not you’re making the right choices.
The same is true for a budget and your finances. You need to know how much money you have to spend, what your spending it on, and what effect those choices have on your overall financial health. Without knowing that you’ll always be in the dark. But just like dieting, after you get used to the idea of paying better attention to your actions it becomes habit and you don’t even have to think about all the little details any longer. If you haven’t done it already, create a budget and watch your finances improve.
Start Saving for Christmas
Thinking about Christmas in the summer? No, I’m not crazy. But the holidays are always a time of year that creeps up on us and we can get carried away with all the spending for the holiday parties and gifts. So, rather than set yourself up for a credit card fueled holiday start putting some money away today. Just set aside twenty dollars a week and you’ll easily have about $400 saved up by December. Your credit card will be thankful you thought ahead come winter.
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