Perpetually, I used credit cards for convenience and routinely carried balances out of perverse laziness. Then, at a certain magic point, usually at the 8 or 9 hundred-dollar range, the balances would suddenly leap forward and mushroom crazily out of control into 2k, 3k, 4k and up. I always wondered how this mysterious alchemy occurred. I didn’t seem to be charging more per month.
Wellllll, it’s a little thing called interest.
The thing is, the bulk of my charges were for $50 or less. Gas, bars, restaurants, trinkets. Almost always, I had the money, but just didn’t have the cash at the point of purchase, so I charged it. Women don’t carry wads of hundreds like men – it’s not encoded into our genes. Evolutionally, women are check writers.
But let’s face it, lots of place just don’t take checks. Hello big balances, and financial serfdom.
The debit card was the solution I was waiting for. Anything that’s not a business expense, plane ticket, or something I need a paper trail for, like big appliances that credit cards will warranty, I charge. The rest goes on the debit card. I carry a pen and the debit card IN my checkbook and have trained myself to write down every debit, as if it were a check. Bookkeeping is a breeze because the money comes out within a day or two. I always know where my balances are. Now, I never pay interest on Starbucks like a damn idiot.
1. Next time you’re at the bank, ask for a debit card application. Fill out and send
2. Get a pen that will affix to your checkbook
3. Move all convenience charges to the debit card
4. Start paying down your balances without racking up new debt