Impulse Control and Credit Cards

September 15, 2019

Credit cards are an unfortunate necessity to so many things: hotel rooms, renting a car, and conducting safe online transactions. For this reason, people with impulse control can’t feasibly “just go without” in order to avoid the risk of purchasing more than they can afford.

If this sounds like you, there are a few tips you can use to help avoid falling into the trap of credit cards.

Don’t Keep Your Credit Card with You

Keep it at home, far away from your computer, maybe even somewhere a little annoying to go and fetch it – such as a safe, or taped to the roof of the junk drawer in your kitchen. If you need a credit card for only a few necessities, you shouldn’t need to have it so easily accessible anyways. After all, it’s designed to be a safety net – not a go-to when you’re feeling impulsive!

This tip has one major drawback as, unless you keep a checklist that you meticulously check off: you may forget to bring your card with you on trips with your friends… when you’ll need the credit card for your hotel and car rental.

Never Save Your Card Information

Don’t do it! It’s so tempting to let your account save your information for hassle-free transactions next time. However, you want to keep the hassle in your life – to keep yourself from impulsively buying some useless but nostalgic memorabilia from Amazon.

This also doubles well with the advice above, as it makes the hassle of using your credit card so much greater.

Consult a Friend of Loved One

Before you buy something with your credit card, bring up the purchase idea to someone you trust and (ideally) someone who can hold you back. It takes a little control on your own part to avoid buying something while talking to someone – specifically, someone who will help your impulse control. However, getting into the habit of delaying a purchase or transaction itself can help you avoid rash decisions.

Additionally, talking out a purchase with someone can help you go over the reasons why you actually want the purchase. Maybe you only like the idea of having it or can recognize that it’s not as useful as you think it will be. This can apply to hotel rooms and car rentals too, in selecting which options you can afford.