How to Control Impulse Spending

Impulse spending, Traced Twirls Dress —iriskh (Flickr.com)

Dear Dave,

I have a problem with impulse spending. I switched to a debit card so that the money comes straight out of my checking account, but I still buy things I know I shouldn’t. Should I stop using the card?

Lauren

Dear Lauren,

First, let me say that debit cards are great. You can’t spend money you don’t have with them like you can with a credit card, but you’ve still got to budget carefully and give a name to every single penny of your income. Otherwise, you can still overspend.

When I made the decision to get intentional with my money, I just used cash. It’s hard to spend it when you don’t have any on you. It’s a tough thing, I know, but you have to make a conscious decision to start living differently. You have to get mad at the things that steal your money a dollar or two at a time, and you have to put your foot down. Enough is enough!

Try looking at your life as a whole, not a moment at time. All the moments you’re living right now will have either a positive or negative effect on your future. I decided I wanted the greater, long-term good, so I gave up on the short-term stuff. No discipline is pleasant when you’re doing it, but as the Bible says, it yields a harvest of righteousness.

Trust me, Lauren. The greater good is worth the sacrifice. But until you make that decision for yourself, you won’t do it.

Dave Ramsey—Dave

* Dave Ramsey is America’s most trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough,The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 5 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.

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