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Hey, Metro Girl: How To Finally STOP Overshopping Using Your Credit Card?

Guilty or not guilty?

@MetrodotStyle’s InstagramIn this new Metro.Style advice series, we answer any fashion girl’s common fashion problems. If you have one—a question, a concern, or just something to share—that needs some illuminating, send us a message on @MetrodotStyle’s Instagram saying “Hey, Metro Girl, (your question here).” You’re welcome!

Let’s face it: There is a thrill in holding that shiny piece of plastic credit card much more when we click “Add to Cart” or see it being swiped in front us. What is it exactly about credit cards that we just can’t help but to shop, shop, shop? 

Art by Raff Colmenar

For starters, it could be the thought of having this unlimited pool of money we can just spend now and then just worry about it later on. You mean we can get this bag now without having to pay for it yet? YES! Second, when you’re sad and you need a pick-me-up, a simple online purchase boosts does the trick! We are always one swipe away to be happier, right? And lastly, with swiping comes great power. You feel almighty just purchasing absolutely anything, and then for that brief moment, you are alive! That’s until your credit card bill arrives and you are on the floor thinking how to deal with it. 

If you have bad credit card spending habits, chances are you know it already.  Some tell-tale signs include: 

1) Not paying your credit card bill on time

2) You use your credit card when you don’t have enough cash

3) Paying the minimum interest rates only or foregoing payment altogether

4) You don’t have the courage to even look at your monthly statement

Familiar? Well, hey, Metro Girl! This is an intervention. We’re here to help you create a healthier credit card spending and overall shopping experience. From purchase to after-sales, shopping should be fun! Here are some tips to help you become wiser with your credit card by way of our favorite shopaholic! 

1. Budget! Budget! Budget!

It’s the first and hardest trick in this rule book. The equation is not as hard you think, though. Sit on your computer and put down all your income flows for the month. Second, nail down all your regular expenses (electricity, bills, Netflix subscription, etc.). Income minus your Expenses would be money for your saving and your other expenses. Let this be your guiding light on giving yourself a balance on what you should spend for yourself. If the balance is zero, then you’re just breaking even month per month. If there’s little left, just allocate it wisely to your other monthly needs. Working with a real number without actually going to debt is a great start already.

2. Use Your Debit Card Or Go For Cash Instead

The illusion of having more money that you really do is one reason people go over their heads with debt. By spending money you only currently have, no debt! The money is gone already. And giving yourself physical money to spend every week or month limits your spending. If the “allowance” is gone, you know you don’t have much more to spare at least for the timeframe you gave yourself. 

3. Make Your Card Inaccessible To You

If you’re anything like me, my credit cards are all on autofill on my computer. It literally takes once click to purchase ANYTHING! Don’t fall to that trap. Easy access to our cards gives us more excuse to spend it. Don’t save it on your computer. Having to manually type it lessens impulse buys. When you leave the house, try leaving it. Out of sight, out of mind, right? You don’t have to go all Confessions of a Shopaholic and freeze it in a block of ice. Put your card in your safe, or somewhere locked where you need to physically do something else just to access it. Leave it your parents or a partner? That helps too! They can even talk you out of it.

4. Don’t Forget You Have To Pay It Back

Condition yourself that credit card spending is debt. And that you have to pay it in a few weeks. People tend to go about thinking it’s free money when it’s really not, just a delayed payment. This thinking already sets you up to a better spending habit.

5. Look At Your Current Balance And Not Your Credit Limit

When your bank gives you say P200,000 credit limit, it doesn’t automatically mean you have that much money to spend. Your bank account determines what you can spend. Carry this value with you always when you shop. If your limit says you can afford that bag but your bank says otherwise—girl, listen to your better self. 

6. Don’t Go Emotional Shopping

Some days we just need to buy something to make our problems all go away. Sure! Allow yourself that once in a while. But stress shopping, angry or sad shopping aren’t excuses to purchasing things you don’t know if you really need. What is it they say, “Don’t make decisions when you’re angry. Don’t make promises when you’re happy.” Be in the right state of mind when you do go shopping. 

7. Debt Free, Worry Free!

Having debt is such a heavy cross to bear. Always go into credit card shopping knowing that you have the resources to pay for it right away. Save the big spending for emergencies, and only when you really, really need it. Necessity trumps urgency. When you start these red flags of bad credit card behavior, they will easy snowball into habits. But guess what? Same goes otherwise. The start of a healthier way of credit card shopping will also develop into happier and reasonable purchases. Isn’t that the whole point of shopping, anyway?