One of the best ways to boost your finances, and better your budget is to include credit cards in the calculation. It seems counterintuitive at first, but bringing in credit card spending as part of your budget can go a long way toward improving your finances — and keeping you out of credit card debt.
Failure to Plan will Cost You
The biggest issue that many face is a failure to plan. When you don’t plan your finances, at least a little bit, that’s when trouble sets in. Part of the reason that credit card spending gets out of control is that so many people see it as outside the budget.
It’s easy to plan your budget around your checking account, and forget about credit cards. Then, when you do spend with the credit card, it’s with money outside the budget. After a while, the extra spending on the side adds up, and pretty soon you have credit card debt.
Planning your spending is an important part of successful finances. One of the biggest pitfalls with credit cards is that the spending done on them is rarely planned. It’s extra, and can lead to credit card debt.
Bring Your Credit Spending into Your Plan
Instead of leaving your credit card spending outside your budget, bring it in. While you are planning how you spend your money each month, take a step back and figure out if your credit card could figure in the picture. In many cases, it can. Some of the things you can do to include your credit card into your spending plan are:
- Have recurring bills (cable subscriptions, utilities, cell phone) automatically paid with your credit card.
- Pay for groceries with your credit card.
- Use your credit card for planned online purchases.
- Buy your gas with your credit card.
Don’t try to move everything over all at once, though. Instead, move an expense category over to your credit card a little at a time. Make sure, though, that these are purchases that you would make anyway. Don’t use your credit card for purchases that you haven’t planned to begin with. Your credit card needs to be a part of your regular spending plan, and the things that you buy with it should all be planned purchases.
Move spending categories over a little at a time, taking care to pay off your credit card each month. The last thing you want to do is be a good credit card customer. Instead, you want to use your credit card regularly and use it as a way to earn rewards.
Boost Your Rewards with Regular Spending
The best strategy is to use regular spending to boost your rewards. Look for rewards credit cards that you will use, and create a plan to get the best results from your spending. If you travel a lot, look for a generous travel points program. If you just want the cash back, consider a credit card, like the Discover it, to build up your cash back.
With a little careful planning, you can add your credit card to your budget, and make a spending plan that not only helps you live within your means, but results in bonuses as well.