It’s hard not using my credit card. That’s been what I’ve been trying to do for the last month. I’m not in credit or money trouble I just want to slow down my spending for a couple of months. I had to go to the dentist in May and fork out a couple of grand for some teeth work. Not the end of the world. I had the money but I am person who keeps track of his budget pretty closely. As a freelance artist there have been plenty of times in my life where money was tight. Without a budget and discipline the worry would have killed me. I’m not a fan of worry.

I have two budgets. The cash budget and the credit card budget. The credit card budget is usually for art and computer supplies but since I buy lots of things online these days there is plenty more stuff I buy by credit card. I pay the card off every month. A “dead beat” customer as credit card companies say. I don’t have to pay interest or late charges that way. They’ll eat up a budget.

The cash budget is for everyday things like food, comics, bus tickets, and anything else bought at local stores. Earlier this year I noticed my credit card budget expanding while my cash one contracted. That just means I was buying more things online than in person with cash. But a credit card budget can get out of hand a lot quicker than a cash one can. For a couple months I wondered how I managed to spend so much more that I wanted to on the card.

So in order to make up for the money I paid out to the dentist I decided to not use my credit card as much for a couple of months. I increased my cash budget a bit because it’s not like I’m broke I just wanted to maintain discipline with the credit card and save a few bucks in the bank. Over the month of June I managed to put only a hundred bucks on the card. That’s about the amount I was aiming for but boy was it hard to not go higher. Those twenty five dollar internet purchases can add up fast.

Compounding my budgetary pressure is the fact that I need to spend about three grand on a new computer. The computer is how I make money so it has to be done and the government, through taxes, practically forces us freelancers to spend on tax deductions. But, still, three grand is three grand. I was going to get the computer in June before a part of my tooth broke off. That’ll put some worry into your mind. So I have to save a little more money for the computer and I want my credit card cleared off when I plunk the three grand on it.

With the computer on my card that will make for another month of trying not to use the card. The numbers really add up quickly when you start at three thousand. The mind goes, “Eh, what’s another hundred” and before you know it the bill is three thousand eight hundred bucks. That I don’t want to happen.

So it’s cash for me for a little while. I never say, “Eh, what’s another hundred” with cash because cash is a bit more real. I have to count out and hand over the bills to someone. I have to look in my pocket to see if I have enough. I also don’t carry a lot of cash so I can’t spend it as impulsively. Cash is more meaningful than numbers on my credit card receipt.

I just used PayPal for some internet purchases this week. That takes the money right out of my bank account. It was all art supply stuff I needed that I still didn’t want to put on the card. PayPal is less real than cash but more real than credit. Watching my cash in the bank go down means more than watching the total on the credit card go up.

I don’t like to use PayPal or a debit card for expensive purchases. If something goes wrong then the store already has my money. Getting it back can be tough. A credit card company will have a much better chance of getting the money back if you call them up and tell them you were ripped off. Credit card companies don’t take kindly to people taking their money. A bank won’t care as much because it’s not their money. It’s mine.

Pulling back on the credit card tally means cutting down internet purchases, cutting a few things out, and postponing a few items on the buy list until I can budget them properly. A tough task that. But in the end it’s how I like to roll.


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