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I am not a fan of credit cards but do use them from time to time when I don't want funds tied up using a debit card or when I need to delay the payment on a large ticket item. It seems like when I use my card ONCE it loosens my resolve and I find myself swiping it more than I had budgeted! Since I usually use a debit card, here is my tip to put the restraint back in using my credit card:
Each and every time I swipe it, I place the receipts around the credit card. This simple act reminds me that I will have a bill in the very near future and is usually all the motivation to pay using cash. I can easily tabulate the funds I'll need to pay off the next bill when it arrives and can spend accordingly!
By Diana from Prospect, KY
As a middle and high school teacher I see gross overspending in September. Yes, the students cause most of it with desires for new wardrobes and expensive backpacks; however, most of it comes from well-intentioned parents who go overboard with supplies. Ads promote overstocking, and it's difficult for teachers to tell parents that their children have no need for scientific calculators in the seventh grade. How then do you take advantage of the back to school sales without purchasing too much?
Book socks, those stretchy covers for books are the greatest invention since pre-punched notebook paper. They protect the books while keeping adhesive damage (tape or sticky covers) to a minimum. Barring student graffiti and other boredom busters. they last all year and can be recycled into the next year.
Paper is a must, of course. The amount depends upon the school, but a few reams of notebook paper is essential for any desk. Spiral bound notebooks also are more than useful in the upper grades and can often be purchased for as little as $0.10 a piece.
Blue or black pens are important but stray away from the unfamiliar. Don't give in to the teenage demands and spring for the colored gel pens; most teachers don't accept them on school work. Instead, opt for several blue or black pens. With most assignments being typed, however, purchasing a gross of pens is a bit overdone.
If you're organized enough, try purchasing during the sales but keeping everything wrapped with the receipts. Than, return what's unneeded and take advantage of what was purchased at a bargain. Warning: It's hard to keep the children's hands from those shiny new supplies. Be schooled in patience to try this.
If you tend to overspend when shopping with a certain friend, you might want to either go alone next time. Also, "just browsing" tends to lead to overspending. Think to yourself if you really need this item?
Spontaneous shopping is not only a problem but a habit as well. Have you ever gone shopping because you were bored or because it was a rainy day?