I just can’t help it, I love those little boogers! They’re convenient, easy to keep track of, and extremely valuable in an emergency. They’re not great for everyone, of course, but for me they work. I’m comfortable managing my money, I pay off the balances each month, AND I stick to a nifty little credit card budget.
Maybe that’s what all the haters need? A budget for their credit card. I mean, all the same principles apply as the “standard” one: know how much you’re putting on it, figure out which categories to use it for, follow your allotted amounts, and reward yourself for sticking to it.
As with all mental budgets people go by, this one too is without exception – you think you know what amount is good, but you don’t have the facts to back it up. For me, i thought $500 was my “budget”. Why though? I never actually sat down and came up with an amount that met my needs, nor did my bills ever reflect this $500 arbitrary amount. I guess people just like the wishful thinking part of it :)
The amount that actually worksfor me is $800/month. This may sound high to some, but i use it to pay anything and everything i can. My USAA Platinum Card, like many others out there, comes with a cash back program. So every time i swipe that bad boy, i’m saving a certain %* each month (not a huge amount, but it’s still FREE money!). Here’s what i charge each month:
Food: eating out, snacks
Pet stuff: food, toys
gifts: birthday presents, charities
Random: unexpected items, blogs :), fees
Shopping: clothes, house decorations, toys 4 me
Transportation: gas, train tickets, metro (does not include auto loan & insurance)
So there you have it, my nifty credit card budget. Now if you can track this in detail every month (ie. take out all the transactions, assign them into the categories, and then see if you’re + or -) more power to you. I wish i could myself, but i just don’t have the patience for it anymore … haha … Now i just look to make sure it’s around $800 or less, and if so, i pat myself on the back.
We’re going on my 2nd month using the budget now and i’m totally happy, especially since i’ve given up on the “shopping” section since Lent. It def. makes it harder to go over budget now :)
Last month my total bill was $623.47!!!
I’d normally reward myself, but considering the previous bill was at $1,478.55 (OUCH), i’m still recooperating and trying to get back on track. I challenge you to give it a shot though, it can’t hurt…although i can’t promise it won’t sting a little ;)
*Cash rewards per month: If i spend up to $2,000 = .35%, If i spend up to $4,000 = .75%,If i spend up to $11,000 = 1%, If i spend up to $15,000 = 1.25%