Change your credit-tude

Paying with Debit CardWhen you’re young, and you imagine your life as a “grown-up”, you probably think about things like raising a family, buying a house and going on awesome summer vacations.

Chances are though that in your mind’s eye, you’re not dreaming up ways to pay for these. It’s more about having, rather than focusing on the method of getting. And this makes sense. Finances are not usually the fodder for daydreams.

This, in part, is where and how debt accumulates. You become focused on having what you want-right now- rather than adopting a wait-and-see approach.

If this sounds like you, your financial and mental health (because debt is stressful) would benefit from a change in your credit attitude.

What’s your reward?

Do you derive pleasure from buying things? Is there a rush when you make that purchase and bring it home? Or when you sign the contract for a bigger purchase?

You may be able to surpass and exceed that particular sensation of the moment of acquisition. Try savouring the pride and sense of accomplishment that you have in restraining yourself in the moment, saving up and buying later.

Think about it. You still get to own the “item”, but without the eventual guilt and stress that comes with accumulating debt in funding an on-the-spot purchase.

Needs vs. wants

Drill down your needs vs. your wants. Really.

You need shelter, food and clothing (for warmth, not the fashion catwalk). Everything above that is a want. Literally.

Now, there are different degrees of want. There is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to supply yourself with a few items from the want category, but only if your income and your household budget permit  it.

Remove yourself

Have you ever gone on a diet? There are a few behaviour modification tricks to use. For instance, if you really crave a cookie, they recommend that you walk away and wait an hour. Most of the time the feeling passes.

Use the same technique when you are considering smaller, impulse purchases (which have a way of adding up fast and ramping up your debt sneakily). If you’re in the mall, go for a walk. Chances are you’ll be able to keep on walking- going home with your money too.