How to Stop Impulse Spending with Your Credit Card

A pair of credit cards

Buying what you want and getting it can make you feel good; in fact it’s one of the best feelings in life, even if it’s short lived. Using your credit card to make the purchase feels even better if you don’t have the cash for it at the time. Credit cards can make you feel that you’re getting items for free, since you’re not using cash for your purchases. But the moment you see your credit card statement, you might realize that what you bought is something you can’t pay back or didn’t need at the time.

Impulsive credit card spending is a habit that you’ll want to avoid, unless you want to be in credit card debt in the near future. Using credit cards to impulse buy can be very costly and could quickly damage your credit. It’s crucial that you make the necessary steps to address this type of behavior to have a better financial life.

Determining the roots

Impulsive behavior is emotionally driven; hence when you’re about to buy something out of impulse, you’re feeling an emotion that triggers you to do so. Analyze what you’re feeling when you are getting the urge to buy impulsively. When you’ve identified the emotion that triggers your impulsive behavior, you can start controlling the urge and put an end to it.

Knowing the root of this behavior is not enough though, there is still work to be done. Here are some of the things that you can do to get rid of your bad spending behavior:

Plan before you purchase – by writing down the things you really need before heading out to the store, you’re enabling yourself to be more cautious of your spending. Just make sure that you stick to your list and don’t give in to impulse.

Learn to prioritize – If you really want to have a better financial future, you have to learn how to prioritize important things over stuff that you desire. For instance, it’s unwise to spend your money on a new phone when you still have utilities, a mortgage, loans, and other bills that you haven’t paid. You want to make sure that all your bills and essential needs are taken care of before using your income on things that you can live without.

Make your own wish list – If there’s an item you want to buy that’s not a necessity, write it down. Seeing all the items you want on one list will help you keep track of the things that you might buy on impulse. The list will remind you of the items that you should stay away from until you can afford them. If there’s an item on the list that you really want to purchase sooner than others, give it a month to think about. With the extra time to think it through, you can better analyze the item’s importance.

Continental Finance is one of America’s leading marketers and servicers of credit cards for people with less-than-perfect credit. Learn more by visiting

Author: Greg Knotts

Greg Knotts is the VP of Marketing, CDMP, at Continental Finance Company, LLC in Wilmington, DE. A persuasive and results driven leader, Greg has more than 20 years experience in marketing, operations, relationship management, sales and business development in the credit card industry. He spearheads the Continental Finance Blog and leads the company mission to help cardholders everywhere rebuild and restore their credit through the variety of educational resources, articles and graphics the blog provides each week.