Earlier this year I went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. He outlines his plan for setting up a budget, eliminating debt, building an emergency savings fund, saving for the future, and much more. Ever since then I’ve been paying a lot closer attention to how I spend money and looking for ways to cut spending.
One idea that I had today came as I was writing some checks to pay bills. This is not a normal routine for me, because I typically pay my bills with online bill paying through my bank. The checks that my wife and I use have pictures of our dogs on them, and since we don’t write many checks any more they are a few years old and thus the picture is old. This gave me the thought that I ought to order new checks with pictures of our baby on them.
But this set me back. I realized that the reason I wanted a new picture on the checks was because of the warm feelings that come whenever I look at a picture of Emory. But I’m talking about spending money and paying bills, and I should feel good about that? I don’t think so! I want to save my money and use it the things I want to, not the things I have to.
I also thought about one the very first credit cards I got when I was in college. I applied for a card at a baseball game and got one with the Texas Rangers logo on it. Being the sports fan that I am I felt good about supporting my team and had a little bit of pride every time I whipped it out to swipe a purchse. This was not a good idea. I soon was spending too much money, but even worse I was having these good feelings every time I was doing it!
My idea is simply this. Instead of getting a fancy, personalized credit card or checkbook that reflects your personality, get the ugliest card and checks that you can find. If you’re embarassed to show people them you’ll probably spend less money. This is similar to Dave Ramsey’s idea of paying cash. It hurts emotionally more to give people cold, hard cash because of how tangible of an amount it is.
If you have any ideas like this please share them in the comments.