EPISODE 36
Learn the psychology behind credit card use and how reward programs and other tactics used by credit card companies incentivize our use of credit cards.  We believe understanding the psychology involved in the purchases you make every day, especially when credit card use is involved, will equip you to make better financial decisions that will keep you in control of your money.

 

SHOW NOTES:

 

Rewards & Points program.

  • People get sucked in thinking, “I’m making money” off of this.

  • You can be that person, who never pays interest and gets points, but even then, you are likely to fall in the trap of spending more just by swiping vs using cash.

  • Credit card - 12-18% more.

  • Debit card - 10-12% more.

  • Cash triggers pain points in the brain that cause you to remember your transaction longer, feel the pain of the purchase, and cause you to look for cheaper options so you can spend less.

  • Studies by:

    • Dun & Bradstreet

    • MIT

    • Journal of Consumer Research

    • Carnegie Mellon University

      • We are unconsciously willing to spend more.

      • The more cards you own, the large purchases you’re willing to make.

      • You’re more likely to make quicker purchases online, with less research.

      • Typically pay 50% - 100% more for non-physical items.

      • Just seeing credit card logos causes us to spend more than we otherwise would.

 

Most people will end up paying interest at some point in their life and unfortunately credit card companies count on a person getting stuck in the cycle of not being able to pay off the debt and having high interest your whole life, or for a long season of life.

  • Average rewards are between 1-3%

  • Average credit card interest rate is 15-29%

  • 10X higher interest rate than the rewards rate.

  • Miss one payment or overspend one time and all of a sudden the costs can far exceed the rewards.

    • If you’re carrying a balance month to month, then you’re always losing out.

  • Add the cost of the annual fee, which can be from $100 to $450 annually, and you can see how little reward there is to reward programs.

 

People have gotten to the place where they swipe for everything in their life...gas, groceries, eating out, car payments, insurance payments, home repair, doctors.

  • 47% of credit card holders carry a balance over month to month occasionally.

  • 32% say they make only minimum payments some months.

  • Majority of people don’t actually utilize their rewards points on time, because they lose track of them and don’t manage them.

  • Having a budget gives you clarity on how much you actually have, which helps limit and control your spending.

 

You have to get away from looking at the cash in your account as your base line.  You have to get to the place where you live on the budget, and the account balance grows every month to cover future months expenses in clothing, electricity, car repairs, Christmas gifts, birthdays, home maintenance, car replacement, car repair, etc.

  • You might think you have an extra $300 at the end of the month, but really that money should be going into a saving account earmarked for future expenses that you know are coming.

  • New tires isn’t an emergency, vacation isn’t an emergency, pet grooming or vaccines aren’t an emergency, all of these things should be planned for in a savings tracker.

  • You should have a savings account where money is accumulated each month for a variety of categories.

    • Tracks those categories in an online tool, spreadsheet, or software.

    • Use an excel sheet to see how much money is in each category.

    • All the money is in one savings account, but the actual savings is being tracked across several categories.

I may have $4,000 in my savings account, but it's a total of multiple categories.

  • $500 is for house repairs.

  • $500 is for Christmas.

  • $1,000 is for future car replacement.

  • $1,000 is for vacation later in the year.

  • $200 is for upcoming pet expenses.

  • $400 is medical savings.

  • $400 is savings for my next phone.

  • So if I decide I want to buy a $3,000 TV with that savings account money, then I’ll go into debt at Christmas, or when the dog needs shots, or when I need a new phone.

Resources

Debt Payoff Plan
Create Your Budget
The Yearly Budget