Use Your Credit Card as a Budgeting Tool

If you’re responsible with credit, your credit cards can actually help you save money and keep you on budget. How? First, you have to have that budget! If you need help with setting one up, download our free Money Management Planner, which will help you develop a budget that works for your needs.

Once you’ve got your budget set, here’s how you can use your credit cards to keep you in the black. You don’t have to use all these tips; adopting one or two of these habits can also reap benefits.

Use Your Card for Planned Purchases

You have a budget, so you know how you’re supposed to spend your money each month. Use your card to pay for planned purchases like fuel, groceries, travel expenses, recurring subscriptions, or whatever else you’ve accounted for in your monthly budget. The key is using your card only for those items and expenses you’ve planned for. The new wireless headphones you saw reviewed on YouTube? If they’re not in your budget, they don’t get charged to your card.

Track Your Spending

The benefit of using a credit card for your budgeted purchases is that it gives you a convenient and accurate record of your spending. Just log in to your account and it’s all there on the screen for you; there’s no need to carry around a notebook or rely on memory and guesswork. Log in frequently to ensure you’re not going over your limits in each of your spending categories; if you are, you’ll need to stop spending or cut back in other areas to make up for any overages.

Pay As You Go

Using a credit card for purchases can create some disconnect in your relationship with money, since you’re not taking cash out of your wallet at the point of purchase. It’s only when you get the bill at the end of the month that the pain of spending hits, especially when you haven’t been paying attention to your purchases. One way to get around this is to pay on your credit card as you use it. This way the money comes out of your wallet incrementally, giving you more of a connection with your spending as you see the money leaving your checking account more frequently.

Pay Your Cards Off in Full Each Month

Saving money by using your credit card for budgeted items only works if you don’t carry a balance month to month. If you have a rewards card, you’ll maximize those rewards by not having to pay interest; otherwise, you’re paying for the rewards, which is a total budget buster. So if you have to carry a balance on a card, it’s best to wait to use it as a budgeting tool until you’ve paid off any outstanding balances on it. Or you can use a second card that you’ll know you can pay off each month to cover your budgeted purchases.

If you’re looking for a card to cover your budget-based spending and you want to earn rewards, look no further than Hanscom FCU’s CASH + REWARDS World Mastercard®, with no annual fee and 1% cash back on every purchase, every day with no limit to how much you can earn. Learn more here or call our Remote Support team at (800) 656-4328. 


Our Money Management Planner can help you budget for your changing needs. This 12-page workbook will guide you through the process of creating a budget and spending plan that works for the life you have today. Download your free copy to get started. 

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