Author Topic: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending  (Read 6461 times)

Cycling Stache

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Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« on: June 27, 2015, 06:22:37 PM »
The biggest financial change for me since finding MMM in September 2014 is reducing my family's credit card spending. 

I track my trailing 12-month total (i.e., the total for the last 12 months of credit card spending) on a monthly basis.  That gives me a pretty good sense of what the number should be for my annual spending, and it gives me a goal each month of trying to beat the same month from a year ago (thus reducing the 12-month total). 

A year ago, our annual credit card spending was $48,223.  Today, it's $24,440.  My goal is to drop it below $20,000.

The next 4 months to beat are $2525, $3837, $2204, and $4535.  Cutting $5,000 gets me to my goal.

Why does it matter?  This is the biggest remaining adjustable number in our "budget" going forward.  We've reduced it by spending less, but really by spending much less often.  Whereas we used to have 2-3 transactions almost every day, now we sometimes go 3-4 days between charges.  That makes a huge difference.  Of course, the number could be lower, but this is all about progress.

johnny847

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2015, 07:15:28 PM »
Why do you focus on credit card spending? I think you should be focusing on what you're actually spending your money on (are you wasting money on useless items or are you actually buying things that you value?) versus what method of payment you use. You could lower your credit card spending by putting all of your spend on debit cards instead but you haven't actually reduced your total spending

It's like focusing on whether you should use an ETF or mutual fund. Worry about what's going on behind the scenes (what assets do they hold and will they help you achieve your goals) not what vehicle you're using to try to meet those goals.

(Yes there are pros and cons to ETFs versus mutual funds just like there are pros and cons to credit cards,  debit cards, and cash. But that's not what you should be focusing on at the moment)

Cycling Stache

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2015, 08:29:24 PM »
Why do you focus on credit card spending? I think you should be focusing on what you're actually spending your money on

This is an excellent question.

The issue for my family in the move to Mustachianism has not been me.  I'm on board, and I can happily live on very little (at least, compared to what I make).

My wife was--and is, although to a much lesser extent now--a reluctant convert.  She likes working, and she intends to keep working until normal retirement age.  She already felt like we lived relatively frugally, especially compared to what we made, and compared to our neighbors--who all have nannies or housekeepers, maids, fancy cars, etc.  She prided herself on not being one of those ridiculous women who bought fancy purses and had expensive nights out, etc.

That's why the credit card bills were such a shock once I analyzed them.  We were averaging over $4,000 a month.  I assumed that was based on a few expensive purchases and some miscellaneous charges.  But I looked at one month that was $4500 and realized two things.  First, we had charges almost ever single day.  Second, the three most expensive charges were grocery bills between $200 and $300.

That meant that we were basically charging $125 every single day.   Considering we both ate lunches from home and often kept the same $20 in our wallet/purse for a week or two, that was shocking.  It was like we were proud of saving $7 by skipping lunch out, but then couldn't leave the office before charging $100.  Every single day.  It seemed ridiculous.

The thing is, though, that I was initiating less than 10-20% of those charges.  So the challenge initially was less about cutting spending and more about convincing my wife what changes we could make and what we could live without.  For her, that created a sense of deprivation at first, and challenged her identity as a careful, sensible woman.  It sounds ridiculous now, but some of our "essential" charges were 6 daily vitamins and preventative medicines for the kids, a new pair of pantyhose every day, an iPhone plan for 4-year old iPhones that was $100 higher than everyone else in America because we never called, dry cleaning once or twice a week, etc.

The cuts were thus difficult at first, because they involved convincing someone my wife to cut back out of principle--a principle that she didn't really share, other than she wanted to be supportive of me.  And that's tough. 

But what the cutting has done is shown us over time that we can find things we really didn't need, and after a few weeks, adapt to the fact they're gone without ultimately changing our happiness level.

So the goal is to cut the credit card spending generally, because I can't completely line item the charges.  She gets to spend a little bit of what she wants, with my chiming in and trying to find ways to reduce what we spend, or cut the spending altogether.  It was very difficult at first, and she still chafes occasionally at what she feels is too much restriction, but the end result is that we've cut way back and rebalanced around a much lower spending level.

For me, this is the challenge of Mustachianism.  Getting what I want in terms of financial priorities and freedom without completely wrecking my marriage.  And I must give serious credit to my wife for going along as much as she has and being unbelievably supportive of something that doesn't mean that much to her (at least the goal of early retirement).  I realize that these spending levels are ridiculously high for most people.  But it highlights how we get used to a certain level of spending, a level typically linked to what we earn.  Once you detach from that, it can feel like a shock until you adjust.

For those reasons, $19,999, her I come!  (Also, we are not offloading any spending from the credit card other than some grocery shopping at Target that we put on the Target red card for a 5% discount.  While significant, those expenses have been offset by moving other expenses like insurance and cell phones onto the credit card.  I think it's a close enough wash that I'm good with it.) 

Thank you for the input.  It's very helpful to frame the issues and see what can be improved.

Heckler

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2015, 08:34:36 PM »
we use credit cards for everything, but pay them off 100% on time.

The side benefit is out no fee cards also collect Airmiles.

And with Airmiles, you can get investment certificates for BMO Investorline.

So, using credit card spending has put $500 into my TFSA since Christmas.  Another $200 coming next quarter (they cap it).

Sorry, won't be joining your challenge, however we have drastically reduced our spending.

Heckler

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2015, 08:35:29 PM »
$4000 a month?! yikes!  Please go ahead with your challenge!

Cycling Stache

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2015, 03:30:25 PM »
FIRST MONTH UPDATE

The main credit card closes tomorrow for the month of July, and the total is $930.  That is compared to $2,525 for July 2014, an improvement of $1,595.

That reduces our annual credit card spending for the last 12 months to $22,845, which puts us well on our way to dropping it below $20,000 over the next 3 months.  This is our largest variable expense since almost everything goes on the credit card, so it's an easy way to see the improvement in our spending.

On track so far!

kpd905

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2015, 03:43:26 PM »
Not really what you're looking for, but with that much spending, you could probably get somewhere between $5,000-8,000 a year in rewards from credit cards.  Make all of your spending hit sign up bonuses.  You'll be able to finish most spending requirements in under a month.

Cycling Stache

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2015, 03:52:55 PM »
Not really what you're looking for, but with that much spending, you could probably get somewhere between $5,000-8,000 a year in rewards from credit cards.  Make all of your spending hit sign up bonuses.  You'll be able to finish most spending requirements in under a month.

Is that right?  We signed up for two this year to try out the rewards bonuses (Chase Sapphire and Chase Southwest), but I figured I'd cancel them before the year is out.  Those bonuses were tied to spending $3,000-4,000 over 3 months, which was no biggie when we started (average month over $4,000) but really, we've had several months lately below $1,000, so it seems less likely.  Worth considering though.  Thank you!   

Lynne

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2015, 04:24:34 PM »
It's not hard to satisfy a signup bonus spending requirement (in a non-frivolous way) even if you wouldn't naturally spend that much in that time period.  Just buy gift cards for a store you regularly use so you can spread the actual spending out over a longer period - I do this with grocery store gift cards.  :)

johnny847

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2015, 05:58:30 PM »
Not really what you're looking for, but with that much spending, you could probably get somewhere between $5,000-8,000 a year in rewards from credit cards.  Make all of your spending hit sign up bonuses.  You'll be able to finish most spending requirements in under a month.

While I agree on principle, I generally don't recommend this to somebody who is looking to reduce credit card spending. Even if he or she naturally spends more than the required minimum spend, it's easy to fall into the mentality of oh well if I buy this I'll get that much closer to the minimum spend requirement.
This mentality is mitigated by buying gift cards as Lynne mentioned. Or, just MSing the entire minimum spend (I do this). But that's a thread in itself.

Lynne

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2015, 06:17:13 PM »
Or, just MSing the entire minimum spend (I do this). But that's a thread in itself.

I don't believe it's possible to do that here in Canada;  gift cards are the best I can do.  Sigh.

You're right, getting into credit cards in a big way could be problematic if you don't already have a firm handle on your spending.

Cycling Stache

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2015, 06:37:44 PM »
Thanks for these replies.

To be clear, we don't have a credit card spending problem (other than wanting to reduce it).  Our savings rate is currently at 65%.

The credit cards just represent the largest, mostly variable expense in our budget.  What we're learning to do is to buy fewer things, and mostly just things we need.  Those things change from month to month--for example, we had to buy flea stuff for our cat this month, but I don't have recurring pet expenses (other than food).  The change in credit card spending is learning through MMM and practice that we don't "need" nearly as many things as we thought we did.  That has resulted in the reduction in annual credit card spending from a little under $50,000 to the current $22,845.  While I can't predict what those expenses will be each month, the effect of being more conscientious overall in our spending has been dramatic.

On the plus side, because credit card spending makes up a large percentage of our annual expenses, getting this number down significantly reduces the amount needed to FIRE.  That's why I'm so excited about cutting the credit card spending.  I want to see what we can get our true annual expenses down to, then make a more informed decision about when to pull the plug.

kpd905

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2015, 07:08:56 PM »
I don't really understand why you are specifically targeting your credit card spending and not just your overall spending.  If you started using cash and spending the same amount, would that be a victory because your credit card spending was down to zero?

Cycling Stache

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2015, 08:06:36 PM »
I don't really understand why you are specifically targeting your credit card spending and not just your overall spending.  If you started using cash and spending the same amount, would that be a victory because your credit card spending was down to zero?

In a sense, you're right.  This is really just cutting overall spending, because most of my other spending categories are fairly well optimized.  I'm not moving the credit card spending elsewhere.

I'd prefer not to set specific budgets for spending--food, entertainment, clothes, pets, etc.  If I go to a happy hour with friends, fine.  If the kids need some school thing, fine.  But trying to reduce the credit card spending encourages me (and my wife!) to make tradeoffs in deciding whether something is really worth it, or if we get x, maybe we forgo y.  The success of those decisions shows up in the credit cards, since that's where almost all our variable spending goes.

The big shift is that we're moving from "can we afford it" to "do we really want to buy it."  It wasn't until MMM that we appreciated the benefit of forgoing purchases that we could otherwise afford to significantly ramp up savings.

Cycling Stache

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2015, 07:42:27 AM »
SECOND MONTH CREDIT CARD SPENDING UPDATE

The August 2015 total is $1,682, a $2,155 improvement from a year ago.  That drops annual credit card spending to $20,690.  With 2 months to go in my first year of Mustachianism, getting below $20,000 seems likely, and $18,000 is possible.

For perspective, this is now a $28,000 drop in annual credit card spending in 10 months.  That's like a $37,000 raise, and greatly reduces the amount needed to get to FI if we can hold these levels.  This has been one of the biggest improvements we've made following this blog!

Seppia

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2015, 08:12:56 AM »
Congrats!
I understand your process as for me too, credit card spending = 99% of my spending excluding rent

Teacherstache

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2015, 05:30:49 PM »
I don't really understand why you are specifically targeting your credit card spending and not just your overall spending.  If you started using cash and spending the same amount, would that be a victory because your credit card spending was down to zero?

In a sense, you're right.  This is really just cutting overall spending, because most of my other spending categories are fairly well optimized.  I'm not moving the credit card spending elsewhere.

I'd prefer not to set specific budgets for spending--food, entertainment, clothes, pets, etc.  If I go to a happy hour with friends, fine.  If the kids need some school thing, fine.  But trying to reduce the credit card spending encourages me (and my wife!) to make tradeoffs in deciding whether something is really worth it, or if we get x, maybe we forgo y.  The success of those decisions shows up in the credit cards, since that's where almost all our variable spending goes.

The big shift is that we're moving from "can we afford it" to "do we really want to buy it."  It wasn't until MMM that we appreciated the benefit of forgoing purchases that we could otherwise afford to significantly ramp up savings.

I totally get what you mean with this strategy and I think it makes a lot of sense.  You're trying to reduce your overall discretionary spending without micromanaging. Great job with this month's results. I'd love to see how you do next month.

wordnerd

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2015, 06:57:34 PM »
Well done!

Rosy

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2015, 09:28:40 AM »
Simply awesome - sort of a roundabout way to cut your spending, but hey if that is where the low hanging fruit is - which apparently brought about a change in perspective for your wife as well.

Part of my budget is a rolling budget as well, as long as you have a built in cap that works just fine. Congrats, sir - you have reached your goal, just don't push your wife over the edge - balance and give and take is a good thing.

Cycling Stache

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2015, 08:29:45 AM »
THIRD MONTH CREDIT CARD SPENDING UPDATE (AND GOAL ACCOMPLISHED WITH ONE MONTH TO GO!)

The September 2015 monthly credit card total was $963, an improvement of $1,241.  That was particularly nice because it included 6 extra days in the billing period as I switched to a different card.  It dropped our annual credit card total to $19,449 for the last 12 months, under our goal of $20,000--an almost $30,000 improvement for the year.

Next month is the last big month of credit card spending to cut.  The October 2014 total was $4,535, so even with the car insurance going on the card this month, I'm confident we can beat it handily and get the total to somewhere around $17,000.

We'll see!  Also, I appreciate all the comments.  Thanks for posting them!

Jack

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2015, 08:17:39 AM »
Quote
The credit cards just represent the largest, mostly variable expense in our budget.

Credit cards are not an expense (except for fees/interest). The things you're buying with them are the expenses!

I realize your mindset is working for you, and that's great. But I still feel like if you would shift to closely tracking the categories of the expenses themselves rather than just the total CC balance that you might be able to do even better.

Cycling Stache

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2015, 11:02:18 AM »
But I still feel like if you would shift to closely tracking the categories of the expenses themselves rather than just the total CC balance that you might be able to do even better.

This is a good point in terms of shedding light on actual spending, but it's also the place where I feel the tension with budgeting too much.  When your hair's on fire, this makes great sense.  But fortunately we're past that.  So for example, my wife spent $250 on boy scout stuff for our kids this weekend.  Do we need that?  Of course not.  Is it "worth" it?  Close call--could go either way depending on if they really enjoy it.  But how would I log it, and what would the significance be?

Do I call it a kid expense?  Is it a recreation/sports expense?  Is it a family expense?  And do I cut some other spending as a result?

I think I get the MMM point now about not budgeting.  I like to know where the money is going and that we made a deliberate decision to spend it.  And I do think that having spent that, my wife will likely eschew any big purchases for the next couple weeks on the theory that she already bought something big.

But my wife would balk (and I think I would agree) if I said that because we bought that, we can't buy X.   Or because we spent that on kids, we now can't buy them something else.  That makes sense when you're on a hard budget, but for us, it would just be an artificial exercise, and I think my wife would resent it.

So we're just going for the careful, considered approach to spending money, and we are seeing the benefit to that.  I agree that just focusing on the spending doesn't completely illuminate the nature of the spending, and we could cut even more with hard spending caps or budgets, but for now I'm heartened by the progress we've made by being more mindful of what we buy.  And I do think that--as a result--most of the purchases we've made in the last 12 months have been reasonable ones.

One final note I realized after I typed this.  My approach is informed by having a wife who has been incredibly supportive of my embrace of MMM, but has no interest in retiring early.  So I have to be careful not to push too hard and trigger a response that I'm not letting my kids (or wife) have something that they would enjoy just so I can stay home, goof off, and/or sit on a huge pile of money.  I think her feeling like she's being mindful of her spending (which she's done a great job at) is as far as I can go unless/until she decides that she would like to retire early as well.

johnny847

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2015, 12:44:14 PM »
But I still feel like if you would shift to closely tracking the categories of the expenses themselves rather than just the total CC balance that you might be able to do even better.

This is a good point in terms of shedding light on actual spending, but it's also the place where I feel the tension with budgeting too much.  When your hair's on fire, this makes great sense.  But fortunately we're past that.  So for example, my wife spent $250 on boy scout stuff for our kids this weekend.  Do we need that?  Of course not.  Is it "worth" it?  Close call--could go either way depending on if they really enjoy it.  But how would I log it, and what would the significance be?

Do I call it a kid expense?  Is it a recreation/sports expense?  Is it a family expense?  And do I cut some other spending as a result?

I think I get the MMM point now about not budgeting.  I like to know where the money is going and that we made a deliberate decision to spend it.  And I do think that having spent that, my wife will likely eschew any big purchases for the next couple weeks on the theory that she already bought something big.

But my wife would balk (and I think I would agree) if I said that because we bought that, we can't buy X.   Or because we spent that on kids, we now can't buy them something else.  That makes sense when you're on a hard budget, but for us, it would just be an artificial exercise, and I think my wife would resent it.

So we're just going for the careful, considered approach to spending money, and we are seeing the benefit to that.  I agree that just focusing on the spending doesn't completely illuminate the nature of the spending, and we could cut even more with hard spending caps or budgets, but for now I'm heartened by the progress we've made by being more mindful of what we buy.  And I do think that--as a result--most of the purchases we've made in the last 12 months have been reasonable ones.

One final note I realized after I typed this.  My approach is informed by having a wife who has been incredibly supportive of my embrace of MMM, but has no interest in retiring early.  So I have to be careful not to push too hard and trigger a response that I'm not letting my kids (or wife) have something that they would enjoy just so I can stay home, goof off, and/or sit on a huge pile of money.  I think her feeling like she's being mindful of her spending (which she's done a great job at) is as far as I can go unless/until she decides that she would like to retire early as well.

You've set up a false dichotomy. Having a budget and tracking expense by category are not mutually exclusive. I don't have an explicit budget either - I don't do prevent myself from buying something just because I used up some month's "allowance" for that category (these "allowances" do not exist in how I manage my money). But I do track my expenses by category. Without doing that, I wouldn't have realized I spent too much eating out last month. I spent less in other categories, so if I was just looking at my cc statement totals, I wouldn't have noticed that. I let myself get lazy and eat out last month. This month, I'm far more conscious of that.

Tracking expenses by category is quite useful. You can see where your money is going, and decide well is spending all this money on say, travel, really worth it? And you can adjust your future spending accordingly.

Without tracking the categories, what you've got is well I spent $X last month on stuff outside of rent/mortgage and a couple other bills that cannot be paid with a credit card. It tells you essentially nothing about where your money is actually going.

I think as a first step, your goal of reducing credit card spending while not shifting any of that spending to cash or debit cards was great. But going forward, you'll most likely leave a lot of spending optimization on the table unless you track each category.

Tracking by category isn't hard. A service like Mint can do it for you. Or if you prefer to do it manually, you can download transactions from your bank in a csv or qif file, and programs like YNAB can import them (and such programs, if they're good, can default a category to each payee).

Sibley

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2015, 10:38:31 AM »
I think that you'd benefit from doing an analysis by category of your spending. Not that you need to have a line item budget, but the knowledge could be powerful.

Example. Say you have Amazon prime, Netflix, and Hulu. You see it in black and white that you have all 3. Then you start thinking, you know, we haven't used Hulu in 2 months. Go ask wife if she's been watching Hulu at all. She says no. Then, ask wife if it's ok if you cancel it, and if in the future she wants it again you'll get it right back. She says fine. So, cancel Hulu. You're not using it, there's no impact on your daily life, wife is happy because she knows that she can get it back if she wants, but you're also not spending that money any more.

Without doing an analysis by category, you probably wouldn't have had that thought process.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2015, 02:13:23 PM »
Without tracking the categories, what you've got is well I spent $X last month on stuff outside of rent/mortgage and a couple other bills that cannot be paid with a credit card. It tells you essentially nothing about where your money is actually going.

It's pretty easy to see on a CC bill where money was spent and on what.


I think that you'd benefit from doing an analysis by category of your spending. Not that you need to have a line item budget, but the knowledge could be powerful.

Example. Say you have Amazon prime, Netflix, and Hulu. You see it in black and white that you have all 3. Then you start thinking, you know, we haven't used Hulu in 2 months. Go ask wife if she's been watching Hulu at all. She says no. Then, ask wife if it's ok if you cancel it, and if in the future she wants it again you'll get it right back. She says fine. So, cancel Hulu. You're not using it, there's no impact on your daily life, wife is happy because she knows that she can get it back if she wants, but you're also not spending that money any more.

Without doing an analysis by category, you probably wouldn't have had that thought process.


I think he is doing exactly what you describe and going through the thought process. He has scrutinized the CC statements, figured out where the money was going, and worked with his wife to spend more mindfully. He just hasn't created official Mint categories or assigned explicit dollar amounts ("we can spend $82.37 per month on Entertainment and not a penny more"). Obviously, it's working for them. Congratulations, Cycling Stache.


clarkfan1979

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2015, 10:49:27 AM »
I just got an Alaska Airlines card to help with flights from the mainland to Hawaii. Total spending should be around 20K/year on the card. Once Costco accepts visa next March, charges will be around 27K/year.

I think the key to getting my first credit card was that I had 30,000 in savings accounts, when I got a credit card with a 5,000 limit. I never stress on paying the monthly balance.

Cycling Stache

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2015, 03:36:32 PM »
I appreciate the input and advice in this thread.  The last credit card bill of my challenge closes tonight, so I'm looking forward to the final tally.

The obvious tension in the categorization versus non-categorization of expenses is the most interesting aspect of all this.  I think that categorization is intended to shed light on your spending so that you identify wasteful spending, but I think we've achieved something similar by carefully considering whether each purchase is worth it to us (which we were NOT doing before).  It feels like going to the grocery store--I don't have a set budget, and I don't decide how much we're going to spend on dairy, for example, but the careful consideration of what we purchase has helped us bring the grocery bill significantly, and we waste much less food in the process.

There's an MMM post on whether MMM ruining your marriage, and I keep it in the back of my mind.  Most of you are incredibly motivated to shed unnecessary expenses and get to FI, and I share that goal as well.  But I also have a spouse who is not motivated by that goal, so getting her to mindful spending is as far as I can (and probably should) go without pushing her to revolt.  But she does now note the wasteful spending she sees by many of the people around us, and I think she's proud that she's no longer in that category.

On the most positive note, a year of MMM has led us to become debt free, dropped our annual spending by at least $70,000, and made us much more sensible about the purchases we make.  I feel like that's a tremendous win!

Cycling Stache

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2015, 05:01:08 PM »
FINAL CREDIT CARD SPENDING UPDATE (GOAL ACCOMPLISHED)

The October 2015 monthly credit card total was $2184, an improvement of $2,351 compared to October 2014.  The month seemed high in light of how things have been going, but still a big drop from a year ago.

That dropped the total annual credit card spending to $17,098, a decrease of $31,000 from a little over a year ago.  That's the equivalent of a $41,000 raise.  To put it in perspective, my wife is excited because she just found out she got a $1,500 raise at her job.  But deliberate mindfulness in our credit card spending since MMM has absolutely dwarfed that number.

I'm not sure if we'll stay quite this low (or maybe go lower?), but I think we succeeded in resetting our baseline.  Our expectation now is that we don't have to spend money--quite the change from before.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #28 on: October 22, 2015, 03:31:15 PM »
Congratulations!

The mindful spending is a wonderful quality.  Whether you do it with Mint or controlled CC spending is really irrelevant, whatever works.  The goal is the change in mind set.  And because every penny that was spent was spent on things that are of value, there is not the feeling of deprivation that saying "we can only spend x on category y" brings.

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2015, 01:32:43 PM »
CyclingStache, you have a savings rate of 65% and reduced your spending by $70,000!  I just wanted to chime in and say you are doing great, even if your quirky way of thinking about it (reducing credit card charges) has confused several posters.

Cycling Stache

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Re: Reducing Annual Credit Card Spending
« Reply #30 on: December 14, 2015, 05:44:39 PM »
CyclingStache, you have a savings rate of 65% and reduced your spending by $70,000!  I just wanted to chime in and say you are doing great, even if your quirky way of thinking about it (reducing credit card charges) has confused several posters.

Thank you very much!  It's been a couple months since I checked the forums, but one of the big things I've noticed since then is how routine our lower spending how become.  There's not a sense of deprivation associated with spending less, and that's a big breakthrough for us.