Living with credit, New products

Get smart about credit: Stop. Think. Save!

Emily Crone

While it’s mostly impossible to get by in modern-day American life without a credit card, there is no required education on credit. Many consumers find themselves in deep debt merely because they weren’t taught how to manage money . That’s why I was delighted to hear that the Family Credit Counseling Service based in Rockford, Ill., has launched an educational campaign called Stop. Think. Save!

The FCCS has helped us before in the past with some helpful holiday debt tips. Their new campaign aims to help consumers learn to use credit cards wisely. For this campaign they are giving away free kits with credit card sleeves that say “Put me back. Your goals are more important than this!” along with a wristband and keychain. The Web site has checklists consumers can use to find out how much money they are wasting on simple, everyday things. It provides five questions to ask yourself before using a credit card and a calculator to help you figure out how much you can cut back on things such as takeout food and coffee.

“Our campaign isn’t about telling people that credit cards are bad,” says Elizabeth Schomburg of the FCCS. “Instead, we want people to pause before making a purchase and ask themselves, do I really need this? Can I find it cheaper? Should I be spending this money on something else? Will I regret it in a week? It is our hope that the campaign will help people look at the larger picture and be successful in reaching their long term financial goals.”

If you have trouble practicing restraint with your credit card, sign up for this free help now.

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  • Michael B. Rubin

    A pause before spontaneous spending is always a great idea. I often encourage people doubtful as to the impact of credit card spending to try leaving the cards home for a day. (Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water – don’t cut them up, just leave them at home). Take the amount of money (yes, real cash) with you as you go about your errands. When you’re handing over twenties instead of swiping your credit card, you start making different choices. This control ultimately allows you to save. Maybe even so much that you can splurge (this time with comfort) on something you really want later.