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Dave Says: Short Term or Greater Good?

Dave Ramsey - May 15, 2012

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I don't use credit anymore - only debit - but I still overspend. Should I get rid of cards altogether?

Dear Dave,

I have a problem with impulse spending. I switched to a debit card so that the money comes straight out of my checking account, but I still buy things I know I shouldn’t. Should I stop using the card?

Lauren

Dear Lauren,

First, let me say that debit cards are great. You can’t spend money you don’t have with them like you can with a credit card, but you’ve still got to budget carefully and give a name to every single penny of your income. Otherwise, you can still overspend.

When I made the decision to get intentional with my money, I just used cash. It’s hard to spend it when you don’t have any on you. It’s a tough thing, I know, but you have to make a conscious decision to start living differently. You have to get mad at the things that steal your money a dollar or two at a time, and you have to put your foot down. Enough is enough!

Try looking at your life as a whole, not a moment at time. All the moments you’re living right now will have either a positive or negative effect on your future. I decided I wanted the greater, long-term good, so I gave up on the short-term stuff. No discipline is pleasant when you’re doing it, but as the Bible says, it yields a harvest of righteousness.

Trust me, Lauren. The greater good is worth the sacrifice. But until you make that decision for yourself, you won’t do it.

—Dave

For more financial help, please visit daveramsey.com.

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