Dave Says: Quit Impulse Spending

Dave Ramsey - July 31, 2012

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How do I convince my husband to stop using his debit card for non-emergencies?

Dear Dave,

I’m trying to convince my husband to leave his debit card at home when he goes to work. He says he wants it for emergencies, but he’s always using it for other things. I’d rather him just carry a very small amount of cash so he’s not so tempted. What do you think?

Haley

Dear Haley,

I understand your concern, but I think you’re wrong on this one. I carry my debit card with me everywhere I go, and I want my wife to do the same. What your husband needs to stop doing is having “emergencies.” The translation? Stop the impulse spending!

Now, this could be happening for several reasons. It could be that he’s a good guy, but he’s just not paying attention to how much he’s spending. On the other hand, you guys may not be budgeting for fairly reasonable things—like if he wants to eat out for lunch once in a while.

But even if he’s not using it, he should still be carrying a debit card. I mean, what if he has a real, actual emergency? The idea that you shouldn’t carry a debit card just because of impulse spending isn’t a good plan. Things like that aren’t debit card problems. They’re either maturity problems or a lack of realistic budget planning.

—Dave

Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 5 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.


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