5 Tips to Curb Credit Card Overspending

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.


  • Credit cards make it easy to pay for purchases in-person and online, but it's not uncommon to struggle with overspending.
  • Keeping an eye on what you spend and focusing on an emergency fund can help keep your credit card spending to a minimum.
  • Set spending alerts, don't save payment details online, and only carry one credit card in your wallet to deter excessive spending.

These practices could help keep your credit card spending in check.

Credit cards make for a convenient way to pay for purchases. But for many people, it can be too easy to spend money and accumulate credit card debt. If you struggle with overspending, you're not alone. Here are a few tips that may help you curb overspending so you're only using your credit cards to pay for purchases you can afford.

1. Track your spending

Many people don't realize how much they overspend until their credit card statement arrives and the balance is much higher than anticipated. If you're looking to change your habits, it can be beneficial to get in the habit of tracking your spending.

Once you see where your money is going and how much you're spending, it may encourage you to alter your habits. One option is to use budgeting apps. You can also use your credit card issuer's mobile app to review transactions.

2. Set spending alerts

Most card issuers allow customers to set up various alerts like payment reminders and spending alerts. If you're trying to use your cards less frequently, it may be beneficial to set up the latter. You can set a spending limit, and your card issuer will notify you if you overspend beyond that amount. Doing this is recommended if you're new to using credit cards and want to develop responsible financial habits.

3. Avoid storing credit card payment details

If you have a few favorite shopping websites or apps, you may have your credit card payment details stored to save time. But this decision could cost you. It can be tempting to place orders, and if you're not cautious, you could rack up debt on your credit cards. To keep your spending in check, you may want to avoid storing your payment details for future orders.

Having to enter your payment details every time you checkout may help you trim overspending. Since it'll take longer to check out, you'll give yourself more time to consider your budget and decide whether you want to make the purchase.

4. Don't keep all your cards in your wallet

You may feel tempted to use your credit cards more frequently if you keep all of them in your wallet. While carrying at least one credit card for emergencies is good practice, having multiple cards available at all times is likely excessive for most people.

You may want to keep some cards home until you need to use them. If you're using rewards credit cards, you can rotate which one you keep in your wallet depending on what you need to buy that day or week to use the best card to maximize your rewards.

5. Work on building an emergency fund

This tip won't be helpful right away, but it may help you avoid accumulating debt due to emergency credit card purchases in the future. Regularly contributing money to an emergency fund is a good idea if you can afford it.

Once you have a significant amount of extra money in your fund, you'll have a backup plan if a costly expense comes your way. Instead of charging your credit card, you can use cash to cover the cost -- or you can use your card and then pay off the entire purchase immediately.

If you have minimal extra money, don't feel discouraged. Saving a small amount, such as $50 or $100 a month, can make a big difference in the long run. Over time, your savings will add up. Plus, you can earn interest if you keep your emergency funds in a high-yield savings account.

Credit cards are a beneficial financial tool. If you only charge what you can afford, use only a small amount of your available credit, and pay the entire balance every month, you can build credit and boost your credit score. Give the above tips a try to set yourself up for success.

Are you looking for additional money management tips? Check out these personal finance resources for more guidance.

Our Research Expert

Related Articles

View All Articles Learn More Link Arrow