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Kiwis literally freezing credit cards to curb urge to splurge

Written by on January 16, 2022

New Zealanders are resorting to drastic measures to limit credit card spending, including literally freezing their cards.

A survey by financial research and comparison site Finder found more than half of respondents (55 per cent) were taking action to manage credit card spending.

More than one in five had set a limit on their card and 10 per cent kept their card out of sight to avoid temptation.

Among the more creative methods to curb the urge to splurge, 5 per cent said they had cut up their card and a further 2 per cent admitted to putting their card in the freezer in a block of ice.

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Finder New Zealand editor Angus Kidman​ said such extreme measures might be amusing but weren’t the most effective way to manage your budget.

More than half of those surveyed by financial research and comparison site Finder were taking action to manage credit card spending. (File photo)

Keith Srakocic/AP

More than half of those surveyed by financial research and comparison site Finder were taking action to manage credit card spending. (File photo)

“Hiding your credit card or even freezing it is a bit like throwing away all the sweets in your house when you start a diet – it’s a short-term fix, but you’re still going to be tempted to buy more when you go to the shops,” he said.

“Instead, take a long-term approach by thinking about how your credit card spending fits into your financial goals.”

Kidman recommended the 50/30/20 rule for spending, with 50 per cent of income going towards crucial bills, 30 per cent for “fun” like new clothes and dining out, and the remaining 20 per cent going into a savings account.

While many credit cards earned users points towards flights and groceries, those benefits were only worthwhile if the card’s balance was paid off at the end of every month.

“Switching to a low-interest credit card is a smart move for those months when you can’t quite pay everything off,” Kidman said.

As of October 2021, New Zealanders had a total of $2.9 billion in outstanding interest-bearing debt across the country – a 12 per cent drop on the previous year.

Finder’s research found 27 per cent of people were not doing anything to manage their credit card spending, while a further 27 per cent didn’t have a credit card.

Millennials (74 per cent) were the most likely to be cracking down on their credit card spending, compared to 43 per cent of Gen X.


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