Many people use debit cards to control their spending. It's a great idea because when your checking account is zero, you can't spend any more. What a concept...

Debit Card Problem

That's the problem, though. Generally those who use a debit card don't know the balance in their checking account to which the card is tied. This becomes problematic when you're in the grocery store and you can't get those oreos. Or worse yet, you just bought all those new clothes with your debit card only to find when you come home the electricity bill has arrived and now there's not enough money in the checking account to cover the electricity bill because they've been busy covering yourself in new clothes.

Prepaid Credit Card Solution

Here's a cool solution: get a prepaid credit card. You simply load the card with money from your account. When the card balance goes to zero, you can no longer spend. Generally, any cashier can swipe your card and tell you the remaining balance in three seconds. Someday someone will create a prepaid credit card or a gift card with a running total on the front. In order to spend more, you must go to your checking account and reload the card, thereby giving you pause (or it should give you pause) as to how much you're spending. This process throws another step in the decision-making process. Should I be taking this money out of my checking account?

Watch Out For Fees

Beware of fees associated with the card. You should be able to find a card that does not charge transaction fees or annual fees. Fees can accumulate; however, they are generally much lower than the accumulation of overdraft fees!

Although a prepaid credit card may not establish the solid credit you need, it will keep your credit score from going in the tank because you won't be over drafting your account.

If you're overspending, as most in America are, do you think this would be a good alternative to a regular credit card?