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Ask Dave

Travel expenses?

Can Roxanne get the job done without a credit card? Dave lays out a plan to cover her travel expenses and avoid debt.

QUESTION: Roxanne is trying to get out of debt, but she’s still using one credit card to cover travel expenses related to her job. She asks Dave for suggestions, and he’s happy to give her an idea that will enable her to get rid of that card.

ANSWER: Let’s set up an account, and prime the pump once. By this, I mean in the next few months I want you save up $500, then open a separate checking account with a debit card attached for reimbursable travel expenses only.

If you put $500 into this account one time, you’ll never have to save for it again. You’ll use some of that money for your travel expenses—on your debit card—and when they reimburse you, you’ll put the reimbursement check directly into your travel account. After you get the initial $500 in there, your travel account will run off your reimbursement checks.

Lots of people carry credit cards on the road for expenses, but often they’ll end up buying things that aren’t reimbursable. It happens to everyone who travels. Then, over time, you accidentally run up credit card debt. But when you use a debit card with an account that’s completely separate, and you’re not using it for anything except reimbursable travel expenses, it’ll help you become a lot more disciplined with your purchases on the road.