Credit Cards Can Lead You Down A Rabbit Hole; Here’s How To Get Out
By: Jennifer Weeks
Credit card debt is one of our country’s biggest problems. Not everyone has a credit card, and the ones who do are likely drowning in debt. Credit cards are not free money, nor are they a way to skip out on using cash. No matter how much you want that new purse or those jeans, having a credit card is not a good excuse to buy via your impulses.
Credit card debt is not easy to get out of either — nor is it impossible to achieve. If you are willing and determined, you can minimize and eventually eliminate your debt. Here’s how:
Get organized. A spread sheet is one of the most helpful ways to detail which cards you have, how much debt you owe on each card and each of the card’s interest rates.
By using this method you’ll know how much you owe and you can figure out how to pay them off and how long it will take.
Set a budget. Pay all of your bills first, then divide whatever is left towards your weekly necessities and put the rest in your savings account.
Your weekly spending money consists of whatever you have left after you put gas in your car, buy groceries and pay all your bills. Business first, party later.
Use cash. Remember what I said about budget? Okay, good. Take all the money you have left over out in cash. This way you know how much you have and can plan accordingly.
When your money runs out, so will your spending — and you won’t be racking up more debt on top of what you already owe.
Make TWO minimum payments per month. If you’re able to make this many payments a month, pay one in the beginning of the month and the second one at the end.
This will dwindle your card balance and it will lower your monthly interest rate.
Lock your credit cards in a safe. There are plenty of places to buy a cheap tiny safe.
It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant or excessive, you can even go to a dollar store to get one. With your credit cards locked up, you can’t use them and you might even forget you have them.
Request a lower interest rate. If your balances are high, but you have a good credit score, and the credit card company sees you are making your payments on time, they will lower your interest rate.
By doing this, you will be one step closer to paying them off.
Consolidate your debt. You can consolidate your debt through a few websites that cater to debt relief.
These companies work with you to help you put all of your cards onto one bill where you can make payments that fit your budget.
This is a great way to take control of your credit cards and decrease your debt quicker.
Work a side job for extra cash. You’re in debt, so you can probably use some extra cash.
Whether it’s working a second job in retail, babysitting or even dog walking, any extra cash can come in handy when it comes time to pay your bills.
Delete credit card information off websites. Chances are, you have some store credit cards where your card is saved to your account.
Now that online shopping is so convenient, it’s harder to stay away, but with websites you can create an account and leave your card information stored. It’s time to draw a line.
Deleting the card information off the site will deter you from filling your shopping cart with unnecessary purchases.
Cut up the credit cards you’ve paid off and don’t need. By doing this, you can’t use what you don’t have.
If you really don’t trust yourself not to engage in some retail therapy, then just cut them out of your life (literally).
This way, you won’t get the urge to use them and eventually, you’ll forget about them.
Utilize balance transfers. Most credit cards offer free balance transfers.
If you own more than one credit card by the same consumer and have balances on all your cards, you can do a balance transfer, where all balances get combined on one card.
This means only one payment per month and money saving.
Don’t use your cards while paying them off. Your balance is not going to keep going down if you keep using your card. Doing that does not solve anything, it only adds to your problem and anxiety.
Follow these steps and you’ll be living debt free before you know it!