When people find themselves head over heels in debt, the first thing that must go is often the credit cards.
In many situations, the credit cards are what got them into debt in the first place, and to continue using them will only wreak more havoc.
Even if your debt is from other expenses, such as school loans or medical bills, it is wise to pause credit card usage and live on only what you earn. You want to start paying off debt rather than continuing to accumulate it.
Use these tips to stop using credit cards when you are in debt.
1. Find a temporary solution.
Do you need to take a hiatus from your credit cards, but plan to use them again once your debt is under control? Then you need to keep your credit cards out of easy reach to avoid temptation, but do not destroy them.
Take the credit cards out of your wallet and put them somewhere safe in your house, like in a safe or an office drawer.
If you think you might be tempted to use your plastic but do not want to permanently destroy it, one common trick is freezing the cards in a block of ice. This makes it hard to access it spontaneously.
2. Develop a permanent solution.
Do you need to keep the credit card account open to pay off your debt, but you are not in a position to accrue any more debt on that card? Then keep the account open, but destroy the card itself so you can’t incur more debt and get yourself into trouble.
Note that whether you stop using your card temporarily or permanently, you should remove it as an automatic payment option on the websites where you shop and pay bills.
Online shopping is almost too convenient, especially when the site remembers your card number and all you have to do is click the order button. End the possibility of slipping up by removing your stored card information all together.
“The key is to
switch your behavior.”
3. Change your behavior.
Credit cards allow you to live beyond your means, which is exciting and convenient until you realize you can’t afford it. At that point, you now owe your spending and interest to a bank.
As you are on your journey to get out of debt, purchases should be made using cash or a debit card instead of a credit card.
On the same note, you need to sit down and create a budget to ensure you will no longer have to rely on credit cards.
Figure out how much you bring home each month and how much you must spend on required expenses. The remainder should go toward paying off debt.
It is hard to give up spending on fun things like entertainment and eating out, but it can just be temporary until you can reduce your debt load.
You have to keep the big picture in mind. Once your credit card debt is paid off, you can use that money the way you want to.
4. Get support.
It is easier to stop using credit cards when you have the support of others.
If you are married, make sure your spouse is on board with your goals and is not using credit cards when you are trying to avoid them.
If your co-workers tempt you to go out to lunch every day, let them know you would love to join them but you are on a budget and have to stick to leftovers.
Also, let them know you would appreciate their support. You may find some of them are feeling the same pressure to eat out and are relieved to have someone to stay and eat with at the office.
If you have friends who like going out for expensive dinners, encourage a potluck at someone’s home instead.
It takes effort to live on a budget without the help of credit cards and repay your debt, but the end result of financial freedom from debt is completely worth it.
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