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Credit Card Debt

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Unfortunately (but by design) most Americans are saddled with a heavy burden of credit card debt. Having credit card debt, especially credit cards with high balances, will adversely affect your mood and your outlook (whether you realize it or not), and will remain a major obstacle that holds you down in life.

Having credit debt has very negative side effects including stress, hopeless feelings of being bound to seemingly endless payments, feeling trapped, and even relationship issues due to the financial strain.

If you would rather feel liberated from your debt, to feel in control of your life’s finances, then the answer is to adapt a new way of life – a new way of thinking that will eventually leave you debt free…


 
You may not realize it (yet), but when you finally eliminate your credit card debt – you will become incredibly liberated and empowered to be in control of your own destiny.

 
The first step is to realize and understand that ‘the system’ wants you in debt. After all, this is how the banks make their money (by charging you interest on your payments and by keeping you in perpetual debt).

When you happen across TV commercials or advertisements or mailings for using a credit card, you must realize and understand that ‘they’ are glamorizing it – they are marketing ‘at you’ through images and messaging such that if you spend and use their credit card – that you will somehow be better for it – that your life and rewards will be classy, elegant, exciting and fascinating – as though in a higher level of society.

Just STOP FALLING FOR IT…

It’s all BS.

Just STOP USING YOUR CREDIT CARDS!

 
Note: For those who are already debt-free and use credit cards for their purchases to get their ‘points’ or rewards while also paying the total balance each month – that’s different. If you’re able to control your spending vs. debt, that’s great! However I will simply mention that the reason you get those discounts, rewards, or points – is because that’s how much your spending information is worth to them. They’re not giving you those benefits because they’re so nice. They’re using your data and they’re keeping track of your habits and movements. If you’re okay with that, then that’s your choice ;)

 
Okay, so the fist step was to realize the intent of the banks (to keep you in debt). The next step is to take your credit cards out of your wallet or purse and put them away somewhere – and stop using them. Period.

Use cash instead.
Use cash instead.
Use cash instead.

Go the ATM and get cash, and only use cash for your purchases. When using cash it seems very different to hand over your money rather than handing over a credit card. It really forces you to think about it more – whether or not you really need to make that purchase.

 
The next step is to start paying off your credit card debt. This may take awhile, but if you don’t start today, then you’re not serious about becoming debt free.

Pay Off the Highest Interest Rate Card First

Determine which credit card has the highest interest rate (not the highest balance) and pay the most amount of money that you can afford each month on that highest rate card while paying the minimums on the rest.

When that one is finally paid off, then do the same with the next (determine the next highest interest rate card).

By using this method, you will pay off your credit cards in the quickest way possible.

 
You must seriously work at minimizing your expenses during this period of time while you are paying off your credit card debt. The more you can scrimp and be frugal with your spending, the faster you will become debt free.

Give up some of your luxuries for awhile. ‘Brown bag’ your lunch. Eat more leftovers at home. Order out less. Examine your wants versus needs. Every time you open your wallet, think about if you really need to spend that money…

Trust me – your reward once you’ve finally paid off your credit card debt will be well worth the hard effort you put into it. Freedom.

 
Apologies in advance if credit card ads appear immediately below this article (those two spots are sometimes text-context-sensitive and out of my immediate control) ;)

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12 Comments

  1. I love this article, Ken! I would suggest freezing your credit cards in water and put them in your freezer – that action should help curb “impulse” buys. I cut up my card in Jan 2013 and have not looked back. My hubby still has a card he uses for business travel, and I will reserve airline tickets on it, but I use the debit card for hotels, etc. There are the same security measures added to your debit card as a credit card if you choose the right card.

  2. I enjoyed this article and it brought back memories of when the credit card companies were sending out credit cards by the dozens back in the mid to late 60’s.You could have all you wanted, but the first time you used one or more, you were hooked( so to speak ). a cousin and her husband found out the hard way about this and they almost lost their home because of it.Between my wife and I, we have one card apiece, used only for emergencies.

  3. Credit cards can be a great benefit for those disciplined on how to use them. We use them for the stuff we always need; gas and food. with 1.5% cash back it quickly adds up. Pay the balance every payday and you have effectively paid yourself back 1.5% of your purchases.

  4. I have one credit card–it is used for online purchases, because I don’t keep money in the bank. AND it is paid when the statement is received.

    I use them–not the other way around.

  5. I have folks that don’t understand this–pay of the smallest credit card IF you can swing extra bucks without using another credit card.

    When that smallest card is obliterated, when you cut it up in a zillion pieces, when you called that company and closed that account…….THEN you have that amount to pay toward the next smallest CC–even if it is only $20–it helps pay and not charge!! :-)

    Get It??

  6. “When using cash it seems very different…” My husband had this brought home to him decades ago. He returned an item worth $20. Instead of putting the money back on the credit card they handed him the cash. He said the $20 he was prepared to get back on the card hadn’t seemed like much, but the cash in hand really seemed like a lot! There’s nothing like ‘real’ money instead of ‘virtual’ money.

  7. Here in Germany there is a (rather rich) region in the South West were people are especially careful on how they spend their money. One thing that many families (traditionally the wife, but that does not matter) do is to keep book on all expenses.

    I am not from that region but I convinced my family to keep a “book on household accounts” for one month – it was real eye-opener. If you keep track on all expenses for a certain period of time and at the end categorize all expenses, you will see much more clearly where the money is going and where you should start cutting expenses (in our case it was clothing). It is quite a bit of work, because you need to keep all receipts and write down every single payment that you made during the day (and you make more payments than you may think). But doing it for only one month is absolutely worth the effort.

  8. I have one credit card that gets ten dollar credits after I spend so much money. ( L L Bean) I use it for business only and ALWAYS pay it off before or when it’s due. Just this morning I was able to purchase a 65 dollar winter, insulated shirt for fifteen cents. Usually everyone at Christmas gets something I was able to buy for next to nothing. I see no issues with this at all. My wife and I have one card each and have never carried a balance in 27 years.

  9. I know some people pay off the credit card every month avoiding interest payments. I did the same thing, however I have noticed that some businesses are offering a discount for people paying cash. We have even gotten in the habit of asking various businesses if they offer a cash discount. My husband needed a new prescription pair of glasses so when they told him the total he asked them if they offer a discount for cash payments. They said they do but no one ever asked before. They took $100 off just for paying cash. So we regularly ask now.

    1. We do the same thing. My dentist will give a 10% discount with cash and several other places I shop at do too. It never hurts to ask. When I pay my invoices at the end of the month at the lumberyard they add on 4% if I use my card.

  10. We have been debt and credit card free for about 8 years. There is no way we would ever go back to using credit cards or debt. The bondage we suffered under paying off all the debt has been burned within us. There has not been anything in the last 8 years that a credit card has been needed. ( keep a small emergency fund) Debt free and credit card free is the best!!!

  11. I was at a sporting event last year and used cash to purchase an item. The girl looked at me like I had two heads and asked if I had credit card. ( this was a one day event with a shop set up in a tent ) I told her no and she took my cash. Then handed me my purchase and tried to move on to the next buyer. I had to remind her about my change then help her figure it out. Don’t they teach kids how to count money back.?