Credit card debt is one of the reasons so many aren’t happy with their financial health. If you find yourself with high balances and feel like you’re stuck in a never-ending cycle of paying the minimum each month then racking up new charges, you’re certainly not alone. There are many others who are in the same position as you and have no idea what to do about it.
The realization of high credit card balances tends to happen in January once all the holiday charges have registered on the bills and you find that you owe much more than you even thought. It can be more than disheartening, especially to those who have made resolutions to strengthen their financial health in the new year. Many will give up before they even get started simply because of the higher numbers on the statements.
If you’ve been using credit cards for a long time and rarely think twice when pulling them out of your wallet, could you really put an end to the madness? Absolutely! Consider this your year to give up your addiction to using credit cards so you can pay down your balances and hopefully end up with a zero balance by the end of the year. So how exactly can you avoid the temptation of using your cards?
Freeze the Cards
There’s something to be said for freezing your credit cards in a block of ice. It sounds ridiculous, but even if you try to break the ice open to get to the cards, you’ll likely change your mind and stop yourself before you’re even halfway through.
Tape Your Balances to the Credit Cards
This is one huge way to give yourself a wake up call. Write your balance on a tiny slip of white paper, then tape it onto the front of your card. Whenever you go to reach for the card to buy something, the big balance staring you in your face will make you think twice.
Hand Them Over to Your Spouse
If your spouse is the one who is more financially responsible and has no problem holding several credit cards without spending with them, give yours over to him or her and give him the power to tell you no. It sounds like a severe measure, but whenever you want to use the card, you’ll have to get it from them and tell them what it’s for before you can spend. This will usually prevent you from even asking in the first place and can help you change your spending habits for good.
Delete the Numbers Online
One problem with ordering items online is that the websites usually save your credit card information, which makes it really easy to go onto the site again and order with one click without having to manually enter the numbers. Go through all the sites you’ve been on in the past six months and delete every card that’s on file. I’ve done this before and it’s saved me more than once from making an unnecessary purchase.
Cut Up the Cards
I’ve cut up several credit cards in the past and it was one of the best decisions I made for myself. You may want to consider doing this yourself so even if you’re tempted to make a purchase, there’s no way for you to go about it. If you pay a good amount of your bills with your credit card, it’s time to do some research about where to order checks online and switch over to paying with your bank account so you’re not forced to hold onto your credit cards anymore and rack up additional debt.
It’s not going to be easy to stop using your credit cards, but after awhile, you’re barely going to remember that you even have them. Not using them is going to make a big difference for your finances and not racking up extra debt is going to do wonders for your motivation to get your money in order. Before long, you could find yourself paying your balances quicker than you ever thought possible.
Lauren Romano is a freelance writer and was inspired to write a series of financial articles after browsing through www.buychecksbymail.com. She loves relaxing on the beach with a pina colada in hand while watching the waves crash on the shore. When she’s not working, she’s spending time with her family, friends and dog in New Jersey.